What the Humble Dovetail Joint Can Tell Us

You may remember doing woodwork at school and being asked to produce a dovetail joint. It is an important skill in carpentry and one that has been around since Egyptian times.

The interesting thing about the dovetail joint is its usage in furniture and how the appearance of dovetail joints can be used to check how old furniture is.

The joint itself may have a history stretching back thousands of years but the fist evidence of it being used in the British furniture making can be traced to the mid 17th Century. Prior to the arrival of mass production, cabinet and furniture making was done by hand and so too where the dovetail joints.

Only the wealthy could afford to have this type of furniture built for their homes by craftsmen, however from the 1880s onwards, furniture become much more accessible when it machines were able to produce the joints far quicker and in much greater volume than human craftsmen.

Furniture that is made prior to this period is highly sought after and they are often regarded as works of art by collectors. Craftsmen became so good at creating dovetails the untrained eye might not even notice they are there.