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  • Chelsea J Marshall

Extendable Dining Tables: Problems & Solutions

Extendable dining tables offer a homeowner the ultimate in flexibility: a small every-day dining room table for just the family with the capability to become bigger for parties and special occasions. Almost all of our built-to-order dining tables are available with or without leaves, and 75% of our customers choose extensions for their tables.

One of the biggest problems with extendable dining tables is finding a place to store the leaves. Many people choose to store leaves in a nearby closet, but this usually means the leaves are stored on their ends, which may lead to the wood warping. This is also true if the leaves are kept on their sides. Another popular option is storing the leaves under the bed, which isn’t harmful but is usually inconvenient. The worst option is to store your leaves in a hot attic or wet basement. Because your wood table is still breathing, it will expand a contract due to changes in temperature or humidity. A leaf stored in a different environment might not precisely fit in its table.

Our solution is to offer our dining tables with self-storing leaves. Not only is it convenient, but it keeps the leaves in their best condition by storing them flat, and ensures consistent expansion and contraction between the table & its leaves. You just pull the table open, take out as many expansion boards as you need, turn them 90 degrees to install in the table, and push the table back together.

Extendable Dining Tables Feature Self-Storing Leaves

The problem with our self-storing table leaves is that they won’t fit under a round or square table top. Basically, a table has to be 12 inches longer than it is wide for the leaf to fit into the storage area under the table. So a 36” x 48” table can self-store the expansion boards, but a 36” x 42” table, or any size round table, can’t self-store the leaves.

The solution in these cases is to choose one of our pedestal tables that is available with a butterfly leaf. Unlike a standard extension board, the butterfly leaf folds in half to fit under the table.

The Butterfly Leaf Lifts Out Before Unfolding to Install in Table Top

The next problem with extendable dining tables is whether or not they’re difficult to pull apart to open. Any table slides may become difficult to open as the table ages, but some tables are difficult to pull apart when they’re new. Our leg table styles are our most difficult to open. Because the legs of the table move across the floor when the table is extended, you should use two people to pull these styles apart.

The solution to this is to choose one of our pedestal tables or trestle tables. On these styles, the table base stays in place on the floor while the top pulls apart on equalizing gear slides. These table styles are very easily for one person to open and install the leaves alone.

Equalizing Gear Slides

Finally, the seam in the middle of an extendable dining table is seen as a problem for some customers. There are two possible solutions. The first is to select a plank-style table, where the seam in the middle becomes part of the overall design of the tabletop. The second solution is to choose a table design with end leaves on breadboard extensions. This feature is available on our popular Glenwood Trestle Table, as well as the Abbington Collection’s metal base (not available with live edge table tops.) Unfortunately, table leaves cannot self-store on these table styles.

Are you ready to design your perfect extendable dining table? Visit us in the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills to learn about all of your options.


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