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View AllanK's profile

Adding 1" to the legs of dining room chairs

by AllanK
posted 11-08-2018 04:05 PM


37 replies so far

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

4084 posts in 2067 days


#1 posted 11-08-2018 04:10 PM

Why not cut the dining room table legs shorter instead?

-- earthartandfoods.com

View shawnn's profile

shawnn

143 posts in 1665 days


#2 posted 11-08-2018 04:10 PM

It might be less noticeable to add extensions at the top of the legs, or add a skirt to the chairs and use the skirt to extend the legs; either of those methods would probably be more structurally sound. Or maybe shorten the table legs?

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1377 posts in 2411 days


#3 posted 11-08-2018 04:10 PM

I’d take the table down an inch rather than try to bring up the chairs. No matter how you attach blocks to the chair legs it is into end grain and inherently weak.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1377 posts in 2411 days


#4 posted 11-08-2018 04:11 PM

Looks like we were all typing the same thing at the same time. OP I think you got your answer.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2258 days


#5 posted 11-08-2018 04:17 PM

Phonebooks worked for my kids.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View AllanK's profile

AllanK

55 posts in 4377 days


#6 posted 11-08-2018 04:25 PM

Thanks for the tips. Unfortunately, cutting the table is not an option, it’s a 12’ table with an ornately carved base, no legs. Also, as the photos show (maybe the photos weren’t up when you first read the post?) the chairs are upholstered and the upholstery covers the top of the legs. Not sure I want to get into that…

-- "Stupidity is forever, but ignorance can be fixed."

View AllanK's profile

AllanK

55 posts in 4377 days


#7 posted 11-08-2018 04:27 PM

BroncoBrian, phonebooks are exactly what they used to see if raising the chairs would work. The wife is quite petite, and I was concerned that her legs wouldn’t reach the floor. They do.

-- "Stupidity is forever, but ignorance can be fixed."

View sras's profile

sras

5018 posts in 3429 days


#8 posted 11-08-2018 04:36 PM

Hmm – looks tricky. The challenge is both structural and cosmetic.

The cosmetic element can be met with color matched wood, tight joints, and continuing the shape. Not easy but possible. I’d recommend a few prototypes with copies of the original legs.

The hard part is structural. You might try gluing the extension on and then drilling and fitting a dowel. Basically a floating tenon after the extensions are in place. Either that or use a lag bolt instead of a dowel. Might work – might not. Again I’d build a prototype or two and test it to failure.

Explain this process to your friend along with an estimate of the number of hours (double your guess – you’ll be low). Then suggest he buy taller chairs.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2258 days


#9 posted 11-08-2018 05:04 PM

Can you add caps to the bottom? You should be able to add material and secure it for strength, then a decorative cap that covers the new material.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View BFamous's profile

BFamous

299 posts in 420 days


#10 posted 11-08-2018 05:36 PM

I know you said you can’t trim an inch of off the bottom of the base – but could you take an inch off of the top where the change would be unnoticeable?

Modifying the table seems both like the easier option, and the better ergonomic solution. What’s the current seat height of the chairs? Wouldn’t raising that an inch make them uncomfortable for the average adult to sit in?

And back to the chair legs… As an option to not have to deal with the upholstery, could you flush cut the legs off, reattach them to a 1” thick base (cut to be the same size and shape as the bottom of the chair), and then attach that base under the upholstered part to make it look like original two-piece design?

Can’t say I like that approach much, but I don’t think anything you add onto those back legs will hold up or look good. Going straight down will be inconsistent with the design, and going backwards to continue the curve will have questions around strength AND it will mean the bottom of the back legs wont have the same visual alignment to the back of the top of the backrest.

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC :: http://www.FamousArtisan.com

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1199 days


#11 posted 11-08-2018 06:17 PM

I would put a small reveal at the seam and maybe another above it to look like it was made that way. I don’t see why you couldn’t glue the piece and countersink a 3” screw up into the leg to hold it.

View Scap's profile

Scap

71 posts in 227 days


#12 posted 11-08-2018 06:45 PM

Since altering the table seems to be a no-go, what if you didn’t do any thing to the legs of the chairs, at all?

Remove the upholstery, add a riser block to the seat frame and have the chairs reupholstered.

The integrity of the frame isn’t compromised, and that would be the best way to have it look unaltered.

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

505 posts in 211 days


#13 posted 11-08-2018 06:59 PM

Have you considered drilling holes 1 1/2” deep, added 1/2” or 5/8” hardwood dowels, then epoxy extensions at the bottom of the legs. I’ve done this once for a client, and he was happy with it. But if it was my table, I’d shorten the table legs. Changing the leg height may change how comfortable the chair is to sit in.

