Lou's Signature bow tie was developed because he saw that he would need to regularly use wood bow ties in his projects to secure the wood, and the standard bow tie was well, while functional, "standard." His stylized signature Bow Tie features the curves he loves to work with while remaining functional. We have had clients request a bow tie even if it was not structurally needed because it is almost like a signature, brand or label and it is beautiful to look at.
Once Lou's Quallenberg's signature bow ties began showing up in National Furniture and Art Shows we started to see other versions of original bow ties begin to develop and expand. It's almost like permission was given to create your own.
The dovetail key is a device that spans a natural wood defect or a man-made seam to mechanically lock two pieces together. The bowtie shape is cut from solid wood, with the grain running lengthwise, and set into the surface of a board at 90° to the grain. With the key in place, the “butterfly” shape prevents the board(s) from separating.
The recess for the key can be cut entirely by hand, or the bulk of the waste can be removed with a router, followed by a chisel to clean up the corners.
The dovetail key is used primarily to reinforce and strengthen a joint. It’s also used to stabilize a natural flaw or defect in a piece of timber.
World famous woodworker George Nakashima used dovetail keys extensively in the furniture he built.