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Discover five cross-grain construction strategies to help keep your tabletops and chest lids flat.

Cross-grain construction tends to freak out most beginning woodworkers, but it’s a viable construction method in many cases. Wide tables and chest lids often employ breadboard ends to keep things flat, as well as cover end grain. If it’s done right, expansion and contraction problems can be nearly eliminated.

There are many methods to attach breadboard ends, but only a few actually accomplish the primary goal of keeping things flat. It takes a little understanding, sound joinery practices, proper planning and patience to avoid disaster.

Understanding

Before you jump into to making breadboard ends you need to understand what’s happening and why; that begins with a basic knowledge of wood movement.

Boards expand and contract at a greater rate across their width than they do along the length. How much they expand and contract is more a matter of species and final resting place than anything else.


 

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