Traditional wood working principles applied to modern design

In the days of construction before nails, screws and readily made joins were typically available, much building was completed using the likes of wooden pegs or pins. From large and considerably important projects such as ships and housing, to feature furniture and homewares. However, these techniques have not become obsolete, as the quality and expert craftsmanship that go hand in hand with these traditional methods is still widely celebrated today. Especially in the wood working culture of Japan and could perhaps be forging a revival in the Western world as modern makers catch on.

Joins that make use of wooden pins, dowels and pegs are preferable to metal nails and screws in construction that will be exposed to the elements. This is because the rusting of a nail typically contributes to rotting wood, weakening the frame and structure of the build. Fastening a join securely by using wooden pins is a more durable and reliable alternative, with more impressive longevity in comparison to other metal and wood construction. 

Inspired by: The Art of Japanese Joinery, Kiyoski Sieke

The thought of fastening wood together using more wood may seem like a strange and somewhat precarious choice to anyone who is not a carpenter by trade. After all, it just sounds wrong to speak of building without the mention of a bag full of nails and that familiar old ‘tap tap tap’ of the hammer your grandfather knew so well…But low and behold, the decision to try our hands at using mortise and tenon, dovetail and wooden pin joinery methods is not all that outrageous. These methods are gaining their status in the modern world not simply in attempt  to honour some sentimental nostalgia for ‘the good old days’, but more so because they are merely proven to be a better way of holding wood together.


This is why at Plyroom, we use wooden dowels, rather than metal nails or screws for our furniture. The structural superiority offered in these techniques make for timeless and simple construction that is as flexible in assembly and placement as it is trustworthy in habituating.


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