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Re: [MedievalSawdust] Sliding dovetails (was dowel joinery use)

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  • Rebekah d'Avignon
    One thing that some woodworkers may not understand (hey, we re ALL still learning) is the term and use of breadboard ends . As usual they are easier to show
    Message 1 of 18 , Jun 1, 2007
      One thing that some woodworkers may not understand (hey, we're ALL still learning) is the term and use of "breadboard ends". As usual they are easier to show than explain, but let me try......
      To join two boards (say 1 x 6s) joined side-by-side (grain parallel instead of in line) dovetail the ends so that you have one pin running the width of each end - that is, stand the boards on end and run your router so that the base rests *on* the endgrain, the bit cuts across the grain. Then take another board, probably a 1 x 2 and rout the tail in the center the entire length of the board. This pair makes a sliding dovetail so that the grain of the 1 x 2 runs perpendicular to that of the 1 x 6s at each end (two 1 x 2s). The dovetails should be tight enough to require LIGHT tapping with a mallet (so they don't fall off), but not so tight as to require pounding. During seasonal expansion the 1 x 6s can expand because the sliding dovetail doesn't force them to a fixed width (like clamps used during gluing). They could also be cut so that the 1 x 2s fit across the underside face of the wider boards (pins cut the length of the 1 x 2s and tails cut across the boards) This type of joint is useful any time you don't want to use fasteners such as bookcases, tables, work benches, chair seats, or entertainment centers. It's a very strong joint and, if cut right, HAS to be 90 degs. Each time they are cut, they will take some tweaking to get them "just right". In the event that you are building a trestle table it is a good method for attaching the trestles to the table top, though I don't recommend repeatedly taking them apart as friction will eventually destroy the joint.
      Then there are "housed sliding dovetails" which is an even stronger joint (and impressive looking) in the event that you are supporting a heavy television or other weight.
      I hope that this was clear. If anyone has any confusion, please ask.

      Gunther von Sachsenhausen <gunther_von_sachsenhausen@...> wrote:
      Excellent point Rebekah, I hadn't considered seasonal expansion. I
      have to remember that wood is dynamic. Being a big fan of Arts &
      Crafts, I'm sold on mortise & tenon. I think I'll give biscuits
      another look. Heck if Norm Abrams uses them, they can't be all bad.
      Thanks for the perspective.

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