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  • Writer's pictureTri City Furniture, Auburn

Tables for a Smaller Space- Part 2

So, Kathy, last week we talked about the size of smaller tables, and adding tables leaves to make a table a bit larger.  And, you mentioned about how hard putting a table leaf in a table can be….so let’s talk a little bit more about table leaves.

 First of all, many People store their leaves under a bed.  Why is that?

If they were given good information when purchasing a table, they were told to always store table leaves flat, such as under a bed or on a shelf in a closet.  Table leaves should not stand on end in a closet as over time, the wood could warp, and then not fit into the table!  Flat storage is the best! And flat means flat, put the table top down on the floor, not the apron or the top could sink in over time with temperature and moisture within the home. 

That is important to know as damage could happen.  Is that because of our Michigan weather?

Yes, many people have tables leaves and might use them just once every couple years so they might not be aware of the wood damage.  In Michigan, we have times of high humidity in the summer and then very dry in the winter, and those extremes can affect the wood!

 Let’s look a minute at how a table opens and closes… there a better system which opens the table top and allows us to insert the leaves?

There are basically 3 systems.  

1.  Table tops open and close with wood glides.  Generally, you need two people, one on each end, to pull a table top open, insert the leaf, and then push closed! I would say this is found more on tables with legs vs a pedestal. You really need to people in this situation. One person to hold the table steady and the other person to pull the table out along the glides. 

2.  There is a variation to the slides, which offer gears.  The gears allow the top to open with one person pulling on one end.  This keeps both sides opening the same distant at the same time!  It is very important when you have a pedestal base and more so found on a pedestal vs a leg table. 

3.  Third would be the self storing leaf referred to as a butterfly leaf.  This table still uses the glides but the leaf is hooked in so once the table top is open, the leaf will lift and open easily! There is an additional seam in the wood top in the center width of the table leaf where it folds into the table. 

That gear system looks like it would be the best to have…why isn’t it used in all table tops?

It all comes down to price!  The straight wood glides are the lowest cost, so it is a way to keep the table Price lower!  If you use the table and leaves a lot, investing in the gear system is well worth it!

Also, gears are usually used with pedestal tables so that they open evenly.  Leg tables do not need the gears because the legs move with the table top!

Why wouldn’t we always want to have the leaves stored inside?  That seems like a great idea as well!

It is, but remember we are looking at smaller tables, which will only have one leaf. Any more than that will not fit!  Some tables will come with 4 leaves, because the glides can be made long, but the table leaves need to have space under the table top.  If we are starting with a smaller top, there just isn’t enough room!

Again thinking about small tables, is there a better option to use table legs as compared to a pedestal ?

  • There can be some width savings if you use a smaller pedestal with a smaller top, but keep in mind that the pedestal is in the center, so you cannot push your chairs in as far. It all comes down to how much space you have for the set.  

  • There is more stability with the leg table, so if a person who uses the table pushes down on the top to help stand up, legs will always be the best! Less shaky and less wear on the table parts and how they connect.

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