Ode to the bridle joint: or, towards a theory of why IKEA is terrible

The bridle joint.  A full tenon sandwiched between the sides of an open mortise.  Acres of face-grain glue surface.  Sink a couple pegs through the piece and you have a joint that’s as strong as it is lovely.

bridle joint

You can see then why an outfit like IKEA would want to incorporate the bridle joint in their line of ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets.  But this is where quality woodcraft intersects with bulk production.  Note in the photos below the faked joint and the pegs that hold precisely nothing together.  I like to think I don’t take my work too, too seriously, but these IKEA cabinets are simply an insult to anyone who cares about things beyond what they look like.

IKEA fake bridle joint


IKEA fake bridle joint

For a more detailed description of the history of the IKEA pathology, you’d do well to read Lauren Collins’ 2011 piece in The New Yorker.



“Make amusement all you wish. But choose with care. You are what you love. No?”

–David Foster Wallace

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