Breadboard Ends, are they necessary?

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Forum topic by MarkwithaK posted 10-28-2012 07:53 PM 2097 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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370 posts in 3144 days

10-28-2012 07:53 PM

I’m building a small kitchen table (approx. 3’X4’). I’d really like to use hickory for the table top and I know that I can get S4S lumber locally. I’ve never worked with it and I’m a bit concerned about the notorious hardness and difficulty in milling. To combat this I was hoping to minimize as much dimensioning as I can by using the boards as they come and just cutting to length providing that the edges are sufficient. I’m thinking about using 1X6, but would a narrower width be a better idea? Are breadboard ends recommended? I’ve never done them before and ascetically like them but if they are going to be a pain to mill I’d rather save myself the headache.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

5 replies so far

View RussellAP's profile


3103 posts in 2253 days

#1 posted 10-28-2012 08:06 PM

I’m no pro, but I do see a bit of a problem with using 6” boards in a glue up, they will cup eventually or try to. I’d use 3” if it were me. Do run them through a joiner though, or a no7 hand plane.
As for hickory being hard, try hedge sometime. The tools will work it, so don’t worry, it’s not that hard.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 3144 days

#2 posted 10-28-2012 08:14 PM

Thanks for the heads up, I keep reading about the hardness of this stuff and it makes leery of it….perhaps it’s a bit unfounded.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View MNgary's profile


298 posts in 2383 days

#3 posted 10-29-2012 12:17 AM

Yes, hickory is one of the more hard woods. But don’t let that discourage you. For a kitchen table, that means it will be great for heavy duty use and resist dents and dings very well. Just make certain your tools are sharp and you pre-drill for any screws – two practices you should employ for any wood.

As for breadboard ends to prevent warping, I don’t think hickory is more inclined to warp just because it is hickory instead of some other species. Using boards which, when you look at the ends, have mostly up and down growth rings (parallel to thickness instead of width) is important to minimizing warping. Sometimes, depending on what is available, I buy 10 or 12 inch wide boards and rip them into thirds so I am not using the center portion for my glued up panels. I.e., use only the two outermost pieces for the glued up top.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

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370 posts in 3144 days

#4 posted 10-29-2012 11:30 PM

I stopped in where I usually buy my S4S lumber and their stock of hickory was less then ideal. While I was there I got the notion of using unfinished hardwood flooring. Is this a completely horrible idea? I want something “rustic” so I’m not really looking for perfection.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View derosa's profile


1572 posts in 2802 days

#5 posted 10-30-2012 12:35 AM

Flooring usually won’t work due to the grooves that are cut into the back, the other issue is that most flooring is 3/4” while I wouldn’t tend to make any table top bigger then an end table thinner then an inch. At your dimensions an inch will probably work fine. I also wouldn’t worry too much about warping if you’re milling your own lumber. Just joint it, plane in and let it sit a little to settle, redo and I’ve never had a board move on me. I’ve got two bedroom side table tops that are 15” wide, single board that I dimensioned about 4 months ago and just haven’t gotten back to, neither one has moved out of flat and the shop has gone from 120 to 40 degrees and fluctuated all over the place, with the busted window so has the humidity not that the shop is close to climate controlled.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

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