|Things Get Messy & Cluttered|
The table will be about 16" wide and just short of 6' in length. My plan is to have the sides ever so slightly curved for some visual interest. It'll be a very elongated oval. The Sapele I have is 4/4 so to add some weight to it I will laminate a 5/16" thick piece to the edges so I can have a top of about 1 1/4" thick. Here's the experimental piece; glued, clamped, and ready to go.
The next step is to plane a taper on the sides to add that visual interest I want. Arbitrarily I decided to come down from the top an inch and also in an inch from the side. Now that you see this let me explain the reason for making an experimental piece first. The purpose of a bread board end is to conceal the end grain of the wood and also helps keep the table top flat. I don't want to laminate a length of end grain wood all the way across the 16" width of the table, only the edges like in this picture. I need to see how this will all work so the experimental piece is a good way to go about that.
|Bottom Taper Laid Out (Also the Tenon)|
After laying them out the next step was to plane them to the line and level the entire length of the piece. Easy enough on an 8" section, the 6' or so table will be a little more challenging!
|Taper Planed and Checked|
|Lay Out Complete|
|Breadboard Tongue Complete|
Keep in mind that this is a very short, experimental piece. In practice the tongue would not be full width the entire length. Usually only the center 2" or so and the same space at the ends will be 3/4". The remainder could be half of that. The purpose of this joint is to allow the boards that make up the table top free movement with humidity changes. It is pinned or screwed and only glued at the center. This way the boards can expand and contract without splitting apart.
I made a 5/16" dowel out of a piece of Maple and located it in the center of the board. Here I'm setting up the drill press so the dowel will go into the bottom of the breadboard end but not completely through.
|Adjusting Depth for Dowel|
I think it's wise to clamp the breadboard end so that it is tight up against the shoulder of the table top when you drill it. Pretty easy on this experimental piece but when you do an actual table top it calls for some creative clamping. An alternative is to use a hand held drill.
|Drilling Dowel Hole|
Before assembly, the dowel hole needs to be elongated in the tongue to allow for that movement I mentioned earlier. A round file works best for that.
|Elongating the Hole|
To assemble this joint you only apply a small amount of glue to the center of the tongue. With an actual table top you would also have a dowel at both ends. Glue is applied to the dowel but not too much. It is important though to have glue in the bottom hole so the dowel is secure. It's not unheard of to put a coat of wax on the tongue itself just to be sure no glue holds it to the top and prevents that movement. Honestly though, here in the desert seasonal changes are not a huge concern -- things are pretty dry all of the time. It's still important to plan for it in your design process. The dining table I made of Canarywood has seasonal movement. I can tell because the ends of the table and breadboard are only flush about half of the year, the other half the boards shrink across the width and they are no longer flush.
At this point, things are clamped together and we're waiting till morning to see how they look. Again, clamp the pieces together to get the breadboard end tight to the table top. I'm anxious to see how the planing will go as I match the edge profile to the breadboard end. I also want to finish this piece to see if the Maple dowel will compliment the Sapele. I'll probably peg the tenons on the apron to continue that design element. Let you know tomorrow how things work out!