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Forum topic by teaser52 posted 05-08-2017 06:06 PM 760 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 994 days

05-08-2017 06:06 PM

Any one able to give me details on this type of joinery. It appears to be an arts and crafts closet with red brass pulls.

5 replies so far

View wuddoc's profile


354 posts in 4329 days

#1 posted 05-09-2017 01:55 AM

It appears to be a variation of a drawer lock joint.

-- Wuddoc

View teaser52's profile


2 posts in 994 days

#2 posted 05-09-2017 02:23 AM

Can you elaborate on the joinery. I have searched a lot of sites on the web and have found zilch. What was the time period? How prevalent was this type of joint? What part of the country was it in common use? I am in the midwest and bought it at a yard sale about twenty – twenty five years ago.

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5156 posts in 1200 days

#3 posted 05-09-2017 04:11 AM

I think that is a fascinating joint. A typical drawer lock joint locks the front to the side in a way that prevents the drawer front coming loose due to the force of pulling the drawer open, something like this:

However, the sides can be pulled free without any mechanical resistance.

The joint you show can’t be opened up either way, so the side is locked to the front as well as the front being locked to the side. It appears that it would have been assembled by sliding the joint together. In fact, the mechanical nature of it looks as though it would hold, even without glue.

Thanks for posting that. It’s a beautiful piece and you are lucky to have found it.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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1368 posts in 1531 days

#4 posted 05-09-2017 03:34 PM


I believe the joint is known as a sliding keyhole joint. It is a locking joint and may have been used prior to the advent of PVA glues since, as mentioned by RichTaylor, it locks in two directions.

Here are a couple of sites I found that briefly discuss this joint. From my searching of the web, you may need to travel to a library and look for references that describe the history of drawer construction for more information. My guess is this joint was used in lieu of the dovetail joint and may be a forerunner to the locking rabbet joint, which relies heavily on glue to stay together.

Second to the last photo pair at…

About 2/3 the way down the page at…

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354 posts in 4329 days

#5 posted 05-10-2017 12:41 AM

Attached is a scanned copy of a section on drawer joinery from Cabinetmaking and Millwork by John L. Feirer. The first edition is copyrighted 1967. This is scan is from the fifth edition.

I am unable to answer your other questions. Since you are in the Midwest you may wish to contact the Art Institute of Chicago that has a large period furniture collection.

-- Wuddoc

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