The low down on joinery!

Good evening everyone, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about quality in furniture. These days it seems as though there is a trend in furniture. There are many, many people who build kitchen/dining room tables. The sad news is that a lot of the folks making these pieces are doing it in a manner that makes for lesser quality furniture. Notice I didn’t say that they were doing it wrong but I think the consumer base needs to know what options are available and what they are spending their hard earned money on. I don’t want to sound like a holier than though furniture builder but I can promise you that not all methods of joinery are equal. Every person has different levels of woodworking experience and different tools in their toolboxes. Please take a minute or two as a consumer to understand the differences. I have been watching a fellow Youtube content creator named Andy Rawls. He is a very accomplished woodworker who has studied along side some of the best in the business. If you read his about page on his website, I think you will agree. As fine furniture builders spend years and years learning and honing our skills it burns a little to see people purchasing lesser quality furniture at the same prices that finely crafted pieces bring. I have included a link to one of Andy’s videos that sums it up nicely. Take a few minutes to watch it and it will definitely open your eyes to what is out there. I have also included a test from Matthias Wandel which came up with the same results. Hope you enjoy these videos.

Here are a few common questions that you may want to ask when shopping for a piece of furniture from a craftsman.

  1. Ask the craftsman how long they have been in furniture building- Generally speaking it takes many years to hone the skills needed to produce high quality work in a production setting. Some people will build a one off high end piece right out of the gate but it’s kind of unusual.
  2. Ask about the wood used in the project- This question usually opens up a full on conversation. Make sure you understand what you are getting.
  3. Ask for references or to see some of their work- I think most respectable furniture builders remember almost every piece they do and who they did it for. I personally have a few clients that will allow my prospective clients to view my pieces.
  4. In the end if you like the piece buy it but please don’t be blindsided. A quick google search of farmhouse table issues will reveal many stories of table failure. Long story short wood needs to move and with certain types of joinery (primarily pocket hole screws in a table top) wood is not allowed to naturally move. If you see odd looking holes and screws all over the bottom of a table top I would politely shy away or else the table will probably fail eventually. Proper table tops allow for wood movement.

I know I will probably get some not so nice replies to this post but in the end I think consumers deserve to understand the differences.

Thanks for reading and I hope your day is great!

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

Good evening and happy Easter to everyone. As some may know I recently purchased a lathe for the shop. Now I have been watching guys do lathe work for many years and I even turned a couple of projects in middle/high school. I won’t say how many years ago that has been but will summarize in saying it was a long time ago. That being said I’ve spent the last week playing, re-learning, and studying up on how to use the lathe properly. If you mix in a few failed attempts and 1 project blowing into pieces it would summarize my week on the lathe. Finally today I felt comfortable enough to try my hand at a project for the market. I laminated up some oak and walnut, Eased the square edges and got to turning. The rolling pin you see below is what the finished project came out as. I’m stoked because I feel like I am finally getting in touch with sharpening, using, and controlling the set of 8 Marples chisels that came with my lathe.

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Thank you for reading,

Steven Ukena

Dovetails and Dadoes