View DS's profile

DS

3086 posts in 2720 days


#14 posted 11-08-2018 09:39 PM

+1 I was going to suggest the same thing.

These are sometimes called a sabot (Shoe)
They can be bought or made using aluminum square tubing.


Can you add caps to the bottom? You should be able to add material and secure it for strength, then a decorative cap that covers the new material.

- BroncoBrian


-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

319 posts in 479 days


#15 posted 11-09-2018 02:56 AM

I like the cap or reveal idea.

Probably a no go on tearing it apart and making new legs as it looks like it was made half way decent

You know the manufacturer? That may help determine if it’s worth tearing into.

The seat cover is. Slip cover design so front is easy to get to. But if it’s good quality, the back leg goes all the way to the top. Harder to replace.

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2987 posts in 2325 days


#16 posted 11-09-2018 03:19 AM

Another way (just as an alternative to stimulate your thinking) would be to lengthen the legs by scarfing an extension on with a pretty long scarf—say 6 inches or so. That would be quite strong, and perhaps could be shaped and stained so as to not show too much. I did this to repair a leg that had rotted badly on the bottom.

But I agree that the “sabot” or shoe extension would be the best. You’d have to carefully make the leg end into a tenon that would fit the sabot, which ideally would end up flush. Actually, I’d make the tenon a bit small, then make up the difference with epoxy.

Though I have to ask: how good a friend is this guy?

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

944 posts in 1794 days


#17 posted 11-09-2018 09:25 AM

How about this: Don’t mess with legs, add 1” under the seat platform?

Those faux leather seat covers are easy to remove/replace, as they are just stapled down. Take old ones off, add 1 MDF plate to top frame, and then replace the foam/recover the seat. The seat vinyl/fabric is thin enough to be used on a home sowing machine (little patience maybe), and plain black is available at Joan Fabrics or Hobby Lobby. Use the old ones as pattern and simply make a new side wall cover that is longer to hide the 1” plate.
If the seat back cover would interfere, then loosen the bottom edge, remove 1” of lower foam, and shorten the bottom hem slightly by tucking it back under the (hidden) bottom seam.

Another funky looking option would be to convert chair base to commercial style with lower storage shelf: Add a 1/2” thick plate under the existing legs, with some fancy carved feet under the plate that follow the same lines as existing legs. Could remove a couple inches of each leg if you wanted a more complex carving, like a dragon to faux one the early Chinese dynasty styles.

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1284 posts in 2252 days


#18 posted 11-09-2018 01:34 PM

Adding an inch to 48 legs sounds like a nightmare. You indicated that the table has a carved base so you can’t just shorten its legs. Have you looked closely at how the table top is attached to the pedestal? Is there any way you could remove the extra inch from the top of the pedestal or otherwise change the connection to adjust the height? That sort of fix wouldn’t be directly visible, but it might alter the over all visual appearance of the table in a bad way. Just something to consider.

Then there is the “if you can’t raise the bridge lower the river” tongue in cheek fix. Put the table in place and trace around the footprint of the base. Pull the table aside and use your router to make a one inch recess in the floor and return the table. Problem solved (for now, anyway).

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1481 posts in 2030 days


#19 posted 11-09-2018 02:13 PM

Allen, what is the height of the table? What is the height of the chairs? What you need to do is find whether the table is too high, of if the chairs are too low. Work from there.

I don’t know when it happened, but “Standards” were established so things could be uniform and work without too much oddity. Counters were established at 36” for the general population. Table height and desk tops were 30”. Chairs were at 16 – 17”. Workbenches were at 32-34”. This is just a guide, but works pretty good.

I built kitchen cabinets that a 6’4” tall customer wanted at 38” tall. I also did the tile for the counter top. It was the most uncomfortable top I have ever worked on. Too high, and even the customer mentioned it after the fact, and he was 6” taller than me.

So, find where the issue is and fix that…... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View AllanK's profile

AllanK

55 posts in 4377 days


#20 posted 11-09-2018 04:44 PM

Lots of ideas. I’m going to take another look at the table – maybe there is a way to get in above the base to reduce the height. And yes, the chairs are standard height, it’s the table that’s too high.

I like the idea of lowering the floor :-) He lives in a condo, the floor is concrete….

-- "Stupidity is forever, but ignorance can be fixed."

