Saturday, November 24, 2012

Breadboard End Beginnings

     I'm working on the Star Jasmine table, a speculation piece in progress;  between visits to the eye doctor plus finishing up a commissioned box.  My eyes got pretty funky as a side effect of a medication the doctor prescribed, not taking that anymore but the eyes haven't improved.  The only good thing about that is it could be a valid excuse for mistakes!
     The 16 1/2" width is probably narrow enough to not need a breadboard but I like to use it to conceal the end grain.  Breadboards require multiple steps to make and can get kind of complicated.  The first step is to cut the full length tongue on both ends of the table top.  This one is 1 3/16" long and will be housed in a 1 1/4" slot.  It's tricky sometimes to get the top and bottom edges lined up exactly when using a router but making this sleeve like guide works well.

Router Guide for Cutting Tongue
     What makes it work so well is that after you cut the one side you simply flip the tabletop over without removing it.  As long as the pieces are lined up accurately the sleeve it's fail proof.  Next up was cutting the slot in the end itself.  Here's where I'm glad I have a hollow chisel mortiser, much quieter than a router and much easier than chopping it out by hand.

Ready for the Slot
     This will be a 3/8" slot, the chalked over lines indicate where to go full depth (1 1/4"), the remainder is for the slot tenon which is about 3/8".  To simplify this operation here's the set up I use:

Depth Stop with Block
     I set the depth stop for the full depth which is 1 1/4".  The stub tenon will only be 3/8 so I cut a spacer that's 7/8" long.  It's the piece of Sapele you see there at the left of the picture.  When I get to the part of the breadboard that only needs the stub portion of the tenon you just put the spacer below the depth stop rod and the depth is automatically set -- works like a charm!
     In a way, I feel as if I'm burning the candle at both ends and working to get to the middle.  I haven't planed the tabletop to its finished size and the thickness of the breadboard end pieces are thicker and longer than needed to!  First step was to semi finish off the table top.  For the top surface I'm using a smooth plane.

Smooth Plane for Top 
      On the bottom surface I figured a cabinet scraper would be sufficient.

Stanley #80 Does the Trick

        To see the tongue lay-out on the breadboard end I love this Frog brand green tape, really lets you see the lines to cut to, especially helpful with my current eye problem!

Tongue Lay-Out on Breadboard 

     You probably notice that the breadboard end is longer than the table is wide.  Those chalk marks on it are the approximate length but I intend to cut an ellipse on the table after the ends are attached.  Found out too that having them extend makes it easier to fit, they're like handles to pull it off with.

Coping Saw for Centers

     The outer sections were removed with a dovetail saw then pared flush as needed.  The inner section was removed with a coping saw.  Then began the trial and error phase of individually fitting each of the ends.
Final Fitting
     Using a rabbet block plane is my favorite method of bringing tenons to size.  On the lower right you can see a test block used to  work it a little bit at a time.  The top isn't completely surfaced so I'll need to do that before bringing the breadboard ends to size.  That will be followed up with the drilling and draw boring the three pegs to secure everything together.  Hope I have enough scraps of Ebony to make them.  The plan is to not only use them on the breadboard but also to have pegged mortise and tenons holding the apron together.  I know with the strength of modern adhesives it really isn't required but I think it adds a very nice, yet subtle, decorative element to the piece.

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