Given the below design which really violates the mechanical use for a breadboard, assuming that I were otherwise building a farmhouse table with pocket screws, what would be the appropriate way to mount a functional breadboard end in this scenario?

picture of false breadboard end

  • 2
    It's worth noting that if your pocket holes are relatively oversized compared to the pocket screws, expansion/contraction may not be an issue with this design. Additionally, the screws could also plow into their screw holes to relieve the expansion/contraction without cracking the top, depending how soft the wood is. – grfrazee Jul 21 '15 at 15:05
  • Ana White has quite a few good quick and easy project plans that can be accomplished with a limited tool set, but some of them make me absolutely cringe. She under-designs a lot of pieces, and never accounts for wood movement. – Doresoom Jul 22 '15 at 16:17
  • Hi Peter, is there something missing from the answer below in regards to your question? – grfrazee Jul 28 '15 at 18:21
  • Nope @grfrazee, just got home from surgery and rehab. I accepted the answer. Good response! – Peter Grace Jul 31 '15 at 12:23
  • Great. Hope everything is going well! – grfrazee Jul 31 '15 at 12:57
up vote 12 down vote accepted

I can think of a couple options for mounting a breadboard, which you will have to adapt to suit your tools and skill set:

  • Use biscuits to join the breadboard to the rest of the top (not necessarily the best option since you have a continuous glue line across the width of the top) (source: Popular Woodworking) biscuits

  • Mortise & tenon joints (note the elongated holes for the pegs) (source: AlLadd.com) M&T

  • Dowels and/or screws (also not necessarily the best option as-shown due to expansion/contraction concerns) (source: Popular Woodworking) dowels/screws

  • Sliding dovetail (source: Popular Woodworking) sliding DT

  • Tongue & Groove with (optional) dowels (thanks @TX Turner) (source: Reddit). For this one, the tongue can also extend to the end of the breadboard, similar to the sliding dovetail example above. T&G

As you probably know, when you make the joint, you want to keep the width-wise expansion of the top in mind so that the breadboard ends don't crack the top. This usually means you positively-attach the breadboards in the middle (with glue or fasteners) and allow the ends to float.

  • Also a tongue and groove, with optional pegs (and oval slots on the ends of the tongue.) – TX Turner Jul 21 '15 at 14:29
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    "This usually means you positively-attach the breadboards in the middle ... and allow the ends to float." The mortise and tenon example shows pegs at the edges instead of the middle. If I'm understanding you correctly, this would be an example of what not to do, right? – Charlie Kilian Jul 21 '15 at 14:54
  • @Charlie Kilian, If you'll notice, the M&T example has slightly elongated holes where the pegs go, which will allow for expansion/contraction of the top. I suspect the pegs are square on the top and become rounded where they enter the tenon, but it's hard to tell from the picture. Personally, I would also have added a peg in the middle, but the above joint may be an aesthetic design choice to just have the two. – grfrazee Jul 21 '15 at 15:03
  • Ahh, that makes sense. Thanks for the clarification. – Charlie Kilian Jul 21 '15 at 15:04
  • I just watched a Woodwright Shop episode where he used tongue and groove with large tenons. – Matt Jul 23 '15 at 1:06

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