You may have noticed a recurrence of Dutchmen in Flat River Furniture's designs. These bow tie shaped pieces of wood add unique character to the furniture, which is why contrasting wood species and colors are often used.
You will notice several Dutchman joints used in this farmers table that used a large split piece of wood as the top. The lighter colored joints hold the wood securely together while adding interest.
The joints can be made using a router inlay, or through the traditional method of hammer and chisel. To make a Dutchman joint you will need a:
- small block of wood
- band saw
Making the Joint
The first step is to cut the rectangular block of wood with a band saw. Unless you want every joint to be the same, the exact same dimensions of the blocks are not needed. Diversity is part of what will bring life to your piece of furniture, or whatever wood object you may be working with. However, the length of the block being used should be about three times the width. The thickness of the block should be the same as or less than the wood being repaired.
A band saw is used to make the cuts that will give the block the signature bow tie shape. Make a cut from each of the four corners towards the center of the wood at about a 15-degree angle. The two cuts on each side of the block should meet at about the halfway point of the length of the block on the same side.
Next, use your pencil to trace the now hourglass shaped block onto the piece of wood being repaired. The traced shape should run across the crack.
Position the tip of your chisel so that it is slightly inside the pencil line of the block outline. The flat part should be facing away from the center of the traced shape. Tap the chisel with the hammer along the perimeter of the shape, creating a nice clean cut. The wood will begin to dislodge.
Continue to chisel away the wood within the traced shape, digging in the outline to make room for the block you cut. The depth of the joint should be a little less that the block's thickness. You should not dig completely through the wood.
Fill the joint space generously with epoxy and press the blocks into place, tapping with the hammer. After the glue has dried, grind the top of the Dutchman joints down. Once you have your joints level with the surrounding wood, you can sand the surface until it is smooth and then apply a wood stain to the surface of the object. Let it dry and enjoy your handiwork!
With a little work and creativity, a damaged piece of furniture can be turned into a new work of art. To see more examples of Dutchman joints used in furniture design, visit the Flat River Furniture Facebook page or our Pinterest boards.