'Joinery' Meets Furniture Making

on Tue 19 Feb

'Joinery' Meets Furniture Making


What’s the distinction? Is there one? How do we decide what we do and what we call it? Are we carpenters, joiners or woodworkers? What about designers?


It’s said that carpenters work on site with sawn timber or fit what joiners have made for them. But that’s not right. Ask a first fix carpenter on a house build who has just constructed a perfectly aligned, exquisitely executed new roof frame. Or the timber frame specialist who has scarfed in a new section to that ancient oak cruck.


Joiners. They join bits of wood in the workshop, don’t they? Doors and windows and the like. Well, yes, they do, but the skills and techniques they deploy are the very stuff of the furniture maker.


Furniture makers make cabinets, don’t they? So, are all cabinet makers furniture makers? Indeed, aren’t all cabinets ‘furniture’ anyway? But if you are a kitchen maker and work exclusively with CNC tooling and composite materials, does that make you a furniture maker?


Sometimes these distinctions seem rather academic. We think of ourselves as woodworkers who make furniture. We join wood to make cabinets and other items. Sometimes it’s a table, a door, maybe a window. Perhaps even a glazed door to a cabinet! Using the same skills, just deployed in a different way. And, from time to time, we use other skills like carving and turning.


This latest project has been all about the design, and the joinery. Working with curved forms and bringing them together offers different challenges. One day soon, we hope it will be a finished table. 


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