Dating furniture by dovetail
The joint he came up with has several colloquial names—scallop and dowel, pin and scallop, half-moon—and all describe the new joint, which looks like a peg in a half-circle on the side of a drawer.
He did some creative thinking and solved the problem not by duplicating the dovetail joint but by inventing another type of joint entirely that was at least as good as the dovetail and could be made by machinery.A stencil-like device called a jig was used to create these dovetails.In the 1890s, American furniture makers started using the sliding keyhole or French dovetail.Dovetailing is a method of precisely cutting two boards so that they can be interlocked securely together.Dovetailing typically requires no nails or other hardware.
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One of the first things to be looked at when trying to determine the age of a piece of older or antique furniture is the type of joinery used in its construction.