Basic knowledge for woodworking. Have you ever seen those square holes and the protruding piece of wood? They are not just holes and bulgy piece. They have their own names—mortise and Tenon. In the history of woodworking, these joints have been used for thousands of years. And in China, the mortise and tenon joint is called “Sun Mao”. To search mortise and tenon on Wikipedia, we can know that the first examples tusked joints were found in a well near Leipzig, which is the world’s oldest intact wooden architecture.
In China, this kind of structure for woodworking is especially famous. Even though some people may don’t know exactly what mortise and tenon joint is, they may have heard of “Sun Mao”. In ancient China, in the beginning, the mortise and tenon joints were widely used not in furniture, but in buildings. If you have ever seen some pictures of ancient China’s buildings, you may find that there are many magnificent and beautiful old buildings with mortise and tenon joints in China, and during the Warring State Period(770 BC – 221 BC), mortise and tenon joints were begun to be used in the furniture.
That doesn’t mean the mortise and tenon joints in woodworking are not Chinese patent. In fact, many countries are still using this kind of structure in both buildings and furniture. Not just because the long histories, furniture with this structure are stronger and more durable than those pieces of furniture connected with nails. Besides, these pieces furniture are demountable, which means it’s easy to transport and friendly for moving house. Also, the furniture with mortise and tenon joints is easy to maintain. The most important reason is, compared with the nails, mortise and tenon joints will not do harm to furniture itself, which can make your furniture have a longer service life.