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Have you ever fully glued on a breadboard without any sort of cracking / failure?

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Forum topic by Jimothy posted 10-28-2021 03:58 AM 1080 views 2 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jimothy

85 posts in 2226 days


10-28-2021 03:58 AM

Topic tags/keywords: table breadboard glue joint failure

So I understand the whole point of allowing wood movement in your projects, and why it’s suggested that you do a certain type of joinery with minimal glue when attaching them to tabletop ends… My question is for the longtime woodworkers:

Have you ever simply glued on breadboard ends as a simple glue joint and not have it fail or mess up in some way such as cracking or coming apart? I’m wondering how much it really stops the tabletop from moving freely enough.


16 replies so far

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SMP

4966 posts in 1192 days


#1 posted 10-28-2021 04:21 AM

Never glued on a breadboard,but before I knew about wood movement, I made a coffee table. I glued up a bunch of 3/4 red oak boards from Home Depot. I didn’t like how thin the top looked, so i went back and bought some 1×2 red oak boards, and glued and nailed those all around the edge of the top. Well, it looked great for half the year and the other half the edge wrap would be off quite a bit. When people asked why it was like that I told them it’s because it’s real wood.

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therealSteveN

9242 posts in 1861 days


#2 posted 10-28-2021 04:27 AM

This will be fun to watch. My advice is just go ahead and do it.

-- Think safe, be safe

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bruc101

1542 posts in 4828 days


#3 posted 10-28-2021 04:56 AM

I made two Shaker style end tables in a hurry about 20 years ago. Painted bases with cherry tops. I glued the bread boards ends on. My wife uses them in her home office. One for a printer and the other with flowers on it.

They look just as good as the day I made them.

A few years later I made her a farm table for her desk, painted base with a cherry top. I mortised and tenoned the breadboard ends on the top. That sucker moves like one of our daughters shuffle dancing. So maybe it’s just a toss up doing it either way.

I’ve seen antique tables where the breadboards were screwed on with the screws hidden. I think in the book David Smith Workshops he does them with the screws on some pieces. I may try that soon and see how it works.

-- Bruce Free Plans & Calculators https://traditionalwoodworking.org

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jdh122

1269 posts in 4104 days


#4 posted 10-28-2021 11:45 AM

You may get away with it on a small table, depending on the climate where you live and whether you keep the windows closed all summer. And wood species matters – quarter-sawn eastern white pine or douglas fir are insanely stable. But even for a small table I wouldn’t try it in the humid summer, dry winter east-coast climate I live in.
And I wouldn’t do it in any climate on a dining table sized piece. PVA glue does have a bit of flex to it, but not nearly enough, and the force exerted by wood expansion is huge, far greater than wood’s resistance to splitting/cracking.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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SMP

4966 posts in 1192 days


#5 posted 10-28-2021 12:25 PM

I ve seen antique tables where the breadboards were screwed on with the screws hidden. I think in the book David Smith Workshops he does them with the screws on some pieces. I may try that soon and see how it works.

- bruc101

When I went to the Gamble house the tour guide was showing us all of the actual Greene and Greene furniture. The breadboards were screwed on and had an alternating wood “false tenon” covering the screw. Was actually interesting because it was an impossible tenon, for example a maple table with a ebony tenon. But of course the screws were in oblong holes to plow for movement of the breadboard on a groove, with another alternating wood false spline covering the groove.

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Jimothy

85 posts in 2226 days


#6 posted 10-28-2021 11:37 PM

thanks for the replies. Yeah, I was imagining some of you would give me the “i’ve done it and it’s lasted 20 years!” haha, I’ve found with wood theres always a risk of this or that and it’s hard to account for everything. I’ve done some unconventional things in terms of wood movement rules just for myself such as making a cutting board and gluing on a boarder all around of a contrasting wood (huge no no, right?) and its still holding up. then again it is like 2” thick. I’ve also glued a tabletop onto the apron instead of using fasteners, and that too, is still holding up… for now.

Maybe it really is a longevity thing mixed with luck. The difference between “probably fine” and WILL be fine for decades

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bruc101

1542 posts in 4828 days


#7 posted 10-29-2021 01:02 AM


I ve seen antique tables where the breadboards were screwed on with the screws hidden. I think in the book David Smith Workshops he does them with the screws on some pieces. I may try that soon and see how it works.

