Can someone answer this question?

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Forum topic by BRef posted 02-13-2017 07:25 PM 556 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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18 posts in 1252 days

02-13-2017 07:25 PM

I was watching a video of Norm building a Trestle Dining table. And am confused.

At 5:55 in the video he his putting on a breadboard end and elongating the end holes for wood movement. I understand and am familiar with this step.

Later at 7:20 he is attaching cleats to the underside of the table and screwing them down. Why even put on the breadboard end wouldn’t these cleats impede the movement of the wood?

Thanks for those who are more knowledgeable than me.


3 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5797 posts in 3010 days

#1 posted 02-13-2017 07:32 PM

The cleats are okay, as long as the screw holes are oversized to allow for seasonal movement.
Holes near the center of the cleats can be sized accurately, but the outer holes should be oversized or slotted.

The breadboard ends are optional.
Both cleats and breadboard ends help to keep the table flat. Breadboards work to keep the ends flat, and cleats work to keep the middle flat.

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

View Woodknack's profile


12430 posts in 2577 days

#2 posted 02-13-2017 07:53 PM

Good answer.

The cleats are also for attaching the top to the legs, obvious, but something to consider and metal screws will not hold a table flat. They will help but not prevent cupping. Wood movement is hydraulic, very powerful.

-- Rick M,

View Rich's profile


3871 posts in 786 days

#3 posted 02-13-2017 08:30 PM

Interesting — By coincidence, I just opened up my copy of Woodworking Wisdom & Know-How and saw this:

“For centuries, granite has been quarried along the Maine coast. Way back in the woods behind my shop, on a granite outcropping, sit a few leftover slabs 10 in. thick by 2 ft. wide by 12 ft. long. The granite faces show a series of ½-in. holes drilled 12 in. to 18 in. apart. The old-timers would have driven dried wood into these holes, then walked down the row pouring water onto the wood. Eventually, the granite slabs would split apart. When wood cells absorb water, they swell and expand, and not even granite can stop it. So forget about pins, glue, screws, or fancy joinery; wood will move and break apart your work if you don’t follow the rules.”

Excerpt From: Taunton Press. “Woodworking Wisdom & Know-How.” iBooks.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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