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Breadboard Advice Requested! Would half-lap joint work? :)

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Blog entry by airlyss posted 10-10-2016 01:00 PM 592 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi everyone,

I have been lurking here for a little while but thanks for letting me tap into your collective knowledge with my first post!

I am in the process of building a farm table for my friend – it is 60×36 and will be made out of kiln-dried pine. I’ve planed, cut, and glued up 5 boards for the table top and would like to put on 5-inch breadboards on both ends.

Mortise and Tenon seems to be the way most people attach breadboards, but given my limited tools and experience this intimidates me a bit! I have a Bosch 1617 router that I’ve used on a limited basis, but not many other tools that would be useful.

When I went to Rockler tonight, the salesperson said that although M&T would be ideal, a half-lap joint by just routing out a 3/4” deep, 2.5” groove on both the top of the table and bottom of the breadboard should also be structurally stable. I could then glue/dowel the middle of the half lap.

Just wanted to get some opinions on whether this would be a respectable way to join the breadboard, or any other thoughts/advice!

Thanks in advance for reading!



5 comments so far

View BareFeet's profile

BareFeet

36 posts in 1998 days


#1 posted 10-10-2016 02:48 PM

I bought a farm table (years back) before I was really into woodworking. The guy who made it used the half lap. In the 5 years I’ve owned it, I’ve re-glued the thing about a dozen times (although the half lap on mine is only about 3/4”, not the 2.5” you’re thinking of trying). My advice- either do the hard work of a proper breadboard with your router or else skip it all together and leave the end grain exposed.

Just my two cents. Good luck!

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4859 posts in 2279 days


#2 posted 10-10-2016 03:03 PM

A housed mortise and tenon offers structural support without glue. A half lap does not.

You can use your router with an edge guide to cut the mortise in the breadboard end. Then use a double-sided guide to mill the tenon on the table with the router.
Here’s how… http://lumberjocks.com/pintodeluxe/blog/31777

Otherwise a nice chamfered edge and no breadboard end looks great too.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View airlyss's profile

airlyss

8 posts in 61 days


#3 posted 10-10-2016 03:04 PM

Thanks for talking me out of a bad decision!

I think I will try a tongue/groove – I am planning to rout the tongue with my router, saw guide, and a 3/4” straight bit taking 1/4” passes. Then stand the breadboard up on its side and use the table saw and a dado set to route the groove.

A couple of quick ?s
- does the router and dado sound like the best way to route tongue groove (or is there a better way??)
- are there rules of thumb on the tongue/groove size based on the breadboard width and thickness? Intuitively, it would make sense to make everything 1/3 the width and height. Here is what I’m thinking:

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

829 posts in 688 days


#4 posted 10-10-2016 05:09 PM


A couple of quick ?s
- does the router and dado sound like the best way to route tongue groove (or is there a better way??)
- are there rules of thumb on the tongue/groove size based on the breadboard width and thickness? Intuitively, it would make sense to make everything 1/3 the width and height. Here is what I m thinking:

- airlyss

Your plan for the tongue sounds fine. A router on the table top should have plenty of surface for stability.

For the mortice in the breadboard ends, you could also use a flat tooth rip blade and multiple passes.
In general, a M/T joint uses a tendon of 1/3 the thickness of the parts. I think you could go to 1/2” with no problem.

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

5059 posts in 2613 days


#5 posted 10-11-2016 12:07 AM

I’ve done breadboard ends like this before, and have done them pretty much like you’re thinking of.

And I’ve learned a few things…....!

When routing the spline in the tabletop, use a spiral downcut bit to eliminate tear out on the show side of the tabletop—not a straight bit, which will leave “fuzz.”

You’ll have to plan for expansion/contraction of the tabletop. On a tabletop of this size, you can plan on a heavy 1/16” of movement per side. Meaning that in the Summer, the table top will be wider than the breadboard end by about 1/16” on each side, and be narrower by about the same amount in the Winter.

So your two options are to:

Just live with the look of it, as is.

Or to make the breadboard end wider (longer, actually) than the tabletop will be in the Summer, and then hide the ends of the slot with a spline, ala Greene & Greene.

Once you get the table finished, and in your dining room, you’ll be surprised at how much the tabletop will expand and contract over the year, so it’s best to plan for how you want to handle it, before you build it!

-- Dean

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