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I am looking for resources (mostly books) on how to build wooden furniture without glue, nails or screws (preferably with only hand tools). I would like to learn the techniques involved in this as well as to see some examples on how to make simple furniture with only wood joinery.

Since I have not found much, I figured that I am not using the proper terms to search for this information.

Can someone point me in the right direction on this? Is there a resource that I could use to start this little research I am doing?

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  • The commonest term for furniture that can be taken apart and reassembled may be knockdown (this is sometimes shortened to KD) but this does include the use of screws and bolts. But if you look under that term you will find some of what you're looking for (including types of wedged joints). Another search tip, just in case you don't already know this, is to put terms in quotes so Google will search for that phrase exactly, e.g. "no-glue furniture".
    – Graphus
    Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 16:21
  • Wooden churches or just the construction of wooden churches. Words like that can get you something. Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 19:31
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    pbs.org/woodwrightsshop amazon.com/…
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Oct 3, 2020 at 19:16
  • "traditional joinery" The problem with mentioning specific resources is that it allows any answer to age poorly. but a trip to your local library or your local web search will give you more than you can handle with these search terms. Adjust as necessary.
    – user5572
    Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 13:18
  • A well made dovetail joint and tusk tenon joints should require no glue or other mechanical fasteners.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 16:17

2 Answers 2

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The biggest or most common "buzzword" or term that I have heard in regards to this is Japanese Joinery. You might also hear Japanese Woodworking, Japanese Carpentry, or the word "traditional" tacked onto those as well (ie - "traditional japanese woodworking"). All of that might be a good place to start, but "japanese" seems to be the operative word.

The Samurai Carpenter's YouTube channel and homepage talks about what you are referring to. He doesn't always go into details on his YouTube Channel, but does show off plenty of what he has built in that style. His homepage has plans, projects, and more to order that you might find helpful. At the very least, his channel might lead to more information and resources you would find useful for this endeavor.

There is also another guy on YouTube, Chop with Chris, who does some work like that. He is also very responsive to comments and emails and might have some additional resources.

I think some of that stuff looks really cool, so good luck and post back a comment of a link to pictures.

Also, the April 2018 issue of Family Handyman had a viking table as its cover story. This is mostly what you are talking about with a few screws for appearances.

The additional terms used are mortise and tenon, which escaped me the other day.

I also wanted to add Rex Kruger to the list. He has a series of videos of just using hand tools and creating your own tools. He is a furniture maker, and he has a series of tutorials online, a website, a few books and more. Rex Kruger Website has some books that are mostly about wood turning, a bunch of blog articles, and more. He is also very responsive to his viewers, so watch a video and leave a comment asking for more, or send him an email. I am sure he has a ton of resources. Hope that helps.

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Search on Peter Follansbee -- he specializes in using 17th century methods to make furniture. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/nodes/4243/home-education-videos

He has published some books:

His mentor, Jenny Alexander, got him started in that direction with her book "Make a chair from a tree" https://blog.lostartpress.com/2018/09/13/news-make-a-chair-from-a-tree-third-edition-and-video/

I have no experience with their techniques or their books, I've just enjoyed their videos.

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  • This is a question and answer site (see the tour to see what that is all about) and unfortunately, this is not an acceptable answer. Link-only answers will age poorly as those links all die over time.
    – user5572
    Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 12:36

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