• Half lapped scarf joint

Half lapped scarf joint

Chinese half lapped scarf joint with a single wedge tenon.

One of the reasons why joints were so complex in China, Japan and Korea was the climate. There are huge changes of temperature and humidity throughout the whole of central and south-east Asia, and many European colonists discovered the furniture they took with them from Europe fell to pieces because the animal glue softened in the high humidity and heat. The woodworkers of those countries found that it was necessary to make interlocking joints which had mechanical strength rather than rely on glued joints. This is not to say that oriental furniture was not glued; it just didn’t rely so heavily upon glue.

One could perhaps argue that Continental colonial furniture stood up to high humidity better than British furniture! One of the roles of the furniture restorer in China was to replace and tighten the dovetail wedges used when the joints in furniture had become loose.

Skills: Art Fabrication, Structures