Floating Breadboard Ends on a Workbench??

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Forum topic by David White posted 08-23-2012 05:19 AM 7551 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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David White

120 posts in 3482 days

08-23-2012 05:19 AM

Topic tags/keywords: workbench breadboard ends humidity

Hi All

I am starting to design a cabinet makers workbench. The top will be 85mm thick (3.5”), laminated from 1500×85 x 50mm boards (that’s roughly 60×3.5×2”). Given that this means that the cross grain direction will now be vertical rather than horizontal, will it be necessary to have floating breadboard ends or can I just glue them across their entire length?

Other relevant information: The primary wood used will be New Zealand Beech – this is a relatively stable hardwood. The breadboard ends will be Jarrah. Where I live (near Auckland) the humidity levels are relatively constant (between 70 to 85%) throughout the year. We’re basically warm and humid in the summer and cool and humid in the winter.

Thanks in advance.



7 replies so far

View lysdexic's profile


5256 posts in 2824 days

#1 posted 08-23-2012 09:36 PM

If your question is do you NEED end caps, then I say no. Remember when you face laminate your boards the cross grain direction will now be vertical. So theoretcially the expansion will be vertical.

Alot of benches are made without endcaps (breadboard) ends. Alot have them. My bench, that is nearing completion, actually has both. It is based on te TWW/Benchcrafted split Roubo plans. The end cap serves an important function for the wagon vise in this case. Otherwise, they are decorative. That said, I prefer the end cap and will probably put an end cap on the back slab. But I am purely superficial and only care about looks.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

View David White's profile

David White

120 posts in 3482 days

#2 posted 08-23-2012 10:06 PM

Hi lysdexic,
Thanks for the comments. My question is not so much about the need for endcaps (which I want) but their attachment. Generally I would not glue a breadboard end accross its entire length in order to allow for wood movement, but in this case I wonder if it would be ok to do that give the grain direction?

To explain things a different way, I want to use endcaps, but I don’t want to bolt them on.


View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3849 days

#3 posted 08-23-2012 11:21 PM

Drawings, photos and comments about my skirted bench design

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3353 days

#4 posted 08-24-2012 01:41 AM

David I get what your saying, if you have the grain of the top running vertically and you attach a flat sawn board on the ends grain also running vertically, your wondering if you can just glue it on without using bolts? Is that right.

If so I think you still need some kind of mechanical fastener because the end grain joint will be weak. I’m using a spline with bolts. (My top is quartersawn red oak), the end caps are flat sawn so the grain is also vertical.

You could just do what Roy Underhill did on his splayed leg Roubo and cut a tongue on the end that matched a groove on the end cap. It would be easier than a full blown breadboard end.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View lysdexic's profile


5256 posts in 2824 days

#5 posted 08-24-2012 01:47 AM

David, sorry I misunderstood you. I’ve always seen end caps attachted with bolts/ screws through oblong holes to allow movement. However, my experience is limited.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2978 days

#6 posted 08-24-2012 11:53 AM

When I build mine, the plan is use a large dovetail the entire length (for strength) on the end and a single bolt in the middle to keep it from sliding – no glue.

This will allow the the wood to move but still keep things together.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2895 days

#7 posted 08-24-2012 01:32 PM

^I’m planning the same as David. Big sliding dovetail. .
But I am purely superficial and only care about looks.
Me too.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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