Materials used

Timber dominated, the most common in use being ash, elm and oak, with oak the most popular. However, it was often the case that the local material was the inevitable choice.

The forging of metal was a highly skilled trade and the use of metal fittings occurred from the first furniture in this period. Straps were made for chests, to ensure that there was as little movement as possible: these as well as hinges, hasps and protective scrollwork, were all worked in wrought iron. By the fourteenth century, chests were often fitted with a lock, the movement of which was sunk into the woodwork. Strap hinges were used so that the strap round a chest combined to make a hinge in one piece. On cupboard doors, butterfly hinges were common until the fifteenth century when they were elongated to form a decorative strap. Metals were occasionally used for more than just fittings and examples of iron furniture are known. Very rarely, silver, gold, pewter and ivory were used to decorate important pieces.

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