Joinery Systems

This post talks about a couple of joinery systems I use while building furniture of different types. These can be permanent glued joints or knock-down joints that can be reopened for easy transportation and moving.
Each system has it’s own pros and cons and areas of application apart from being differently priced. Careful selection of the correct joinery system ensures strong furniture that is built to last. I have mentioned some use cases and examples of how I have used them in my work.


Lamello biscuits made of ca. 4mm thick Beech wood are elliptical in shape and come in different sizes. They can be used at intervals to connect 2 pieces of wood, using a lamello router to make the appropriate cuts in the material. They can be applied to join solid wood and wood based boards in simple butt joints or mitred joints. They add strength with additional glue area and help to align the workpieces forming an invisible, strong joint.

I have used Lamello biscuits in various projects like the Garden rack, the Tea Cabinet Blue as well as some parts of the Sideboard.

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Domino dowels are a hybrid of round dowels and traditional wooden tenons. They are flattened pieces of beech wood in different thicknesses and lengths, to be used depending on the dimensions of the workpiece. They are used to join panels, but also for frames and wooden structures as a replacement for a tenon-and-mortise joint. It creates strong, invisible joints with the help of glue. The pockets for the domino dowels are made with a special Domino router machine.

I have used Domino dowels extensively in the base structure of the Ashwood Cabinets, as well as other projects like a staircase railing and balcony railing made out of solid wood.

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Clamex connectors are similarly shaped to wooden Lamellos, but are made of plastic with a small lever on the male part to lock the two. The two components can be closed and opened multiple times, making the clamex a great connector for knock-down furniture. The lever is accessed through an almost invisible 6mm hole. Clamex connectors can be used on wooden boards for butt joints as well as mitre joints and are extremely useful while gluing mitre joints due to their immense strength. The groove for the Clamex connectors is made using a special Clamex router by hand or on a CNC machine.

I often use Clamex connectors when assembling large mitred cabinets like the Sideboard, or for ease of dismantling like in the CD Shelf. Clamex connectors can also be used to join 2 parts of a furniture like I did in the Tea Cabinet.

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Joinery systems developed by industry leaders help cabinet makers speed up processes making furniture more affordable and accessible to everyone. Traditional joinery techniques take longer to produce and sometimes do not have applications like being knock down. There are many other methods and hardware that have been developed, the ones above are the systems I have experience with and trust. They make for strong, reliable joints that create furniture that will last a lifetime and can be passed down from generation to generation.

The images below show examples of how I have used this joinery.

The Effects of War on Wood Trade

Almost a third of the imports of wood and wooden furniture to the EU27, measured in value, comes from Russia, Belarus & Ukraine. In volume, its 53% when talking about lumber products like wooden logs, sawed wood and wooden boards.

With European sanctions against Russia and the discontinuation of SWIFT payments, the import of lumber products has stopped completely. In addition, many suppliers from Belarus do not comply with FSC and PEFC standards, let alone the new EUTR (European Union Timber Regulation) standards. All this leads to a shortage in availability and rising prices of timber.

The war has had a stronger effect on the availability of FSC certified wood as compared to PEFC wood. Of all FSC certified forests worldwide, 27% are in Russia while 6% are in Belarus. For PEFC forests this number lies at 10% in Russia and 3% in Belarus.

Many producers are therefore forced to transition from FSC to PEFC certified wood due to availability shortages. Or simply use what is available in the market. Birch plywood imports into the EU from Russia have also been hit for a second time (the first time during the Covid pandemic), with prices shooting up and availability at almost nothing.

As a small business owner, I am largely affected by the shortages and growing prices. These naturally directly translate to what I am able to offer clients, who more often that not are unhappy about high prices and longer delivery periods.

We all obviously hope for a quick end to the war, and for peace and prosperity to return to Ukraine. As for the woodworking industry, we need to realistically take into account that war-related effects on wood import will cause disruptions atleast until the end of 2022.