Roy’s Furniture concludes a 4000 year tradition


Hundreds of pieces of ancient Egyptian wooden furniture still exist from 3000 years ago. They employed motice and tenon and pegged construction, dovetails, marquetry, parquetry, gilding, veneering in wood and precious materials, lathe turned legs and carving. Plywood appears in a 6000 y.o. coffin.The only major addition to this tradition in hand tools and techniques till about 1840 was the idevelopment of nailed-on upholstery in the Rennaissance. This is why Roy's goes up to about 1840 and stops. After that point the furniture was increassingly made by machines in factories. Machine carving, rotary peeling of veneers etc went with band and circular saws. Workmen were confined to only making one component (turned legs for example), and no longer made furniture from design to delivery. Artisanal furniture was mostly dead. The late Victorian Arts and Crafts movement tried to counter this soulless repetitive factory production but failed. Now very little furniture is actually made of wood. Simulants such as chipboard veneered with a plastic sheet laminated with a photograph of wood are the norm. The best contemporary furniture is of plastic, glass, metal but simulated wooden furniture is usually a depressing parody of old designs.

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