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Practice a centuries-old technique on this small contemporary piece.
F.On everything from fine 18th-century highboys to beefy Arts & Crafts tables, breadboard ends are a beautiful and tried and tested way to keep wood panels from warping over time. Done correctly, the ends of the breadboard not only keep the panels flat, but also allow them to expand and contract with seasonal (or other) changes in humidity.
The key to the success of the breadboard ends are the pins that join the tab of the panel to the groove on the final piece. For this application, the center pin is fixed in both the panel and the end, but the outer pins are installed in elongated holes that allow the panel to move freely as the humidity changes. But other ends of the breadboard, such as those found on a drop-front desk, for example, have fixed pins on one end to force expansion and contraction on the unhinged edge.
Cutting board with cutting board ends the cutting list
Item No. Dimensions (inches) Material
❏ 1 central panel 2 x 12 x 16 Hickory
❏2 End for cutting board 2 x 2 x 12 Walnut
❏ 6 pin 1⁄4 dia. 1 1⁄4 Hard wood dowel
This small cutting board is a great project to start on with the ends of the breadboard and features a modern look with the use of contrasting woods.PWM
1) Coarsely chop the broth. Start by cutting lengths of 8/4 (2 ″ thick) hickory stock to a length of 18 ″. Cut enough pieces to create a 12 ″ wide cutting board when glued edge to edge.
2) Glue the panel. Spread a thin layer of glue (preferably Titebond III or another waterproof glue) over all mating edges and pin them together to create a single full-width panel. Try to line up at least one side to create a flat surface.
3) Thickness of the stock. Run the board through the thickness planer, flatter side down, until the top is flat. Then turn the board over and flatten the other side as well. The exact overall thickness is less important than making sure the entire panel is of uniform thickness.
4) Prepare the ends of the breadboard. Plan the stock you intend to use for the ends of the breadboard to the same thickness as the center panel.
5) Place everything. At the table saw, use a gauge to square off the two ends of the center panel.
6) Cut the tongue. Position the guide 1 “from the blade (including the blade width) and raise the blade 3⁄8”. Make multiple passes with a single blade to pick up debris at the ends of the stock, with the last pass guided by the angle gauge but flush against the fence. Since you are removing the same amount from each face of the panel, the tongue is perfectly centered.
7) Raise the blade. With the saw off, raise the blade until its height matches the length of the tongue.
8) Cut the groove. On the butt you are using for the ends of the breadboard, take multiple passes to pick up the litter to accommodate the tongue. Make sure you flip the butt and make passes with each face against the fence so that the tongue is centered. Aim for a snug fit but that goes with just hand pressure.
9) Cut the ends of the breadboard. Mark the width of the center panel directly on the stock you are using for the ends of the breadboard. Use the table saw and miter gauge to cut it to size.
10) Tear it off to the width. Now that all the joinery has been cut, remove the excess width on the ends of the breadboard by tearing them off with the table saw.
11) Prepare for the pegs. Set the ends of the breadboard in place on the panel and drill three 1⁄4 ″ holes on each end. The holes should go through both sides of the end of the breadboard and the tab on the panel.
12) Let the wood move. The central holes on each tongue must be practiced straight and true. But use a hand drill to ream (left to right) the outer four holes. These slightly wider holes will allow the pegs to stay in the same spot on the ends of the breadboard as the main panel expands and contracts.
13) Paste it. To allow for the inevitable movement of the wood, glue only the center 3 “of the panel to the ends of the breadboard. The outer pegs will keep the ends flush against the shoulder of the panel even if the panel changes with humidity.
14) Install the pegs. Firmly clamp the ends of the breadboard to the panel. Use a mallet or hammer to drive short 1⁄4 ″ lengths of dowel through the ends of the breadboard and tongue. Round off the front edge of the pegs so they are easier to snap into place. On the center dowels only, add a drop of glue before sinking the pegs.
15) Clean it. Use a wire saw to cut the ends of the pegs. If they aren’t flush enough with the ends of the breadboard, use a sharp chisel to clean the cuts.
16) Cut the chamfer. Tilt the table saw blade about 45 °. Then smooth the bottom edges of the breadboard ends using a miter gauge to guide the cut.
17) Seal any imperfections. Use an epoxy-soaked pencil to drip the epoxy into all nodes so bacteria don’t build up in the crevices.
18) Make it shine. Use a lint-free cotton rag to clean the finish of your choice. This table has been finished with mineral oil and wax.
19) Give it a ride. Screwing the rubber feet into the bottom of the cutting board in all four corners not only lifts the cutting board off the counter, but also offers a slight grip so it is less likely to wiggle when in use.
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