Period furniture

In a class by itself is the manufacture of reproduction period furniture. The best work in this field is of an extremely high standard; and, although it often has to make concession to modern materials in using veneered plywood or laminated board for parts, it usually follows traditional methods of construction, at least where visible machine work would be obvious. On the other hand, all veneers are put down in a press, mouldings worked on the spindle moulder, and shapes cut on the bandsaw or jigsaw.

It is in this work that wood carving is chiefly used. Because of its high cost, carving has largely disappeared from modern commercial furniture, but to the manufacturer of reproduction furniture it is an obvious necessity. From early times and certainly from the 17th century, wood carving has been a separate trade. A highly skilled calling, it demands artistic sense as well as manual dexterity. It has become divided into classes of which furniture and indoor decoration represent only one branch, with further subdivision within the branch.

In the commercial grade of furniture there is wide variation in quality, from the lowest priced goods to high-grade items in which individual hand workmanship is used for processes where the quality would suffer if the machine were used. Thus drawer dovetails are cut by hand, and sometimes even hand-cut joints are used.

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