In many cases the nails are installed in cut outs in the drawer side so they do not protrude above the surface and impede the travel of the drawer.
This is typical construction of the 16th and 17th centuries, including Pilgrim drawers.
On the other hand, if we find a machine made dovetail joint we know with pretty good assurance that it was made in the 20th century and our search for antiquity is over. Visit Furniture Detective to buy his book “How To Be a Furniture Detective” is available for $18.95 plus $3 S&H.
Send your comments, questions and pictures to Fred Taylor, P. Also available is Fred and Gail Taylor’s DVD, “Identification of Older & Antique Furniture,” ($17 $3 S&H) and a bound compilation of the first 60 columns of “Common Sense Antiques by Fred Taylor” ($25 $3 S&H).
” In other words, what type of joint will overcome the failings of suspensions and movement?
The search for the answer to this question is the basis of our built in time line.
An early answer to the question was a “nailed rabbet.” A rabbet joint is created when a piece of wood fits at a right angle into a notch cut into another piece of wood.
The joint is then nailed either through the front or through the side.Early dovetail construction sometimes featured only one pin and it was often nailed in place.Early Colonial ( 18th century) dovetail joints featured three or four stubby dovetails and they were glued, not nailed.This type of joint is fairly easy to make, requiring no sophisticated tools and is still seen in typical “high school shop” type projects and in lesser quality commercial goods, especially when non-wood compositions are used in drawer construction. One, nails of the 17th century were rare and precious, being individually hand made and two, the joint wasn’t very strong.Toward the end of the 17th century, the Dutch created the concept of the interlocking “dovetail” joint.For more information call 800-387-6377 or fax 352-563-2916.