If you’re a fan of period furniture, you have probably spent countless hours staring at photos of pieces built two centuries ago. What? That’s only done by furniture geeks like me? Well, if you did, you would see that during the period cabinetmakers found many ways to attach a top to the table base and/or casework.
Sometimes tops were attached with square pegs driven right through the top and into the rails below. (I was amazed when I first discovered this method.) And, of course, there were pocket screws. No, that technique is not a new design. The way the pocket is cut is also not new, but it is different. Screw pockets found on many antique pieces were cut using a chisel or a brace and bit. Another method employed by some cabinetmakers was to simply use blocks glued in place with protein glues, many of which have been lost or replaced.
Unfortunately, if we used some of those techniques today, we’d be destined for failure. And there are reasons why. If you were a subscriber to 360 Woodworking, the new article released today would explain why you should not use the same methods employed by our forefathers. I’ll give you a hint. One reason has to do with the woods we use today, and another is due to our ability to control comfort. You can dig around the inter-web to get the answers, or you can subscribe below.