- 18 Apr 2021
- Reaction score
- London, Jutland.
Agreed. It’s a style thing. I have looked in old literature to find history behind this but have not found anything yet. The problem with time is that time often takes unique skills to the grave. The traditional metal machine world is the worst. We have lost so many older machinists and subsequently their skills. Some of my machines are English wadkins from the 1940s. Restoration is often a struggle as you wonder how The Green Lane Works did things.
There were three major schools of thought. English-Germanic-French. While there was overlap there were also differences. You can see some differences in the workbenches. Rubo versus scandavian versus English. Same with toolboxes. When the American school of thought came front and center, we saw a huge change. The machine mind set. Woodworking moved more towards traditional pattern making. Benches changed, toolboxes went toward the machinist box style and dovetails became more utilitarian if not replaced by the box joint.
so today, we seek design features to capture an allure that tracks one of these historical features. So not only do we need the skills but an ability to apply those skills to obtain the subtle features were after.
In some heavy timber dovetails, you often have one or two heavy tails. In an attempt to increase strength, minor dovetails were added to the larger dovetails. So now you have the hounds tooth dovetail. You see this often on high quality wooden workbenh elements.
Dovetails were originally utilitarian and have now become a design feature. You wouldn't see dovetails on drawer fronts on quality work in the 17th. century. This also applies to secondary surfaces and we've moved to a stage where every component is overworked.
The evidence is in the furniture, and not in books by people like Moxon or Nicholson.