George Vondriska

How to Glue Breadboard Ends

George Vondriska
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Breadboard ends are attractive, and functional. They cover the end grain of a panel and, because they’re applied long grain to cross grain, they help the panel remain flat. However, the long grain to cross grain connection can create a problem, if the ends aren’t properly applied.

Seasonal changes

Even after a tree has been cut down, converted to lumber, and the material dried, wood continues to be a living thing. As temperature and humidity change throughout the year, solid wood panels will expand and contract. The wider the panel, the more movement it’s likely to experience. There’s no stopping this. The panel must be allowed to go through its seasonal changes, or it can crack.

Breadboard end techniques

Breadboard ends are typically joined to the panel by a tongue and groove joint. When it comes to cracking the joint isn’t the problem. Cracking happens if the ends aren’t properly glued to the panel. It’s all about judicious use of the glue, and knowing how to glue wood together.

Where they’re used

The traditional use of breadboard ends is on cutting boards. But many woodworking projects can take advantage of what the ends offer, including table tops and box lids.

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5 Responses to “How to Glue Breadboard Ends”

  1. SHAUN

    Hi. I have a coffee table that has these ends with what appears tongue/groove joins. Problem is the ends are separating and I need to pull it apart to redo them. How can I remove the ends without damage? Thanks

  2. Ernie Z.

    If you were to use dowel 'pins' instead of glue, would you be better off pinning in the middle like the glue shown, in about a 1/3 area, or could you pin the ends using oblong holes in the table top to account for the movement?

  3. Benjamin

    Does this apply to plywood as well? As if you were to apply a solid wood onto the end grain side of the ply for a shelf?

  4. Jacob

    If you are doing breadboard ends on a project that will only be viewed from one side, say perhaps a sofa table or hall table that you never see the back side of the top with any regularity, could you glue instead the front 1/3 or so so that you dont get the misalignment of the front breadboard and field on a regular basis? Or would that lead to cracking, and/or misalignment still?

  5. kervin kappelmann

    If you apply finish to both sides of the panel will it still expand & contract & possibly crack.

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