The Subtlety of the Shakers
Of all the Shaker designs, I think this trestle table is one of the most elegant and useful. One design element I am especially fond of is the breadboard ends. They're the boards that cap the ends of the top of the table.
The breadboard ends have two primary functions: 1) they help keep the top from warping and 2) they hide the less attractive "end grain" of the tabletop boards.
The design of the breadboard ends and the joint that attaches them to the tabletop are fairly complex. More crude examples of breadboard ends are nailed or screwed to the top. The more refined craftsmen - the Shakers among them - took into account the expansion and contraction of the top (as much as 3/8" from summer to winter) by using multiple mortise and tenon joints and pegs that slid slowly in elongated holes. Following the traditional Shaker method, I use mortise and tenon joints and pegs in all of my breadboard ends.
Properly executed, breadboard ends are a beautiful, useful and subtle design element.
See this table in:
Shaker Trestle Dining Table
Subtle, Superb, Totally Shaker
This table looks simple. But look closer. The slight radius on the top of the foot, the double-wedged through-tenon, the breadboard ends. Each of these details has a subtle place in my version of a classic Shaker table.
The curved top of the arched trestle foot lightens the 1 3/4 inch thickness. The double-wedged through-tenon, which holds the stretcher to the post (see the cut-away view on the display table) is a strong, artistic joint. The breadboard ends (see the pictures at the display table) add stability and visual interest.
These details take a lot of extra time, but they're the difference between a pedestrian table and a classic, that will last for generations.
Wood: (1) Cherry
(1) Black Walnut
Dimensions: 84" L x 36" W x 30" H