The woodworking world seems to be a flutter with talk of Nailed or Board Furniture. I’ll admit there is something exciting about quickly building a nice piece of furniture with little concern about complex joinery. More importantly, my wife really likes the idea too. So with the intent of giving the style a try I began to think about the tool kit needed for this straight forward style. It is startling just how few tools you need when it comes to a piece built entirely with dados, rabbets,grooves, and the occasional tongue & groove joint.
Let’s assume you are starting with already milled home center lumber. And why not seeing as most of this furniture was painted. I’ll also skip the sizing tools because whether you use a power tool or hand saw, these tools don’t differ much from a more complex style of furniture making. So you have your pieces sized and you are ready to begin joinery.
This is it. This style of furniture could be a great introduction for the woodworker looking to build a piece by hand because there are so few tools needed. This is a modern version of the tool kit as I have included several tools from modern makers like Lee Valley and Lie Nielsen. There are scores of cool wooden planes you could use instead of the modern more expensive counterparts.
This is also an all around tool kit that eschews dedicated tools for more utility tools. For instance, dados can be cut very quickly with a dedicated dado plane. The set width plane has nickers that score across the grain on both sides of the joint and will sink the dado very quickly with only one tool. My problem with this technique is that you need a separate plane for every new width of dado you cut. Not that you will be making many different sizes but just like plywood is never the same thickness, your joined boards may not all nicely fit into the fixed width that dado plane provides.
I prefer to cut dados with a saw, chisel, and router plane. I can scribe the profile of the joint off the board to be joined, saw the sides, whack out the waste with a chisel, and refine the depth with my router plane. That process can actually be even faster once you get the hang of it.
The remaining joinery is cut with dedicated but adjustable planes. Plow plane for grooves, Rabbet plane for rabbets, and Match Plane for Tongue and Grooves. Of these the T&G plane is not adjustable but it cuts the joint on a 1/2″ center which is great for relatively thin back boards where this joint will be used most.
As far as the nails themselves, these are installed first with the eggbeater drill to create the pilot but modern cordless drills work just fine here too. I most often use a standard fine finish cut nail but for more delicate parts, I will use a headless brad. Finally, when I want to show off my nails proudly I have wrought head nails that stand proud and add a rustic feel.
The above tool kit is very small, extremely quiet, and highly efficient. You never know, maybe even an extremely slow builder like me can produce furniture in a weekend this way.Google+ Profile