Tongue on breadboard instead of tabletop? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-05-2019, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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Tongue on breadboard instead of tabletop?

I certainly don’t know the terminology, and even less what I’m doing. I’m building a table and since I don’t have many fancy tools I’m worried about cupping. I’m also worried about lining everything up doing m&t’s, and I don’t have a lot of room to work in my shop.

All that said, could you put the “tongue” on the breadboard rather than the actual tabletop?
I have a router table and I feel like it would be easier to run some long slits along the tabletop end, and have a smaller piece to work with?

Thank you!
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-05-2019, 12:06 PM
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Traditionally the mortice was chopped out with a chisel to a depth of 2/3 the width of the breadboard. for example if you had a 3" breadboard you would chop the mortice 2" deep. This is more easily done on the breadboard because you are chopping cross grain this way. It would be more difficult to chop a mortice into the end grain of the table, and would be more likely to split the table top. Other than that it seems like it would work, but I think the breadboard would bow or cup with the table top more because there is only 1/3 of the tong inserted keeping the table top from cupping. Does that make sense?
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-05-2019, 02:00 PM
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Basically what you would be doing is narrowing the edge if the table top to 1/3 of its original thickness and there is nothing to prevent either the top or bottom surface from cupping where the top meets the breadboard end, in all trades there are established "Best Practices", if it is not commonly done there is usually a good reason.

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post #4 of 6 Old 01-05-2019, 10:54 PM
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What would happen if you ran the groove on the table top is it would spread apart making for a loose joint. The tennon really needs to be on the top.
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-06-2019, 05:38 PM
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Gary (gmercer_48083) gave you a pretty darn good break down of how these work and what they do generically accross the board with such a traditional joint.

You can do what you are describing...but...its only half the job done. Whether using T&G of a grove and a spline...the table top still has to be able to expand and/or contract. What you have described will not do this. The Bread Board is what keeps the cupping from taking place. Its attachment method must involve some form of tenoning system be it free tenon, fixed tenon, or some other related modality.

Do a search here on the forum as there are some really good and well detail posts done by myself and many other members...

Good Luck!

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post #6 of 6 Old 01-07-2019, 10:12 AM
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I did quite a bit of searching yesterday about this subject yesterday and came to this conclusion. If you made a groove in your (long grain) traditional breadboard, and made this groove from end to end 2" would naturally curl and spread open and fail, due to being drier on the outside of the breadboard. To help prevent it the groove (at 2" depth) should stop before the ends, and in fact should be at a 2" depth intermittently to lessen the curling effect. So if you had a top that is a 30" wide glue up you would need an odd number of 2" deep mortices (say 3 or 5) evenly spaced into the bread board's length. The outer ended mortices should not exit the ends of the prevent the ends of the breadboard from curling. The thickness of the tenons should fit snug into the mortice groove...but provide ample room to expand/contract widthwise within the mortice because the table top WILL move within the mortice as moisture changes. Pining the breadboard to the tenons will keep the breadboard tight to the tabletop and requires elongated holes in the tenons for the pins (because of this movement). Glue is ONLY put into the center mortice, thus allowing the table top to freely expand/contract outward from the center of the table top. The pins are glued ONLY into the breadboard to keep them from falling out.

Other method is to first make a shallow groove...say 3/8" deep first into the breadboard from end to end, then create the mortices as described above. This groove would be the same width as your intended mortice. You would chop your mortice within this groove to a depth of 2" into the breadboard. Then when you make the tenons into the table top, you would use a haunched tenon in order to plug the groove in the breadboard.


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