Help / advice with breadboard ends.

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Ed Fasano

Ed
Senior User
I’m well along with a maple husky farm/harvest table with turned legs. It’s now time to tackle the breadboard ends for the top. Fearing a catastrophic mistake at this stage, I’m unsettled with the most accurate and safest means of routing the tenons on the ends of the 38” x 60” x 1” thick top. I’m torn between guiding the router with a straight edge clamped (as parallel as possible to the ends) and using a router-attached edge guide, using the ends themselves as the reference. I plan to make one very thin initial scoring cut to better ensure a clean edge between the top and the breadboards, following up with the deeper cuts, resulting in a 3/8”+ tenon to which the stopped breadboard mortises can be cut—leaving some tenon thickness for fine tuning.

I’ll be grateful for any thoughts or advice. Again, I’m most concerned about getting the top’s tenon shoulders straight, square and clean. I can’t bear the thought of screwingup the top (now).

Thanks and sorry for the long post.

Ed
 

Bill Clemmons

Bill
Corporate Member
Ed, here are a couple of pics of how I did the breadborad end on a table I made last year. As you can see, I used a straight edge clamped to the top to guide the router, then cleaned it up w/ a skewed rabbet plane. There are more pics in this album if you want to look at them.

Bill


271.JPG
281.JPG
 

Ed Fasano

Ed
Senior User
Bill, thanks for the speedy response. Did you have any trouble getting the shoulders to align well with each other on both sides? That's probably what's worrying me most about using a clamped guide.
 

Bill Clemmons

Bill
Corporate Member
No problem w/ alignment. First, make sure your end is cut perfectly square to the top. Second, don't measure in from the ends to set your guide: use something like a combination square to set your fence in place. That way you know both ends are exactly the same distance from the edge.

As you can see from the first photo, I started my cuts from the outside edge and worked my way into the fence. That way you have some surface for the router to rest on as you move in. If you want to make a "scoring cut" to reduce chip out, I would do so w/ a sharp knife and a straight edge.

HTH

Bill
 

Jeff

New User
Jeff
Ed, sounds like your off and running after the excellent advice from Bill. :thumbs_up

After the fact, but there's a nifty shop made jig for doing this which ensures that the top and bottom shoulders are perfectly aligned. Basically, it's 2 pieces of 3/4" thick plywood separated by a couple of cutoffs from the table top; in your case 1" thick. This collar slides over the end of the table top to the offset line for your router and bit. Then route one side, flip the top, and route the other side. I wish that I'd known about this when I did my first couple of breadboard ends. I experienced the same anxieties that you've been through.

Like this.

Breadboard_jig.jpg


If you have member access to Fine Woodworking there's an excellent video by Anissa Kapsales titled "Build a Jig for Breadboard Ends" that demonstrates the method.

As always you're required to post pics to verify that it really happened! ;)
 

Ed Fasano

Ed
Senior User
Jeff, Thank you. This is one of those ideas that makes one wonder why they didn't think of it themselves. This looks like the way to go next time (or if the top's present shoulders fail beyond adjustment). It's great to have a back-up plan, even if the top gets a little shorter in the process.
 

Cato

New User
Bob
Ed thanks for the timely post and to Bill and Jeff for their input.

I am in the process of building Gregory Paolini's Arts and Crafts coffee table, following his videos on Fine Woodworking web site, and will soon be getting to the same anxiety level when I get to the table top breadboard ends.

He also shows that same jig for routing the table top.
 

Tarhead

Mark
Corporate Member
I want to use this design on my next top. It allows the table top to swell and shrink. The ends are left a little proud when it's made by about 1/16". Don't know where this came from but it reminds me of a Greene & Greene style joint:

breadboard_endcap.jpg
[/IMG]
 

Jeff

New User
Jeff
Neat! It's a reminder that the wood lives and breathes with changes in humidity. I did a similar thing inadvertently on two table tops that were 42" wide, but the original breadboards were trimmed flush with the table top edges after assembly. The first was SPF from a BORG (probably had a higher % MC initially) and the second was reclaimed longleaf pine (kiln dried to crystallize the resins, it was 6% MC maximum upon arrival). The SPF table top shrank about 1/4" on each side leaving the breadboard ends proud of the edge. The reclaimed pine table top expanded about 1/16" at each end which left the top proud of the breadboards. :eek:



I want to use this design on my next top. It allows the table top to swell and shrink. The ends are left a little proud when it's made by about 1/16". Don't know where this came from but it reminds me of a Greene & Greene style joint:

breadboard_endcap.jpg
[/IMG]
 
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