Complete Illustrated Guide to Joinery by Gary Rogowski - Free PDF

We categorize our furniture making like we do so many of our other human endeavors. There are only so many ways to make a box after all. But we have in our imaginative way, made the most of all the possibilities. The fact is, there are only two basic joinery systems. Either we use box construction,
joining wide panels of solid-wood or plywood materials together, to make our car-cases, cabinets, or jewelry boxes. Or we use frame construction to build our chairs, tables, beds, and cabinets. These frames use smaller members fastened together with or without a panel captured within them.

From these two categories spring a wealth of joinery options. A project as simple as a box has a dozen ways to solve the joinery question, and many joints can be used interchangeably. So how do you choose which joint to use?

The function of the piece is the starting point for your joinery choices. Are you building a cabinet to old the crown jewels or a recipe box destined to be stained with the labors of the kitchen? Dovetail joints are the best way to join large panels, but a window box doesn’t need dovetails to be serviceable. Next, consider economy -the need for efficiency and speed in your building.

What’s your time frame? If it’s a weekend project, your choice of a joint will make a big difference. Hand chopping dozens of mortises is certainly not time-efficient, but it may be the perfect way to enjoy working at a leisurely pace in a harried world. The skill you bring to a project also determines which joint you choose, but learning a new method of joinery is a wonderful challenge. We tend to find our methods and stick to them; but remember that each time you cut a joint, you get a little better at doing it. 

Joinery affects the design in ways both obvious and quite subtle. That simple box can be built in a dozen ways, but a mitered corner doesn’t look anything like one that’s finger jointed together. Joinery will also help in the building of some pieces, offering shoulders and edges that help hold a piece together for gluing or pre-assembly work. Make your joinery choices based on all these factors. One method may work better one day and another method the next. 

Please also remember that this book is only a guide. No one process, jig, machine, or book can confer mastery. The way to mastering joinery is to make joints. It’s the time you spend learning, making mistakes, backing up, and starting all over again. The time you spend in the shop is the real pay-off; the furniture you build a wonderful bonus.

Complete Illustrated Guide to Joinery by Gary Rogowski - Free PDF

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