Pecan table with breadboard ends

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Project by W. Stewart posted 01-24-2017 09:41 PM 2472 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this table for my inlaw’s cabin a couple of years ago. Surfaced some gnarly 4/4 pecan boards that were given to my dad after a hurricane came through the Alabama Gulf coast and knocked down hundreds of pecan trees. The final size of the table is ~97×44 inches. I tried to get it wider, but the boards kept getting crooks regardless of how many times I jointed them. Later, I found out that I needed to glue them up pretty soon after surfacing to keep this very thing from happening. Lesson learned!

Used some old pecan lumber milled after hurricane came through Gulf coast / south Alabama around 2000 or 2001. Lots of pecan trees went down.  photo IMG_20141207_122551.jpg

Boards after milling photo photo 4.jpg

My father-in-law and I spent an entire weekend finding the best pieces and surfacing the table top and apron boards.

Made some cauls to help in glue up photo 20150705_215639.jpg

To aid in the glue up, I made some cauls from a banged up 4×4 from some shipping material. Turned out it was quatersawn white oak!

Mortising jig photo 20150803_230735.jpg

My bench top mortiser only had a depth of 5 inches and I needed my breadboard ends to be at least 7”. After much thought and research, I made this jig fro my drill press. Worked great. Just hours of work to get the mortises drilled.

Mortising jig photo 20150802_220459.jpg

Mortising jig photo 20150803_230747.jpg

Breadboard mortises 1st pass photo 20150807_004157.jpg

Breadboard mortises 2nd pass photo 20150807_044054.jpg

Final result was passable.

Mortising legs photo 20150830_145601.jpg

I was able to use the mortiser for table legs my mother-in-law purchased. I’ll make my own next time.

The final result was a very solid table that, I hope, will be around for a long time. It was my 2nd big project and I learned a lot. My dad passed away a few months before I made this table. I used his tools in his workshop to surface the wood before bringing it back to my house. He taught me how to surface lumber and I worked what I consider to be miracles on some of those boards due to his advice.
Installed at cabin photo 20150913_1700462.jpg

Installed at cabin photo 20150913_170213.jpg

Installed at cabin photo IMG_20150830_204758000.jpg

-- Walt, Alabama

11 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3918 days

#1 posted 01-24-2017 09:45 PM

That is a nice looking table, I really like how you showcased the grain on the centre panel.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View MadeinMT's profile


260 posts in 2366 days

#2 posted 01-24-2017 10:57 PM

Beautiful table. Great work. I always wonder when your average person sees breadboard ends if they have any idea how much work goes into them.

-- Ron, Montana

View dannmarks's profile


728 posts in 787 days

#3 posted 01-25-2017 01:46 AM

A lot went into this. A lot of personal feeling, and it will bring you warmth of heart when people have fun around it. Be that a great diner or people playing cards and laughing. It is a wonderful piece sir.

View BB1's profile


1213 posts in 1053 days

#4 posted 01-25-2017 02:24 AM

Really nice!

View XrayJay's profile


257 posts in 2185 days

#5 posted 01-25-2017 01:54 PM

Great Job! Joinery looks nice and the wood has great character.

-- Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might,... because there is no work in the grave...Ecclesiastes 9:10

View W. Stewart's profile

W. Stewart

9 posts in 1167 days

#6 posted 01-25-2017 01:58 PM

Mark: Thanks. Spent a long time thinking about what to do with those two grainy boards. I started out with seven boards because that met the width requirement. However, I couldn’t find a design symmetry I liked because there wasn’t one board of the seven that would look good in the middle. I had three of the darker boards and two lighter boards. One night after a long time just staring at everything, I had the idea to just rip one of the darker boards in half. That solved my symmetry problem since the grainy boards could now occupy the center as the main design element.

Yep. I’m a huge dork! But, that is what happened.

The grainy boards were almost bookmatched, but not quite. That is why they look like that.

-- Walt, Alabama

View W. Stewart's profile

W. Stewart

9 posts in 1167 days

#7 posted 01-25-2017 02:07 PM

@MadeinMT: Thanks for the compliment. This was my first attempt at using breadboard ends in a project. I was beyond disappointed when I figured out I couldn’t use my benchtop mortiser. I made two breadboard prototypes with some pecan scraps to make sure the drill press jigs would work well. By far, the most stressful part of the project was drilling the holes in the end boards that went on the table. I didn’t have any more pecan boards I could use if something went wrong.

-- Walt, Alabama

View W. Stewart's profile

W. Stewart

9 posts in 1167 days

#8 posted 01-25-2017 02:11 PM

@danmarks, @BB1, @XrayJay: Thanks so much for the kind words.

-- Walt, Alabama

View oldrivers's profile


1482 posts in 1772 days

#9 posted 01-25-2017 02:33 PM

Beautiful table. Great work.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2549 days

#10 posted 01-25-2017 03:50 PM

nice table

View tyvekboy's profile


1824 posts in 3219 days

#11 posted 01-30-2017 09:17 PM

Nice table. Definitely an heirloom. Great story behind it.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

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