Expanding Table Leaf Details

      A nice discussion of how to build a table with leaves whose grain runs in the long dimension of the table, with some examples. October 26, 2011

I have client that would like a table out of maple, solid size 42x66 before leaves with three 18 wide leaves so it will be 10 feet long with all leaves. The kicker is they want the grain to go lengthwise. Can this be done? I was thinking with metal slides and pins that can move with the wood it may work.

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor J:
If the grain is lengthwise then I don't see any movement issues with the slides. Metal or wood hardly matters; this would require 3-piece slides, and they'd have plenty of overlap. I'd be more concerned with the changing width of the table damaging the joinery between leg and apron. I'd also be concerned about potential warpage of the leaves. You'd have to be very careful about the MC and grain orientation issues. This sort of look is best achieved with veneer.

From contributor O:
If they are specifying solid and the grain direction, then they have set up conditions that will make it difficult for a table to result. The two requirements each exclude the other. Tell them they have never seen this, because it is not reasonable to do it. The leaves will be a mess. It is counter to any definition of 'good practice.

If they can back away from one of the excluding specs, then you can give them a nice solid table with leaves, conventional grain, or a table with long continuous grain, veneered. Be sure to explain this is not your lack of skill or willingness to comply, it just is not a good way to build.

From contributor M:
It could work as an "English pub table". The style is probably known by other names also. The short table has a single piece top resting directly on top of the leaves. To extend the table, the leaves are pulled out on either side and the top drops into the middle. 27"x42" will still take some care because of the short-grain arrangement, but it's better than 18"x42".

From contributor D:
Here's one. Solid cherry top, breadboard ends, refectory leaves pop up from ends.

Click here for higher quality, full size image

Here it is with leaves open.

Click here for higher quality, full size image

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