Joinery

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Techniques For Adding

Visual Interest

By Jim Tolpin

Carpentry Joints

Emphasizing your joints can add visual interest to a piece. Here, furniture maker Jeff Lohr of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, extends the couch's breadboard ends beyond the arms and bridges the offset with ebony splines to accent the joint.

Accenting Breadboard Ends

During the years I've been designing and building furniture, I've learned certain techniques that emphasize the look of my joinery rather than subduing its appearance or hiding it entirely. My tricks include offsetting joined surfaces, applying moldings over the joints, or simply cutting a rcccss to accent a joint line. All these techniques add visual interest to my furniture.

Recently, while perusing a 19th-century text on English cabinctmaking. I discovered there was a name for these design strategies: "frank joining." In reading a few other dusty tomes on 19th-century cabinctmaking, I found that frank joinery has historically fallen into three distinct styles: "cogged" joints ("cog" is an old synonym for tenon), "protrusion" joints, and "shadow-line" joints. Curious. Early woodworkers had not only used the same techniques I learned through trial and error—they'd even named them!

Now that I've found a name for what I've been doing all these years, I'll acquaint you with all three of these design options, and show you how and where you can use them in your own furniture designs. That said, let's start with the most common type of franked joint: the cogged joint.

Designing Cogged Joints

"Cogging" is another name for offsetting, where you create non-flush surfaces at the juncture of two or more pieces of wood. Cogged joints are perhaps the most com

Emphasizing your joints can add visual interest to a piece. Here, furniture maker Jeff Lohr of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, extends the couch's breadboard ends beyond the arms and bridges the offset with ebony splines to accent the joint.

Decorative Wooden Structural Bridges

mon of the three varieties of frank joinery, because the technique can be applied to a variety of joinery situations, particularly in structural frame members.

I commonly employ coggcd designs when constructing face frames. (See drawing.) By breaking up the monotony of a flush front, I can add some flair to the piece. At the same time I'm able to overcome problems brought on by wood movement, since expansion and contraction of adjacent members only changes the amount of reveal rather than creating the small but noticeable ridge common to flush joints. Also, with cogged joints I can final-sand the frame parts before assembly without worrying about misaligned parts come assembly lime. This

David Hazinski, from A&heville, North Carolina, creates "cogged" or offset surfaces at the leg-to-leg joints on this stepstool.

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  • MINIYA
    How to decorative wood joinery?
    10 months ago

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