This doesn’t Dovetail

Visiting a house in Connecticut the other day, I came across a coffee table:

A standard type of commercially produced furniture, with the drawers being continuous from one side to the other. Nothing special. A little expressed joinery at the table top corners is a nice touch.

At first glance the corner blocks are dovetailed together:

Looking closer though, only one board is dovetailed:

I understand that someone might want to simulate dovetails in some manner, to give the look but at a cheaper price point, however in this case the amount of labor required to do the simulation is scarcely different than it would have been if the pieces were actually dovetailed. All four corners of the table are the same. I guess they must make up stock which is trapezoidal in section to simulate the dovetail pins.

Simply bizarre. At least it is solid Black Cherry though.

6 thoughts on “This doesn’t Dovetail

  1. Chris;
    With all the work to fake it,they should have just did it right!Never will understand appearance over function.should look and function the same! Not cool!!!Keep up the real deal!!When is the tables next treatment of joinery wisdom? Drive safe and have a wonderful and safe day!

  2. JT,

    I agree, they should have just done it properly. Unfortunately, 'appearance over function' appears to be the guiding principle in modern society.

    Thanks for sharing your comment.


  3. This reminds me of a comment you made that too many architects only know how to design and don't know how to build. Somewhere a designer (and thanks to Ikea marketing, designers are the latest rockstars) decided that exposed dovetails was a sign of taste and quality and so specified dovetailed feet. This furthers tells me that there were no cabinetmakers in the factory that made this piece who could have pointed out that it is far better to allow the vertical corner post to extend to the floor. Did you look under the piece to see how the feet were attached?

  4. Ah, I held off lifting the table up to examine the underside. Wasn't especially interested either. I expect the corner blocks are either doweled on or screwed on.


Anything to add?