Dining Table and Chairs

Well I am committed now. We have discussed making a new dining table for years. However it had not risen to the top of the project heap. Plus, it involves not just making the table but also a matching set of chairs.

The goals include:

  • Seat 6 when collapsed
  • Seat 10 when expanded
  • More width as the current table leaves little room for side place settings and a center piece
  • One or 2 leaves, preferably butterfly style – self hiding / storing
  • NO corner legs. This is one of the biggest complaints with the current Scandinavian / Dutch style with pull out end leaves
  • Reasonably resistant to pen / pencil denting, when used by the grandkids or errant uncles

So over the last week I researched ideas and ran a number of concepts past Teal. She did not like many of the trestle styles as being “too heavy / too much wood”. I did not want a single post style pedestal and anything with 6-8 legs is definitely out as going counter to the “no corner leg” goal.

Finally, I homed in on one that we both liked. However it has a number of construction challenges:

  • The angled and swooping legs will be difficult to cut and join securely. Shaping will be done on the CNC router
  • Desire for an even more graceful sweep to the leg (rather than straight “feet” which the original had. You can see the swept feet shown in the attached photos.
  • An alternative needed for the commercial equalizer slides. These allow you to pull one end and the other slides out as well. Plus I want heavy duty slides that will not sag over time.
  • Better fit needed for the the butterfly leaf than shown in the photos and videos

So I started modeling it in sketchup while continuing researching the problems. The third leg design I tried looks promising. The joint of the legs and stretchers is a potential weak spot. So, I beefed this up vs. the commercial example. This means the legs will not directly meet when viewed from the end. There were some good clues on LumberJocks to handling the slides and I will probably go with Accuride 600lb heavy duty slides (9301E) and aircraft cable for the equalizing mechanism. The GT2 timing belt method is too expensive and the strength specs.

There is still more final drawing / modeling to do for the internal works, but the over-all approach seems doable. However, I am now committed with several hundred pounds / couple of hundred board feet of Cherry wood (and several hundreds of dollars spent) now sitting in my shop. There are still more design decisions:

  • Do I arc the table top edges or leave them straight?
  • Should I undercut / bevel the top?
  • What final profile for the top edge?
  • How much of a bull nose radius on the outside of the legs? (I am having a hard time modeling this in Sketchup).
  • Should I soften the inside edge of the leg or leave it square?
  • How about some simple inlay / banding on the top?
  • Which chair design?
Table expanded with leaf
Table collapsed