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We have made a 87" x 40" table our of 1" red oak boards. Each end has an approx. 8" wide breadboard, which of course runs perpendicular to the grain of the 70" long boards that run lengthwise on the table top. We affixed the breadboards by gluing them on the end of the table and gluing and screwing a 1/2" thick by 6" wide piece of oak plywood across the underside of the joint, out to about 6" from the edge of the table on each side.

Our customer's home has been humid for the last few months since delivery. The breadboards have expanded lengthwise about 1/16"-1/18", making them slightly wider than the table right now (which is not a major issue. However, one breadboard has warped a little and come up slightly at the joint near the outside of the table. We have agreed to repair.



I was thinking that we would cut the breadboard off, then cut a 1/4" slot or groove into the edge of the breadboard and a 1/4" deep slot or groove into the edge of the table end, and place a plywood "bisquit" in during the gluing process to help ensure that even if the breadboard moves again, it will not cause the joint to become uneven.

I hope I have not confused anyone.

My question is, does anyone have a recommendation on the best way to join breadboards to the ends of tables so that the joints will remain even across the top of the table even when the wood moves? Does anyone have a better suggestion on how to repair the current problem? Thanks for any help.
 

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Scotty D
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Breadboard ends should not be glued. They should be a mortise and tenon joint that is pegged solid in the center and pegged through elongated holes as you move towards the ends.

You must allow the table top to expand and contract seasonally. :yes:
 

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Old School
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Breadboard ends should not be glued. They should be a mortise and tenon joint that is pegged solid in the center and pegged through elongated holes as you move towards the ends.

You must allow the table top to expand and contract seasonally. :yes:
+1. :yes: Another way of describing it could be a tongue and groove.






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The breadboard ends didn't get longer, the width of the table shrunk. With breadboard ends, you can expect them to be short of the width of the table in humid conditions (summer) and longer when there is less humidity (winter). The most sensible way to attach breadboard ends is to cut a stopped tenon on the table ends, then cut a slot in the breadboard ends to fit the tenon. It can be glued for a small distance in the center but not all the way along it's length. As Mtntrdr said, it's pinned in the center and pinned in elongated holes the rest of the way, usually, drawbored to pull everything tight. This keeps the ends and table in line and allows the table top to move. Biscuits are useless in this application. With such larger than normal ends, you want a fairly deep and thick tenon.

At this point, you could use a stopped spline, (loose tenon) after taking off the ends. Stop it back about 1/2" to 3/4" from each end so the slots don't show. Use a slotting cutter in a hand held router. Cut from both faces to center the slot. I would want as thick a spline as possible, leaving about 3/16" on each face of the table top and breadboard ends and as deep as you can go. Those wide ends are going to be trouble. I would want some slats underneath to help support those wide ends. Normally, breadboard ends are in the 1 1/2" - 2 1/4" range. Wide ends will move across the grain, too, and they can warp or twist.
 

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Old School
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Those wide ends are going to be trouble. I would want some slats underneath to help support those wide ends. Normally, breadboard ends are in the 1 1/2" - 2 1/4" range. Wide ends will move across the grain, too, and they can warp or twist.
Wide ends also offer more leverage to the joint if leaned on.




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Discussion Starter #7
All great helps! We plan to get the table back and to redo the breadboards with the splines/mortise and tenon design suggested. Looks like we learned the hard way on this one. Fortunately, the customer is gracious and does not think the lesser of us. We are a father-son part-time shop that was asked to do a table with breadboards. Our limited know-how just figured gluing the breadboards like we do the long lateral joints. You guys are appreciated. God bless!
 

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The folks have provided you with the reasons for the damage and the solution. You must allow the ability of the joint to freely move.

If you are somewhat a new or inexperienced cabinet maker let me strongly recommend two books that should be in every woodworker's library.

First is Illustrated Cabinetmaking by Bill Hylton. I used to give each student a copy of this when I was teaching woodworking. The second is The Complete Illustrated Guide toFurniture & Cabinet Construction by Any Rae. It's a book published by Fine Woodworking with detailed pictures and instructions for almost all woodworking situations.
 

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Great suggestions by Howard. If you are selling furniture you have a responsibility to your potential clients to know the fundamentals of the material. I would strongly encourage you to both read up on these fundamentals before building another piece.
 
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