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If I use quarter sawn boards for the breadboard ends, the battens are stable but weaker.
If I use plain sawn boards, the battens are stronger but are themselves at risk of cupping.

Would one always be recommended over the other?

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  • Your image link is broken, you may want to try that again.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 22 '16 at 18:51
  • 1
    If you are afraid of possible weakness, strengthen it by drilling holes and inserting rods or very narrow dados and some sheet of (ply)wood. Do it from the inside and it will be invisible.
    – LosManos
    Jun 22 '16 at 19:30
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I'd say go with quarter-sawn ideally.

Quarter-sawn wood can be relied upon to be much more stable, but it must be said many a breadboard end has been made from plain-sawn wood that has held up well over time.

Apart from stability there is the potential advantage in the figure on the face of the board, depending on the species you're using naturally.

If I use quarter sawn boards for the breadboard ends, the battens are stable but weaker.

I think you need to examine this, weakER doesn't mean actually weak. Any decently thick quarter-sawn piece is going to be innately strong in most woods, particularly in hardwoods.

To give some illustration that this isn't just a theoretical exercise the potential weakness doesn't seem to have been of concern to the makers of these pieces:

Quarter-sawn breadboard ends

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