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Furniture Joint Construction in Approximate Years


Hand-cut Dovetail    been around since Biblical times till about 1860 in America, but continued in Europe into the 1900s.

Jacobean Period - 1 single dovetail 3-4" wide.

William & Mary and Early Queen Anne Period - 2 dovetails 2-2 1/2" wide & about 1/2" long.

Middle of Queen Anne to Early Victorian - 4-6 dovetails, 3 quarters of an inch to 1" wide at the outer ends.

New England Cabinetmakers - less flaring than New York, New Jersey & Pennsylvania.

Duncan Phyfe - are the same size, finely cut & have regularity.


Machine-cut Dovetail    1855-present


6-8 dovetails, small & have regularity.


Pin and Cove/Knapp     1871-1905  Strictly American  


Keyhole/French Dovetail    1890s-present


Butt Joint    been around since Biblical times.


Rabbet Joint    been around since Biblical times.


Mortise and Tenon    handmade until 1840s, machine-made after that.  Still made today.

17th & Early 18th Century - tenons 2-4" wide & fastened with 2 or 3 wooden pegs driven into holes bored through the joint.

After the introduction of glue around 1725, the tenons became narrower & pinning with pegs was frequently omitted.  The exceptions were joints of upright & cross members of secretary, linen press & cupboard doors, some tables (tavern sort), & chairs.  With the latter, legs & seat rail joints will be found pinned with 2 visible pegs until the end of the Chippendale period. 


Dowel Joint    been around since Biblical times.


Dovetail Joint

Butt Joint

Mortise and Tenon Joint

Dowel Joint