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Breadboard ends, recommendations needed

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Forum topic by Michigander posted 12-03-2014 08:16 PM 1389 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Michigander

214 posts in 1887 days


12-03-2014 08:16 PM

Topic tags/keywords: breadboard table top recommendations method

I am planning to make a table for my son and his new wife as a wedding present. The top will be 42” wide X 60” long, made with 2” thick stock. They like breadboard ends and I agree the table needs them to look more finished. Unfortunately I have never done them so need recommendations on the method and style of breadboards to make. I don’t have a Festool Domino tool, just the basics; table saw, router table, band saw and some hand tools (no drill press). How would you recommend I proceed with this considering I do not want to buy a bunch of new tools to do the job. Small expenditures under $100.00 would be considered.
Thanks for your input.
John


10 replies so far

View bobro's profile

bobro

308 posts in 778 days


#1 posted 12-03-2014 08:45 PM

You certainly don’t need a Festool Domino to make breadboard ends! In fact, I don’t see how the Domino would be appropriate for breadboard ends at all.

A breadboard end is a very simple and practical thing.

Let’s see if there’s an image on the internet that shows just how simple it really is…

http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?116387-Attaching-breadboard-ends-to-a-table-top-with-biscuits

the simple image there. You can make fancier versions if you want, but they’re all variations on the same simple construction.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

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Michigander

214 posts in 1887 days


#2 posted 12-03-2014 08:53 PM

Bobro, Thanks, I understand what a breadboard end is but how do you make a tenon on a 60” long table top and a mortise when I don’t have a mortise machine? It may be simple to look at but it doesn’t look too simple to make.
John

View RRBOU's profile

RRBOU

136 posts in 1760 days


#3 posted 12-03-2014 08:56 PM

A router will be your best friend.

-- If guns cause crime all of mine are defective Randy

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bobro

308 posts in 778 days


#4 posted 12-03-2014 09:43 PM

Oh- you can do it by hand, or with a router, or a combination. Two (nearly) 42” long mortises and tenons, accurate ones, is work of course.

If you do the common kind where you can see the sides of the tenons in the breadboard, you can use your router table to cut the mortise. I wouldn’t try to hog out the whole thing in one pass, but in a number of increasingly deeper (into the wood) passes.

If you want the closed-sides version, that’s a little harder. Well, except for being easier because it hides slop better. But you can use the router for that as well. What I’d do is gang a bunch of pieces of scrap the depth of the breadboard and sandwich the breadboard pieces in there, and in effect plunge-route two channels pretty much like you’d be routing stopped dadoes (these are the mortises of course) in one big board, because a big flat register is good for a router and monkeying with narrow pieces is a pain.

I’m sure guys who love routers will suggest half a dozen other ways to route your mortise. My dad for example rigs up jigs which are in effect like those old type-setting boxes, but with a fence the thickness of the stock on a screw coming from the side. That way he can use the router on small, thin, narrow etc. stock, and it’s held securely as well as being effectively turned into one big board with a register for the router all the way around.
I had him route some stuff for me a couple of months ago- he just turned 81 and is faster than I am to this day, hahaha!

I’m not qualified to suggest how to do the closed-end mortise with a router table rather than a plunge router because I’ve used a plunge router since I was teenager but have never doing anything except for some decorative edge work on router table or shaper. The mortise with open sides is simple, of course.

And a hand router to cut the tenon. Personally I would not route out the whole of the tenon, cheeks and all, but simply strap a board as a fence square across the top and make a single pass to the shoulder (to the length) of the the tenon, flip over and repeat, then chop the rest by hand. You can hardly go wrong with that stark clean kerf at the shoulder.

Finish with specialty plane if you have one. Good excuse to buy one, heheh.

Hope this is helpful, and my apologies in advance if it’s either too simplistic or too obscure, it’s hard to gauge on the internet. Also, maybe people prefer to hear one specific answer, but I don’t find that that is in keeping with “real life”, where people have different tools and preferred ways of working: “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4859 posts in 2281 days


#5 posted 12-03-2014 10:37 PM

Here is my process using a handheld router and shop made jig…
http://lumberjocks.com/pintodeluxe/blog/31777

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

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1061 posts in 1999 days


#6 posted 12-04-2014 03:56 AM

If you can support a 60” long piece, you can use your tablesaw (with dado blade, preferably) to cut the tongue.

A closed end mortise can easily be cut on the router table. You will need to do stopped passes, but the starting and ending points can be a bit “fuzzy” as you want some extra room on the ends anyways.

I did big tenons and breadboard ends on my workbench. For the tongues, I roughed them out with a circular saw and then used a router with a couple of different mount plates to finalize them. For the mortises, I used another router jig – a double-sided edge guide.

Both parts were pretty straightforward, using jigs that have many uses.

My workbench blog here

In particular for the tongue, part 7 for the circular saw roughing and part 10 for truing it up.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

1102 posts in 1513 days


#7 posted 12-04-2014 02:43 PM



Here is my process using a handheld router and shop made jig…
http://lumberjocks.com/pintodeluxe/blog/31777

- pintodeluxe

Jordan Crawford used the same technique when he built a workbench with an big tenon for the end-cap. You can watch that part of workbench build from his Roubo workbench series.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jw0aI0oA8No

-- paxorion

View Yonak's profile

Yonak

979 posts in 989 days


#8 posted 12-04-2014 06:36 PM

The responses to this thread make me wonder : What’s the difference between a mortise and tenon joint and a tongue and groove joint ? ..And when making a blind mortise and tenon, why do you have to square out the ends, such as after using a router or table saw to cut the dado (mortise) ?

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1061 posts in 1999 days


#9 posted 12-05-2014 06:27 AM

Yonak,

A mortise has four sides whereas a groove has two. Unless you are talking about a stopped groove. In which case, not much difference.

I think the difference in terminology mostly relates to the context of the joinery as opposed to the technique to achieve it.

To answer the second part of your question – ideally all four sides of the mortise touch all four sides of the tenon. (Unless you are doing something like a breadboard end in which case you need room for wood expansion.) It seems to be easier to square up a rounded mortise than it is to round over a square tenon. But both approaches work.

Consider that traditionally, tenons were cut with hand saws and mortises were chopped out with chisels so squared up was the only way. That tradition informs power tool joinery.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

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Yonak

979 posts in 989 days


#10 posted 12-05-2014 03:35 PM

Thank you for your response, Mark. My issue came with the talk of mortises going all the way across the board (which, to me, is a dado) and previous references to blind tongue and groove joinery (which, technically, is mortise and tenon although, traditionally, a tenon is thought to be fairly short and not elongated).

It occurred to me that the excess terminology, seeing as the same joint has two names, could be confusing to some unindoctrinated woodworkers, and I thought I would just point that out for the sake of clarity.

Regarding your opinion that squaring a mortise is easier than rounding off a tenon, my opinion is the reverse, but diversity is what makes the world go ‘round, right ? For that matter, especially for a long tenon, it could be made short, so as to avoid the rounded part of the mortise, as it’s hidden anyway, plus it leaves room for movement, and no hand work would be required.

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