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Thread: Is there a ratio between length and width for sofa tables for them to be stable?

  1. #1
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    Is there a ratio between length and width for sofa tables for them to be stable?

    not building a sofa table, but this was the best description I could come up for this. We have a short birdbath in the yard mixed in with hostas. They are growing over the height of the birdbath. I have it sitting on some rectangular pavers, but have some leftover cypress and was going to build a little table I can sit on the leveled pavers and then sit this bird bath on. I don't want to make it so narrow vs length that it easily tips over. Really only need 18" or 24" in length and maybe same in overall height, but didn't want to make it so narrow that it was unstable side to side. Thanks for any input. Brian
    Brian

  2. #2
    There's not a safe ratio. For optimum stability, you want to calculate the center of gravity and make sure it's close to center, length to width wise, and below the mid point of the height. Length to wide ratios alone won't do you any good without knowing height, as really short table can be very stable even at extremes. And a 1:1 ratio table, which theoretically would be the most stable, might become unstable if it's high enough, or it's center of gravity is on an edge. And of course, the stability and rigidity of the design also plays a big part.

    However, most woodworkers just avoid the math and opt not to push their luck. Or make a scale model and test it out first. In your case, I would try to make the bottom as heavy as possible, so all of the weight isn't concentrated in the birdbath up top. And then try to push it to as close to 1:1, length to width, as you can and still make it aesthetically pleasing and functional. I'm not saying it has to even be close to 1:1. I'm just saying try not to push your luck if you don't have to.

  3. #3
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    Like Jimmy said, it's the weight on top and the height that matters. Splayed legs might help if possible.
    < insert spurious quote here >

  4. #4
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    Height is only 12" for the table build height. Bird bath is 16" long x 10" wide by 9" high made from cast concrete. Think I'll just make the table 17" square to be on the safe side. Thanks men. Brian
    Brian

  5. #5
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    Here's a picture of the little bird bath that will sit on the table pictured. Much nicer than the cinder blocks. Will sit @ 4" higher. Thanks. Brian

    20240527_085804.jpgbird bath table.jpg
    Last edited by Brian Runau; 05-27-2024 at 5:08 PM.
    Brian

  6. #6
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    You might want to rethink using a wooden table vs a concrete support nestled in with the Hostas. Sounds like a recipe for wood rot rather quickly as the wood will be constantly wet with little air movement to dry it out.

  7. #7
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    Very nice, but were I a cat I'd lurk under the Hostas, and now under the table.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Garson View Post
    You might want to rethink using a wooden table vs a concrete support nestled in with the Hostas. Sounds like a recipe for wood rot rather quickly as the wood will be constantly wet with little air movement to dry it out.
    using leftover cypress, stained for outdoors. Thanks Brian
    Brian

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bender View Post
    Very nice, but were I a cat I'd lurk under the Hostas, and now under the table.
    Call of the wild. Brian
    Brian

  10. #10
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    Finished product installed. Brian

    20240602_105804.jpg
    Brian

  11. #11
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    Looks great

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bender View Post
    Looks great
    Mini table! Thanks Tom.
    Brian

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