Classic Amish Woodworking Techniques

by | Mar 7, 2016

Amish people are famous for their woodworking techniques and skills. Many family-owned Amish businesses produce handcrafted furniture, barns or gazebos, and pass their knowledge and skills to the next generation. A genuine Amish furniture piece can be distinguished by its meticulous attention to detail, durable design and quality materials.

Precise joinery is the benchmark of Amish handcrafted furniture. Many pieces are made entirely from solid wood, without the use of brackets or screws.

3 Popular Amish Woodworking Techniques

Dovetail Joints 

This joint is commonly used on drawer sides and cabinets. Two pieces of wood are interlocked together like fingers, with “pin” and “tail” joints neatly fitting together. This creates a solid, attractive-looking joint that is reminiscent of “dovetails”. These joints require great skill, especially if a piece is hand-hewn. Dovetail joints are extremely durable and the mark of heirloom quality furniture.

Mortise and Tenon Joints

This particular joint is when two pieces of wood are connected at a 90 degree angle, creating one of the strongest woodworking joints around. It is commonly used to join furniture legs. The concept is simple: one end piece of wood is inserted into a hole in another piece of wood. The piece is first cut down slightly to form a narrow end called a tenon. The hole, which the tenon will fit into, is called the mortise.

This popular Amish woodworking technique is actually one of the oldest forms of joinery in the world. Click here to learn more about how mortise and tenon joints were invented.

Tongue and Groove Joints

The tongue and groove technique is similar to mortise and tenon, but the joints are much longer. The tongue of the first piece of wood is perfectly shaped to fit into the groove of the second piece. This joint is generally used when sturdily joining planks of wood side-by-side. It is highly useful for creating a smooth flat surface, such as a tabletop or headboard.

Are Amish woodworking techniques worth all that effort?

These woodworking techniques used by the Amish are certainly labor-intensive, but create some of the strongest and most durable pieces of furniture available. Cabinfield is proud to offer timeless handcrafted furniture pieces that become heirlooms that can be passed down through the generations.

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