Design & Interiors

Elegant furniture without nails

A dining set: Most are made without nails. PHOTO | COURTESY
A dining set: Most are made without nails. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Nothing is quite as annoying as a sitting on a squeaky chair or sleeping in a wobbly bed. You can’t sit or sleep still because you do not know when you will fall. Bad woodwork is a pain especially when the nails are falling apart.

Kenyans are turning to furniture with wooden dowels, made from hardwood and glue.

Besides having the rustic and antique look, dowels have been used over the centuries by woodworkers to strengthen joints.

“Using nails in joinery means that you will have to use fillers. The fillers are often of a different shade from the colour of the wood used in the furniture and this compromises on the beauty of the end product,” said Sukhvinder Aidhy, the workshop manager and designer at Ashut Engineers.

Dowelling involves inserting evenly cut sticks of wood into perfectly matching holes in corresponding boards. These are then glued in place.

The beauty with this kind of joinery is that it ensures the finishing is smooth, blemish less, simple but classy.

Mr Aidhy says this is exactly what Ashut Engineers strive to achieve in the home furniture line introduced in the market some nine months ago.

The furniture line includes among others dining tables, coffee tables, room side boards (some installed with a wine bar) and book stands. All the products are intended for astute customers.

The Graycine wingback seat and the Chaise lounge are both made using cyprus, mahogany and special cushion to appeal to tastes of this discerning clientele.

The wingback chairs, are vintage antiques introduced in England in the 17th century and are today used to create an inviting atmosphere around the home.

Lounge seats on the other hand offer stylish resting place in offices, public areas and for homes, they allow one to relax in comfort and elegance.

“We use cyprus wood and screws as opposed to nails in the inner structure of the seats, mahogany on the externally visible parts while the high-quality fabric is imported from Spain or Dubai,” said Mr Aidhy, popularly known as Sukha in informal circles.

Prior to venturing into the home furniture line, Ashut focused on a wide range of products made from plastic, steel, wood and aluminium.

Another firm that makes furniture without nails is Kito Kenya Made. Kito founder and chief executive Derrick Kimani explains that most of the designs are made from indigenous hardwood trees including mahogany, mvuli and the Meru oak.

“People are looking for something different away from the casual finishes by the estate artisans,” he said.

To give the smooth and classy finish, joinery is mostly through dowelling, which he says guarantees on durability as well.

While the local market is flooded with cheap furniture imports, a discerning customer would always peg their purchases on quality rather than price.

Hardwood furniture are made from well-seasoned timber, meaning that it doesn’t form cracks, maintains polish and hence durable.