From Dovetails to Mortise & Tenon
This model was made by a friend, David Heim. I will be using his model to create a multi-page shop drawing for my students. David created the model from sketches by Lester Margon in his book “American Furniture Treasures”. I actually made this William & Mary Highboy in mahogany years ago, and it provides useful storage between our dining and living room.
In starting to make the drawing package, I became concerned about the design of the front corner joint shown by Margon. The horizontal grain in the front Skirt plus the intrusion of large dovetails make this joint one that is sure to fail. So, in this video I will show my modification to this joint.
Here is David’s model, depicting Margon’s design.
Here you can see the front corner joint that is sure to fail. The combination of horizontal grain in the front skirt and the deep intrusion of dovetails creates an extremely fragile joint and one that will surely fail.
I’ve now removed the end portion of the front skirt, replacing with a new vertical grain post that is through tenoned for its connection to the front skirt.
Now I’ve removed the dovetails from the Side component and replaced with two separated tenons.
An X-ray view shows that there is no interference between the Skirt tenon and the Side tenons.
This final joint should be able to withstand the normal forces expected using this large piece of furniture.