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Serve up a breadboard end without tricky mortises

breadboard end
Concealing a tabletop's end grain using breadboard ends can be tricky. We show you how to make it work.

Recently, I built an oak dining room table and wanted to use breadboard ends to conceal the tabletop's end grain. However, lacking a mortising jig, I needed a simpler way to create a mortise to accept the tabletop's tenon. The solution I created is a three-layer breadboard end with the sum of the three layers equaling the tabletop's thickness.

To ensure consistency of color and grain, I resawed the three layers from a single thick board and planed them to the thicknesses shown. (For a 1"-thick tabletop, for example, plane the top and bottom thicknesses to 1/4" and the center board to 1/2".) The notched center layer fits around the tabletop tenon with 1/16" clearance on both ends to allow for grain expansion across the width. I laminated the layers together, slid the breadboard end over the tenon, and attached it. A screw or dowel driven from below through the center of the tenon does the trick.

-- Alex Nadler, Swansea, Ill.

breadboard end
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