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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
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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
 

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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".
 

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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.
 

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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) ?
 

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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.
 

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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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