Best finish for table with breadboard ends

Help Support


29 Apr 2005
Reaction score
I made a table with breadboard ends recently and finished with 3 coats of pre-cat lacquer.

However, as the main part of the table expanded (the wood was very dry!) I have found that where the grain of the breadboard ends is perpendicular to the grain of the main part of the table the lacquer has obviously parted very slightly (can't see it but can feel it).

This has two problems,

1) you can feel the breadboard joint slightly away from the center (not a major issue)
2) water can now seep through the joint and get under the lacquer (major issue)

Does anyone have any experience for the best finish for breadboard ends?

The Restorer

Established Member
11 Nov 2004
Reaction score
Breadboard ends are a finishing problem due to the fact you have opposing grains (they don't tell you that in all the instructions on how to make them!). If it didn't split the finish then it wouldn't be moving, so there'd be no point in going to the trouble of the breadboard end in the first place.
I'd use either an oil or wax finish so that the finish has a chance to seep into the jointed edges and protect those to. With a pre-cat it's a hard finish and if it hadn't split theres quite a danger of it binding the joint together and stopping it moving at all, with much worse consequences such as the top splitting :shock: