Quirky Period Construction

blog_knuckleIn my latest article (released on 360 WoodWorking today, become a member if you’d like to see it) I build a Federal style card table that I copied from an original that was in my shop for repair. One of the many reasons this fast became one of my favorite projects is the oddball construction. And of the various construction quirks, one of my favorites is the square-cut knuckle joint.

blog_reliefNow, there’s nothing quirky about a square-cut knuckle joint. In fact, they’re reasonably common. But this particular joint on this particular table is a little peculiar; it has a strange relief cut that allows the joint to swing. Someone out there is going to say, “All knuckle joints have relief cuts that allow the joint to swing. In fact, if they don’t have relief built into the joint, it won’t swing at all.” But here’s the rub, I’ve never seen relief in a joint like this. And the original maker wasn’t shy about it either – he left plenty of room for the fly rail to clear the fixed part of the apron.

Honestly, take a look at that joint in the picture on the right. Does it look like a thing of beauty to you? And when the fly rail is extended, the corner clears the fixed rail by about 1/4″. Not exactly the same tolerances that built the rest of the table. That’s the thing about antique furniture – there are all kinds of tales to be told by every piece out there. I truly wonder what this guy was thinking when he made this joint. To find out the other quirks on this table (and how many of them I copied), you’ll need to be a member. Join today.

— Rob Millard


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