Dining table build - breadboard questions - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 10-31-2015, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Dining table build - breadboard questions

I'm working on a solid walnut farmhouse style dining table. I've got my breadboard ends mortised and the main boards tenoned, if that makes sense, and have been dry fitting this before final trim of the breadboard ends and glue up of the top. The tenons are 2" and the mortises are about 2 1/4" deep and about a 1/2" wider on each end than the total length of the tenon.

This is my first breadboard setup on a table top, so for those with more experience with this, I have 2 questions...

1. Do my allowances for wood movement sound sufficient? I'll be pinning this with glue in the center and pinning with elongated holes in the tenon once or twice on each side of center.

2. The breadboard goes on the tenon now, but with the help of a mallet. I't's pretty tight. Should this slide on easier? I could sand the tenon down a bit more to get it on easier. I am just concerned about it being too tight to allow easy wood movement in the breadboard, but maybe I don't need to be concerned about that...?

Your advice is always appreciated!
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post #2 of 8 Old 10-31-2015, 09:27 PM
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Things will shrink. If you don't have to pound hard to get the end on, it will be fine. If wood wants to move, it can push a truck. Sanding isn't the best way to size something like the tenon. Good place to use a low angle shoulder plane or block plane. Might have to pare a little with a chisel to get in the corner. The ends are pretty wide and are also likely to shrink. Pin closer to the table end so the joint won't open. I wouldn't use any glue except for the pins themselves, not likely to hold for long anyway. How much the tabletop will move depends on the current moisture content of the lumber, the MC where it will be in service, how wide it is and some will depend on the nature of the individual boards. If that table is 36" wide +- and the lumber is KD 8%, 1"of allowance should be plenty.
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post #3 of 8 Old 11-01-2015, 02:16 AM
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Nice looking mortice and tenon.I see your top looks to be mostly Quarter sawn so you will be in good shape.And will see very little shrinkage.Walnut is just about as good as it gets next to Quarterd mahogany.
I would feel confident enough to break up your tenons in three or four sections.One big continues one is not really necessary.Tables are one of my favorite pieces to make.Aj
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post #4 of 8 Old 11-01-2015, 11:33 AM
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I haven't done lots of breadboards so my comment may be educational for me and the op... but I've read that gluing the center of the tenon is all you need to do because the board will move out from the center. Gluing about an inch or two will hold on a good joint without any pins. A good joint is one that will slip on without any pounding and it will hold as a dry fit. Too accomplish this fit, sanding would be a good method for the op since his joint is a tad too tight in my opinion. If you have to use a mallet to fit your joint then it is too tight. The glue will be squeezed out as you hammer it together. Also realize that glue has moister and will swell the wood as it dries.
When I cut my mortise and tenons, I cut the tenons a bit proud and I sneak them down to size until I can slip them together by hand. I don't have any shoulder planes so I use a metal file which works well for me. Since I'm self taught... my comments are open to corrections. I'm still learning from this great forum.

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #5 of 8 Old 11-01-2015, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I don't have the luxury (yet) of a good shoulder plane, so 20 minutes of sanding with my 1/4 sheet palm sander and some hand sanding are my current options for a better fit with the tenon. I think I'd like it to slide on a bit more easily with less mallet whacking. You're right, the top is mostly quartersawn or close to it, so I think my lateral movement tolerances should be fine. Bernie, good point about the moisture content of the glue. I think I'll still use pins, but very little glue. Not sure if I'll get the top glued up today or not but I'll reply here with updates.
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post #6 of 8 Old 11-01-2015, 11:10 PM
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DeanK - I assume you know to allow wood movement through your pins by elongating the pin whole width wise in the tenon hole. And glue should not be applied near the ends of the tenon.
That being said - back to the honing down of your tenon for a proper fit. Obviously, step #1 in cutting your tenon was accomplished perfectly because your tenon is just a tad too thick. Step #2 is bringing your tenon down to the perfect tenon. As close as you are, I wouldn't want to use a plane - even a real good one because it would be taking off too much stalk. Sanding is an option but sanding can be difficult to keep your tenon surface level and that is why I recommend a file. I got my information from the "FINE WOODWORKING" magazine issue #247 published for June 2015. If you do not own the issue, I'm sure you can see it at your local library. The article is on page 20 and is a short read. They used an expensive $103 Japanese file but I found one with the edge file also for $20 at a local True Value hardware store.

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #7 of 8 Old 11-02-2015, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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Hey Bernie. Thanks again for the reply. Yes, I mentioned in the first post here that I would be using elongated holes for the additional pins. Been doing research on this and came across some great advice right here on the forum on how to set up a breadboard end. I was pretty happy to have a nice snug fit after cutting the tenons. Measure 8 times, cut once, right?

I didn't get back down to the shop to work on this more today (football, baseball, and well... a bit of a hangover from too much fun last night at a Halloween party). So I'm interested in checking out your filing suggestion. The local library is pretty much right around the corner from my house, and I know they have Fine Woodworking. I think I'll stop in tomorrow after work and check that article out. My 8 year old daughter loves any opportunity to check out some new books too, so that's a win with her. Thanks!
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post #8 of 8 Old 11-02-2015, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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I did stop by the library tonight and found the article mentioned, and also sat and read others for an hour. Time flies when you have a stack of Fine Woodworking magazines in front of you. Anyway, yeah, I came home and dug out an old box of files that belonged to my grandpa. They were all pretty rusted, clogged and beat up. I also have an old cheap Harbor Freight one that was bought for a quick fix of something or other in the past. None of them would really be up to the task of precision filing. I'll run the sander for a bit and see how things fit, but will look into picking up a quality file or two soon. I'll still have some fitting to do on the apron and leg joints that they may come in handy for.
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