Designing Traditional Breadboard Ends

Holes in the outer tenons are elongated to allow for wood movement.

Tabletop

Breadboard

Gluing Breadboard Ends

Apply glue only to the center 6 in. or so.

Stub tenon restricts cupping.

Q: What's the purpose behind using breadboard ends on a tabletop?

-PAT HOUGHTON, Shreveport, La.

Breadboard

Apply glue only to the center 6 in. or so.

Stub tenon restricts cupping.

A: BREADBOARD ENDS KEEP WIDE TABLE ENDS FLAT while allowing the top to move seasonally. The breadboard is a grooved end cap that is placed over tenons and secured with pins. It is joined to the tabletop with a series of tenons connected by a continuous stub tenon. The longer tenons (usually three or five but always odd in number) offer support when lifting the table by its ends. The short stub tenon helps minimize cupping along the width of the tabletop.

The breadboard is glued only in the center, which allows the top to expand or contract independently from the breadboard. The breadboard is further secured with pegs through the tenons.

The outer peg holes and outer mortises must be elongated to allow for movement. The easiest way to do this is to dry-fit the breadboard to the top and drill for the pegs. Then remove the breadboard and elongate the holes in the tenons with a file before gluing and pegging the breadboard in place.

—Michael Pekovich, Fine Woodworking 5 art director, has been building furniture for 20 years.

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  • Melilot
    How to make breadboard ends?
    8 years ago

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