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Thread: small dining table - legs or pedestal

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    southeast Michigan
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    small dining table - legs or pedestal

    I need to make a new dining table to more realistically fit the space. That space is confined by 2 walls and a kitchen counter top so I am looking at roughly a 48 inch solid (no leaf) square table. Because of the confined area I plan on putting a generous radius on the corners. I'm open on the final thickness but right now thinking of 1 to 1 3/8 inches.

    I have done some research on the pros and cons of legs vs pedestal but those comments were always related to much larger tables. I have made tables and benches in the past always with legs and have not made anything with a pedestal but am not concerned about that challenge if that seems the best way to go.

    So with all the experience on this forum I thought I'd ask for opinions on which way you would go with this design and why. And for those of you that recommend a pedestal could you give me some idea of the span at the floor for this size table.

  2. #2
    On a 48" table you will likely be kicking the pedestal often. On the other hand, it gives you more flexibility in terms of chair placement and perhaps squeezing people in without legs to get in the way.

    If this is a confined area, can folks approach the table from all sides? Or will they have to scoot around a corner to get to one or more sides? Then the lack of legs would favor the pedestal.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  3. #3
    I agree with Paul. For a small space the pedestal design is more user friendly.
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  4. #4
    The footprint of a pedestal will have to be pretty big in order for the table to be stable, especially when someone pushes down hard on it to get up from their chair, or you set something heavy on the edge. A figure I've seen (but don't have firsthand experience with) is 2/3 of the top. So for 48" square table the footprint would be about 32 x 32. The pedestal can be much smaller of course, and just have legs that extend to that footprint, but there is no doubt the legs will kind of be in the way. You can move the footprint in a bit by adding a lot of weight to the base to lower the center of gravity, but I don't know how practical that would be.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  5. #5
    I think a single pedestal design would work well in your scenario.

    There are various sources for sizing/designing pedestal supports, but to me the best way is prove it to yourself by making a mock up. build the center support and temporarily attached legs of varying lengths.

  6. #6
    I am having the same discussion with my daughter on table design for her small home. The dining area (can't call it a room) is more of a transition space from the LR-kitchen. We are using cardboard to mock up several top dimensions. We are having the rounded corner discussion on a rectangular table. She is leaning leg and I am pushing pedestal. I think the leg adjoining the traffic pattern will be a problem. If the leg gets hit often enough over time it is a problem for the foot and the table. If you hit the pedestal, it is only a problem for the foot. I built the C. Schwarz lay-out from the Autumn '06 issue of Woodworking Magazine for my other daughter. There is no low stretcher to bang knees. It is white oak with some mahogany accents. 1 1/8" for the top and 3x7 overall.

  7. #7
    There is a misconception that more surface area = more usable space. A round, pedestal table might allow a lot more flexibility and eating space while saving some floor real estate vis-a-vis a square 48"

  8. #8
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    John, I am facing a similar situation but my wife chooses to have an extension table with an oval shape. We haven't determined if it will have legs or a pedestal.

    I got a private message from Dave Richards. He'd seen your post here and suggested you might look at this image he drew with regards to your question.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/8294157@N08/49409874318/
    Ken

  9. #9
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    Location
    southeast Michigan
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    After giving this project more thought and based on your helpful comments I've decided to go with a pedestal design. Paul, your comment about 2/3 size for the legs sounds about right. But I envision the legs to be on the diagonal, that is, pointing to the corners of the top as in the image link that Ken supplied. Then should the legs be 44 inches (2/3 of the 67 inch diagonal)?

    Now to start looking at a pedestal design. Ken, your friend Dave's sketch looks elegant but it seems like there would be a lot of stress on that small area where the column meets the legs even for a small table like mine. I'm thinking of something at the base more in order of this hall tree I made a few years back.
    tree & Jango.jpg

    Prashun, I appreciate the logic in your comment. This dining area is a 3 sided captive space so saving floor real estate is inconsequential. But a square table versus a round one will give me 495 more square inches to put "stuff".
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
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    My usual rule of thumb for dining tables is that each diner needs 24” of table edge. If you seat people closer than that, their elbows collide. Don’t believe it from me - try it yourself.

    This means that a 48” square table seats four people. You get two side by side on one edge, and two more on the opposite edge. There’s no room on the “ends” - they’re already mostly used up by the four diners on the edges.

    A 48” round table also turns out to seat four diners. Again, mock it up to see. You do get less space in the middle of the table for serving dishes and flower arrangements, but maybe that’s not too important.

    That’s a long way of saying I’m with Prashun on this. Consider the round design. It gives the same seating capacity as the square design, but will likely give you more space to slide around the table in your tight space.

  11. #11
    But I envision the legs to be on the diagonal, that is, pointing to the corners of the top as in the image link that Ken supplied. Then should the legs be 44 inches (2/3 of the 67 inch diagonal)?
    Yes, if you think of the footprint as a 32 x 32 square with sides parallel to the sides of the top, and you have the pedestal in the middle with the legs aligned on the diagonal, then the legs will be about 22 1/2 inches each. Of course they'll be a bit shorter since the column will have some diameter, but you get the idea.

    You might want to plan on some kind of leveler at the end of each leg since you know how maddening it is when a table rocks, and with four legs it will likely rock unless you are lucky enough to have a dead flat floor.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Michigan
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    Dining Table.jpg

    This table had a removable leaf but it looked clunky and felt weak with it in place. We decided to leave it in permanently so I modified the base and glued it all together.

    Top is 42 x 52 and the base is 26 x 36. The points where the feet bear on the floor is more like 22 x 32. It is a very stable and able table Mabel.

    It seats 4 comfortably, 2 at the sides and 2 at the ends and we don't feel the need for more leg room, but we are 5'+6" tall. You might do better with your plan for a bigger top and the pedestal could be a bit trimmer to accommodate longer legs.

    Under the table.jpg

    Oh, this is upside down,,,well I was upside down taking it. The apron is 3 1/2" x 7/8" and it creaks a little. That's because it is not well fastened to the solid wood top to allow for expansion. A tricky issue. To connect the top you can see that I made beams and clips which work perfectly except for some more creaking. I should lubricate those.
    Last edited by Tom Bender; 01-28-2020 at 7:25 AM.

  13. #13
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    Feb 2007
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    southeast Michigan
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    Tom, nice table. And the pedestal looks really beefy. I like your leg design and might borrow it. I also like your beam and clip design to allow for expansion. It does appear that one could simply slide the whole top off though. Maybe a little wax or a product like Slip-it would take care of your creaking. I haven't done any research yet on how a top is normally fastened to a pedestal base but just figured it would normally be done using elongated holes where the fastening screws are. Since my table is not going to be too large I was also thinking about ways to just have the top sit on the pedestal with no fasteners but being captive at the perimeter.

  14. #14
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    Hi John
    Thanks for the compliment but the table is older than I am so I can't take credit for the design, only the refit. The two clips near the center are screwed tight and the ones at the ends can slide.

    I like your idea of not fastening the top but would still fasten at the center and add some clips at the edges so it and be lifted by the top.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, CO
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    288
    Many years ago I bought an unfinished 48" round table top and mounted it on a treadle sewing machine base. That table has been in almost daily use ever since and has never tipped. It seats 4 comfortably, but, as previously mentioned, has little room for serving dishes. Back then, old treadle sewing machines were often found at the curb on trash day.

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