Purplev pointed out something in a comment on my last blog entry for this, and it was something that had occurred to me – however I chose to ignore it on the basis of “I’ve seen other tables built the same way, so mine shouldn’t have any problems…”. Of course, that’s idiotic, and I’m man enough to admit it :) So, I started thinking of potential solutions, and when it hit me it was so obvious I kicked myself for not thinking of it sooner – breadboard ends! I had noticed the glued up panel was already developing a slight cup, so this will both address that issue and the issue of wood expansion during the seasons. The bread board ends will have the mitred corners which will be fit into the legs, and glued. The panel can then expand and contract all it wants, and my table won’t explode – win/win.
So, to get to it: I started by cutting the breadboard end pieces, just over an inch wide each. The tongue will be 1/4” with 3/4” tenons, so this gives me a little over 1/4” of wiggle room. I then re-cut the panel to compensate for this new width, and used my dado blade to cut the 3/4” tongue. on both ends of the panel.
Next, I setup my router with a 1/4” straight bit and cut the 1/4” groove in each breadboard end. I took these over to the drill press and hogged out the mortises (after marking and measuring where all the tenons would be, of course) and squared them up with chisels. Finally, I cut the tenons out of the tongue on the panel using my dovetail and coping saws and fit them up. Here’s the results after a little clean-up for fitting:
I need to go get a dowel, so I haven’t drilled the holes for those yet, but overall I’m happy with how these came out (yet another first-ever attempt). I also need to cut the ends to length now that everything’s cut and fits well. Once the ends are attached for good, I’ll mitre the corners for fitting in the legs, and then do another dry-fit.
-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"