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Thread: Attaching legs to a table

  1. #1

    Attaching legs to a table

    I'm making a dining room table by gluing alternating strips of ash and lyptus in a butcher block style. The size of the tabletop will be about 29"W x 43"L x 1" thick. The top will probably be relatively heavy given the wood used.

    Because this table will be used with bench seating, I wanted to avoid a traditional four-leg table to allow more legroom underneath for people to slide in and out. So I was going to make two pedestal-type legs using three 1x3's glued together to form 3x3's. Both legs would have an attached foot in the shape of a "+" sign - two crossed boards with a lap joint. The boards in the feet would be about 10-12" apiece. Finally, for stability, I was going to run a board about 8" off the ground connecting the legs to each other with M&T joints.

    But looking at some pictures on Sawmill of others' projects, I now think that the two 3x3 pedestal legs are too spindly and may not support the table. So my questions are these:

    1) Will my plan of two 3x3 legs, the "+" shaped feet, and the crosspiece be strong enough to support the table and the lateral movement it will inevitably face when the table is sled across the floor? Will the "+" shaped feet (maybe 12" per each of the two boards in the "+") and the crossing piece connecting the legs be sturdy enough?

    2) Regardless of strength, is 3x3 too "spindly-looking" for a table of this size? Do I need bigger legs, or maybe I should go with two pairs of pedestals - one on each side?

    3) Finally, what is a good system to attach table legs to the underside of the tabletop? Even if I decide to go bigger than 3x3, or use more than two pedestal legs, I will likely stick with square-profile legs. I was going to do vertical dowels, but read a recent thread here where a lot of folks don't like dowels.

    Thanks! I will post pictures in the event the table actually stands up.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    831
    [QUOTE=FredGMeyer]But looking at some pictures on Sawmill of others' projects, I now think that the two 3x3 pedestal legs are too spindly and may not support the table. [\QUOTE]

    At only 43" long, you're making quite a small table, at least in my thinking that is rather small for a kitchen or dining table.

    I've seen and made trestle bases with similar legs...though more like 2x5 rather than 3x3. For a 43 inch table, you really only need a single pedestal, if you want a pedestal table.....but it sounds like you're making a double pedestal/trestle hybrid table.

    Picture is worth a thousand words.....
    Tim


    on the neverending quest for wood.....

  3. #3
    Tim - thanks for the reply. Yes, the table is pretty small by most standards, but it's about as big as I can get away with in the small dining area space I have. That's the main reason for also going with bench seating - maximizing the space.

    I probably framed the question the wrong way. It's not so much about the strength of the legs because a properly engineered 3x3 can hold a lot of weight.

    The real issues are probably aesthetics and stability. Will a pair of 3x3's appear too skinny for the table? Will the feet provide enough stability? And, what's the best way to attach the legs to the underside of the table. I've done traditional 4-leg tables with aprons, but I've never really seen the underside of a pedestal table.

    I'll look around at the trestle bases you mention and see what I find. If I get too concerned about the legs looking too skinny, I can always cut some more wood and make something bigger. I would welcome any suggestions on the attachment to the tabletop.

  4. Fred,

    Check this post. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=10578

    I made this table last year for my daughter and it is very stable. The top was around 34" x 52". The pedestal is a leg from an old oak table that belonged to my grandfather. It is 5" diameter at the widest part.

    IMHO a single pedestal would look better than a two pedestal table for the size that you are making.
    Tipp City, Ohio

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    New Orleans LA
    Posts
    1,335

    Fastening Legs to table top

    When I made a dining table a about 3 years ago, I turned a 2 1/2 in. tenon on the top of the pedestal and fit it into a hole (mortise) in two blocks of 3/4" baltic birch plywood which were screwd and glued together to make a 1 1/2" thick block. I then used hanger bolts (wood threads one end - machine threads the other) in elongated holes. I think you can see this in pictures at www.eyman.org/table

    There is a picture of the table upside down that shows the fastening pretty well.
    18th century nut --- Carl

  6. #6

    Thanks!

    Thank you guys for the replies and personal messages. I think I've got enough to get things rolling. I'll post some final project pictures or maybe even some progress pictures if I need additional advice.

    Thanks again,

    John

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