We recently bought some inexpensive furniture for my wifes mom. Some of the drawers feature real dovetails, so it must be good furniture, right? Maybe; maybe not.
Sally and I have been working lately on moving her elderly mom up from Tennessee to an assisted-living apartment here in the Ohio Valley. Rather than move her old furniture, shell have new, and weve been tasked with getting it all in place before the move.
We had to stick to a specific budget, so we shopped carefully. And while the furniture was inexpensive production stuff, it looks nice and had a few surprises. The end tables, for example, had genuine dovetailed drawers. Sure, they were ugly machine-cut dovetails slathered with filler, but the drawers really are square and rock-solid. These arent the kind of dovetails Id insist on if I were buying handmade furniture; heck, theyre not they kind Id insist on if I were making them myself.
But the furniture is what it is, and it fits the budget, and its sturdy, and it looks really nice in Sallys moms new apartment. But theres no getting around that those pieces are what most of the readership here would call cheap [insert word of choice here].
When it comes to joinery, you dont get much sturdier and stronger than dovetails, but does adding dovetails turn cheap [insert word of choice here] into fine furniture? Of course not, which is one of the reasons Ive stated several times in the past here that dovetails arent necessarily the hallmark of fineness that many would have you think they are.
But you buy (or make) furniture for many reasons, using many criteria when judging its quality and fitness for use. In this case, the furniture is perfect for the intended use, and while the quality certainly hails from the quick-and-dirty region of production woodworking its far more attractive and useable than a lot that Ive seen.
When taken on its merits then, the furniture is fine, even if its not fine furniture. And with that in mind those dovetails are a true bonus.
Till next time,