- Chelsea J Marshall
All About Tables - Finding the right type for your needs
When selecting a table, either for your kitchen or your dining room, the type of table you select is as important as the style. Whether you choose a leg or pedestal table, standard or pub height, or even a specialty table, like a butterfly or drop-leaf, the type of table will affect how it functions in your everyday life.
Perhaps the most popular type, a table that sits on four legs is simple, sturdy, and adaptable. With a wide variety of legs available, these tables can suit any style of room.
One big advantage of leg tables is the range of sizes available. Unlike pedestal tables, which must be big enough to sit over the pedestal base without being so big as to topple over, leg tables can be offered in six inch increments. When the span between the legs is over 72” or so, a fifth leg is added in the center to support the table span. Not only do leg tables allow for extra flexibility in size, but they can also accommodate more leaves. How many leaves? While most tables are offered with up to 6, some are available with up to 14 leaves. Our tables will store 2-4 leaves (depending on the selected model and options) below the tabletop. For additional storage, we recommend selecting a matched leaf cabinet.
Instead of resting on four legs in the corners, pedestal tables sit atop heavy center bases. Offered as single or double, these pedestals usually consist of a heavy column on feet, with a rail spanning between double pedestals.
A Double-Pedestal Table
Because these tables are balanced on center supports, they are not available in the full size range of leg tables. Not only are leg tables available both smaller and larger, but with more intermediate sizes and more leaves available.
Conversely, one big advantage of our pedestal tables is the ease at which they can be opened and closed to put in or take out leaves. Unlike leg tables, the feet of the pedestals stay in place on the floor as the table opens and closes. With the assistance of gear slides, standard on all our pedestal tables, one person can easily open the table to add leaves.
Our builders offer all tables as pub tables. Pub tables come in two heights. Counter height is 36” high and, as the name would indicate, is the same height as a standard kitchen counter. Bar height is 42”. Choosing the right height is based on room style and personal preference. Both leg and pedestal tables are available at either height. Sizes are limited on pedestal pub tables, but pub tables tend to be more popular for smaller spaces, so the size limitations are rarely an issue.
A Shaker-style pedestal table in standard and pub heights
Leaves, boards, extenders – no matter what you call them, the added flexibility to expand your table as needed is invaluable in many homes. Typically, tables are built to split right down the middle, with pegs holding the leaves in place. Our leg tables come standard with wood slides, our pedestal tables come standard with gear slides, and all tables come standard with self-storing leaves. The exception, in regards to self-storing leaves, is any round or square table – a table must be longer than it is wide, otherwise a leaf cannot fit under the tabletop to store.
Top: Pegs hold the leaves in place
Bottom: The leaves store between gear slides (left) or wood slides (right)
Additionally, our builders do offer some specialty leaf tables. One of the most common requests is for a drop-leaf table. These tables feature hinged leaves, often on just two sides, with a locking mechanism to hold them up when in use. The dropped leaves hang to the sides of the table when not in use.
A drop-leaf table
Similarly, a gateleg table has drop-leaves with the addition of a swinging leg to support the leaves. Because of these support legs, a gateleg table can have much larger leaves. Often, these tables are built with little cabinets or drawers on the center part.
A gateleg table
Butterfly leaves are also available. A butterfly leaf folds in half to store underneath the table top. It is most common to see butterfly leaves mission-style furniture.
The famous expandable round dining table
Yes, we do carry round tables with leaves – when you use the leaves, the table becomes an oval. But, from time to time, we are asked about a round table that increases in diameter without losing its circular shape. It’s the table made famous by this viral video:
Expandable Round Dining Table
This incredible design is The Fletcher Capstan Table. And, sadly, no Amish craftsmen build them. The design is based on the Jupe table, originally patented in 1835. While there are various designs and versions available, this specific mechanism, that lifts and positions the self-storing leaves as the table spins, is engineered and exclusively manufactured by David Fletcher of the United Kingdom. It’s such an awesome concept, though, that we totally understand if you decide to splurge on this instead of one of our tables, and we hope you invite us over to check it out!