- bruc101

When I went to the Gamble house the tour guide was showing us all of the actual Greene and Greene furniture. The breadboards were screwed on and had an alternating wood “false tenon” covering the screw. Was actually interesting because it was an impossible tenon, for example a maple table with a ebony tenon. But of course the screws were in oblong holes to plow for movement of the breadboard on a groove, with another alternating wood false spline covering the groove.

- SMP

I gave that a shot today on a yellow pine top for a farm table going to a new log home. I mortised out the bread board ends for the screws with my dedicated mortiser.

The top has 6 boards glued together and I put the mortises in the middle of each board 2” wide. Made the screw hole wide enough for plenty of movement. Ran some yellow pine through the planer and inserted them into the mortises with some glue and then sawed them flush with the breadboard end.

I rotated the grains in them. Looks interesting. They look like through tenons.

-- Bruce Free Plans & Calculators https://traditionalwoodworking.org

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SMP

4966 posts in 1192 days


#8 posted 10-29-2021 01:09 AM


I ve seen antique tables where the breadboards were screwed on with the screws hidden. I think in the book David Smith Workshops he does them with the screws on some pieces. I may try that soon and see how it works.

- bruc101

When I went to the Gamble house the tour guide was showing us all of the actual Greene and Greene furniture. The breadboards were screwed on and had an alternating wood “false tenon” covering the screw. Was actually interesting because it was an impossible tenon, for example a maple table with a ebony tenon. But of course the screws were in oblong holes to plow for movement of the breadboard on a groove, with another alternating wood false spline covering the groove.

- SMP

I gave that a shot today on a yellow pine top for a farm table going to a new log home. I mortised out the bread board ends for the screws with my dedicated mortiser.

The top has 6 boards glued together and I put the mortises in the middle of each board 2” wide. Made the screw hole wide enough for plenty of movement. Ran some yellow pine through the planer and inserted them into the mortises with some glue and then sawed them flush with the breadboard end.

I rotated the grains in them. Looks interesting. They look like through tenons.

- bruc101

Here is a pic I took of the island in the kitchen, made of maple. Only the “staff” used the kitchen so this wasn’t as fancy as the other stuff in the house but you get the idea:

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sawdust66

27 posts in 35 days


#9 posted 10-30-2021 05:10 PM

That is an interesting question. I’m not a professional, but a hobbyist. But I’ve done both and have never seen either fail. But I will note that in my situation I used biscuits on the breadboard ends, so they weren’t just a glue joint.

This is an example of a true breadboard end:

And here is one that was just biscuits:

-- Chris, Pennsylvania

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Loren

11312 posts in 4934 days


#10 posted 10-30-2021 05:49 PM

I rebuilt one that had been glued on all the way recently. It was very crudely made but the inside part didn’t seem to have cracked due to movement. It was pine.

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Jimothy

85 posts in 2226 days


#11 posted 11-01-2021 09:45 PM



I rebuilt one that had been glued on all the way recently. It was very crudely made but the inside part didn t seem to have cracked due to movement. It was pine.

- Loren

so what happened? the breadboard broke off?

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Loren

11312 posts in 4934 days


#12 posted 11-01-2021 10:56 PM

It was doweled but the joints were crude and filled with a ton of glue. I guess the ends broke in some way because I replaced them but in any case I cut down the middle and reglued it. I don’t remember exactly what was wrong with it besides being poorly made.

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DS

3990 posts in 3707 days


#13 posted 11-01-2021 11:29 PM

I have a beautiful Asian Ming style coffee table in solid Cherrywood, which I made before fully understanding wood movement.
It was glued all the way around.
This would easily have been a $1500 unit.

It lives in my garage to be used for scrap since, due to the wood movement, the top split open about 1/4” wide for about 18” and the finish cracked open along the seam all the way around.

It also serves to remind me to beware of proper joinery. ‘‘Twas an expensive lesson.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS

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bandit571

30069 posts in 3970 days


#14 posted 11-01-2021 11:49 PM

Last spring..I built an Ash Gazebo Table…..and, it has sat outside in the Gazebo until today, when I brought it back inside..

Bread board ends…

Still in very good shape. Details?

Tongue & Groove, glued in place…no screws involved…

Even the drawer, with Pine sides still intact….and works quite well..

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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bondogaposis

6069 posts in 3638 days


#15 posted 11-02-2021 12:50 PM

I have not seen where improperly constructed breadboards have caused a table to crack. However I did see a trestle table that did not allow for movement when it was attached to its base. That one cracked wide open down the middle. If you are going to take the time to make something nice, why take the risk. Wood movement is real.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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