Dowel size for breadboard ends, is 1/4” big enough.

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Forum topic by BaltimoreChris posted 03-09-2018 11:41 PM 1873 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 572 days

03-09-2018 11:41 PM

Trying my first breadboard ends. The end board (breadboard end) is about 3.5 inches deep and 5 tenons stick out of the man table about 1 1/8”. Would 1/4” dowels be large enough to secure the breadboard ends or should I use 5/16” dowels?

9 replies so far

View LesB's profile


2152 posts in 3895 days

#1 posted 03-10-2018 12:37 AM

A pair of 1/4” in each Tenon will work, 5/16 better and I would even go 3/8”.

-- Les B, Oregon

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4695 posts in 1041 days

#2 posted 03-10-2018 07:06 AM

You probably don’t need 5 tenons. If you leave a half-inch or so along the full length and make a slot in the breadboard, you should be good with a center tenon and one on each end.

-- My grandfather always said that when one door closes, another one opens. He was a wonderful man, but a lousy cabinet maker

View HammerSmith's profile


301 posts in 536 days

#3 posted 03-10-2018 07:34 AM

A pair of 1/4” in each Tenon will work, 5/16 better and I would even go 3/8”.

- LesB

I agree, 3/8” dowels sound perfect.

-- ~Jim

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12870 posts in 2832 days

#4 posted 03-10-2018 07:37 AM

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3481 posts in 1933 days

#5 posted 03-10-2018 02:07 PM

5/16 min 3/8 better.

  1. depends on width I would go one every 6-8”.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View BaltimoreChris's profile


4 posts in 572 days

#6 posted 03-10-2018 04:00 PM

Thanks. I was worried that 3/8 might be too much since the tenon barely stuck out more than an inch. So I went with 5/16. I have 5 tenons across the width of the table, which is about 42 inches wide. I used one dowel per tenon and glued the entire middle tenon area. Fingers crossed, will need some sanding when done.

View JADobson's profile


1445 posts in 2563 days

#7 posted 03-10-2018 04:04 PM

I used 1/4” on my farmhouse table. They’ve been just fine. I have 4 across a 40” wide top.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View BaltimoreChris's profile


4 posts in 572 days

#8 posted 03-10-2018 04:05 PM

Related to breadboard ends, do I need to do anything special when I apply poly to the table top. I plan to spray a general finishes topcoat (several layers) after I stain the pine top. Does the movement of the main table compared to the breadboard ends cause any issues with the poly topcoat?

View splintergroup's profile (online now)


2779 posts in 1674 days

#9 posted 03-11-2018 02:29 PM

As to the dowel size, 1/4” will give you the required strength so go with what looks good. I think 3/8 is ballpark for typical mortice pins in furniture but smaller will avoid compromising the tenon structure.

The poly will be fine. If you have a thick coat, scoring the joint with a razor blade will keep any crack from flaking off from the table, but even that is unlikely.

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