Wood Furniture Construction Basics by Stanley Furniture

Every once in awhile, we find some great advice or nugget of information from our suppliers that we like to share.  Here is some great basic information from our friends at Stanley Furniture, regarding wood furniture construction.   We have found that, while these terms are thrown around a lot by salespeople, there is an assumption that we all understand what the terms actually mean.   Stanley explains it all with some helpful diagrams, and of course, you can find all of this information on their website

From Stanley Furniture:

Construction: Since wood is sensitive to heat and humidity, floating joints must allow for expansion and contraction. For the same reason, all joints are not only glued but are held by glue and nail.


Floating joint systems allow wood to expand and contract with humidity. All joints are glued and nailed.
Mortise and Tenon
Two pieces of wood are joined at right angles. One is a rail and another is a post, or solid end panel. Rail ends are prepared on a tenoner, or cut to fit a socket, usually square, that has been cut into the post or panel. The joint is glued.

Dovetail joints tightly interlock, creating a sturdy connection. Woods with minimal expansion characteristics generally are used for dovetail joints.
Used frequently on bonded case and tabletops, miter joints connect pieces of wood with glue, reinforced by hidden wood or metal wedges, or by wood dowels.

This joint performs a function similar to the mortise and tenon. It uses a wood or composition peg that fits into borings to join the two pieces of wood.

Tongue and Groove
The joint is so deftly constructed that it is barely noticed by the untrained eye. These are generally used as corner blocks for chair seat frames.

Solid versus Veneer

The term “solid” as used in the furniture industry may be confusing because both types of processes - solid and veneered - are of solid wood construction.
Solid Wood Furniture
describes furniture with drawer fronts, tops, panels and other like surfaces made of whole wood, or of one piece, without plies of veneer.
  • Composed of narrow solid wood planks, bonded permanently together, side by side. These planks serve to prevent splitting and warping when temperatures change and when the wood naturally expands and contracts. They also provide decorative variation.
Veneered Wood Furniture
layers of woods are permanently bonded to a center core on a solid wood frame.
  • Veneering permits matching and repeating grain patterns that are impossible in solid lumber.
  • Veneering is used in about 80 percent of wood furniture, from the least to the most expensive, because of its strength and added versatility.

Stanley Furniture Craftsmanship

Here are some of the hallmarks of Stanley Furniture craftsmanship:
  • Mortise and tenon joints
  • Heavy-duty center drawer guides
  • Drawers dovetailed front and back
  • Durable dust panels between drawers
  • Durable drawer bottoms held rigidly in grooves
  • Strong case backs recessed into end
  • Well mounted top and sides

We are excited about carrying Stanley Furniture!  Give us a call at 704-788-3952 or visit our two showrooms here in Concord and we will be happy to show you the diverse collections and styles from this outstanding manufacturer.