Spending my entire adult (and a good portion of my teenage) life as a maker of 17th-, 18th- and early 19th-century style furniture has been wonderful and has opened many doors for me – but that all ends today.
Wandering through my local Big Box Hardware and Home Center (and I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what it is called) last night I stumbled on something revolutionary. We’re not talking your standard “taxation without representation” kind of revolution. No, this one is important: it’s a woodworking revolution.
And, like any good revolution (or renaissance) this one appears to have begun in Italy. Seriously, compared to the likes of Lamello and Elu, guys like Felibien and Roubo would be rank amateurs when it comes to joinery. And, oh what joinery it is, this biscotti (I’m sure my local home center just Americanized it) joinery!
Let’s face it, the mortise-and-tenon and dovetail joints have no chance of survival when you can get more than double the glue surface from (OK, I’ll use the American form) biscuits and you can make the joint in one tenth the time. These guys have thought of everything. It’s easy to set up, cut and assemble the joints – with no fitting whatsoever.
The best part? The biscuits are made from crushed luan plywood. They redefine stability and, as we all know, the strength of luan underlayment is unsurpassed – particularly when you smash it down so that it expands when glue is applied. Even the expansion is revolutionary; it locks the joint together permanently.
I truly believe this is such a total innovation in woodworking, I’ve already been in contact with my friend, Tommy MacDonald of “Rough Cut Woodworking with Tommy Mac,” and suggested he incorporate this new joinery method into his show. I think there might be real potential for him to use this method for the vast majority of his projects. It could truly be the foundation of an extended career.
So, to paraphrase Denethor, Son of Ecthelion, “Flee, flee for your woodworking lives! Abandon your mortise-and-tenon posts. The age of antiquated woodworking is at an end.” And, just as Picard standing by the swirling puddle of goo (and nothing happens), this biscotti joinery will change everything. I, for one, am throwing off the shackles of preconceived, historically proven, antiquated joinery methods and coming into the modern era. I will, from this day forward, employ only this new method for all my projects both private and public. Won’t you join me in my crusade?
Enjoy the day.
p.s. – And in his ever-prescient manner, Bob Lang created “A New Manual for Biscuit Joiners” almost a decade ago.