The Anvil Test

Destroying 10 joints taught us surprising lessons about joint design, wood failure and the tenacity of modern glue.
By Robert W. Lang
Pages: 76-79

From the December 2005 issue #152
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It has been said that we learn more from failure than from success. One of the first pieces of furniture I made was a coffee table with rails tenoned into the legs. I didn’t know that the tenons were too large in proportion to the size of the legs until several years after the table was finished.

On the way to the bathroom one night, I accidently kicked one leg. The wood surrounding the tenon gave way, and the leg went flying. Up to that point, my work was successful; yet in an instant, a nice table was reduced to kindling. This was a joint-design lesson learned the hard way.

Much of what we know about woodworking is someone else’s experience, or the embellished retelling of someone else’s experience. When we find a method that works, we hang on to it and then we recommend it to others – never sure if it really is a good way or if we just got lucky.

From the December 2005 issue #152
Buy this issue now