View AllanK's profile

AllanK

55 posts in 4377 days


#21 posted 11-11-2018 10:21 PM

Upon further investigation, the table has two legs, one at each end, tapering to a 7-1/2” x 7-1/2” end, which is wedged and glued into a channel created by two cross pieces secured to the underside of the top. We’re going to try to see if we can remove them, cut down the tops of the legs and glue them back.

So now I need ideas on how to soften that very old glue…

-- "Stupidity is forever, but ignorance can be fixed."

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1284 posts in 2252 days


#22 posted 11-11-2018 10:50 PM

I thought you might find a solution in the attachment of the top to the pedestal. Heat and moisture are the usual way to loosen up old glue joints. Unfortunately, it appears that you have a large surface area and being under the top will make it very hard to get to. I think you need to flip the table upside down to get to the glue joints with some water and heat.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1802 posts in 903 days


#23 posted 11-14-2018 06:03 PM



I d take the table down an inch rather than try to bring up the chairs. No matter how you attach blocks to the chair legs it is into end grain and inherently weak.

- JADobson

Normally that would make sense but those legs look short to me, like the chairs were more of a “waiting room” height vs an “eating at the table” height. If it’s a standard sized table I wouldn’t cut the legs. Figure out which one is not the norm then decide from there.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View jonah's profile

jonah

2036 posts in 3598 days


#24 posted 11-14-2018 06:10 PM

I’d second the thought to figure out which item is nonstandard and make it standard. There is no circumstance where I’d even consider trying to add wood to 48 chair legs. That would take an eternity. If the chairs are low, pad the seat up as mentioned above. If the table is high, cut it down from the top or the bottom, depending on what looks better.

Based on your picture, how does the table come apart for transport? Very few tables have completely unremoveable tops.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117534 posts in 3877 days


#25 posted 11-14-2018 07:43 PM

Hi Alan
If you are going to cut the legs(bases) shorter would it be possible to clamp some strips of wood on the bases and use them for a guide to just cut where you have the red lines using a multi-tool. I’ve been able to cut very straight and accurate lines this way. If that’s possible then you could use the multi tool to cut off the waste part that’s left on along the glue line.

View AllanK's profile

AllanK

55 posts in 4377 days


#26 posted 11-14-2018 10:53 PM

a1Jim, I took another look at the legs, and, believe it or not, they are solid wood! It was one big tree they used.

jonah, it doesn’t come apart – it was shipped as is from California and moved into the condo in one piece! Took a bit of ingenuity to get it into the freight elevator, but they did it!

Back to the legs – it’s not going to be possible to remove them, because they are also screwed in to those side braces and the screws have been buried with plugs – who knows how deep. I think I’m going to do exactly what a1Jim suggested, but not with a multitool. We’ll lay the table on its side, cut the legs flush with the bottom of the braces with a handsaw and a clamped saw guide. Then remove an inch from the top of the legs (also using a saw guide) and mount them back using a bunch of aluminum or steel rods and glue.

Am I crazy?

-- "Stupidity is forever, but ignorance can be fixed."

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2737 posts in 3183 days


#27 posted 11-15-2018 05:05 AM

It is surprisingly easy to mess up trying to line up two cut ends and then brace them with internal rods. Honestly, I think you’re making more work for yourself trying to do it that way than to drill out the screw plugs (it’s easier than you think) and remove the legs properly, cut the inch off, and screw them back on and re-plug the screw holes.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View JohnMcClure's profile

JohnMcClure

524 posts in 940 days


#28 posted 11-15-2018 11:56 AM

Please post the result of this when finished. I’m curious to see how well it works out.
Bear in mind you’re going to be your own worst critic, normal people won’t care (I think) about a visible cut/glue line underneath the tabletop where they’d have to lay on their back on the floor to see it.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View AllanK's profile

AllanK

55 posts in 4377 days


#29 posted 11-15-2018 02:16 PM



It is surprisingly easy to mess up trying to line up two cut ends and then brace them with internal rods. Honestly, I think you re making more work for yourself trying to do it that way than to drill out the screw plugs (it s easier than you think) and remove the legs properly, cut the inch off, and screw them back on and re-plug the screw holes.

- Manitario

You make an excellent point. I’ll try to remove the screw plugs and the screws. If all else fails, maybe I’ll try to “slide” a multitool with a metal blade up between the leg and the brace, and cut the screws?

-- "Stupidity is forever, but ignorance can be fixed."

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Manitario

2737 posts in 3183 days


#30 posted 11-15-2018 04:36 PM

Yep, that sounds like the best way to do it!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117534 posts in 3877 days


#31 posted 11-15-2018 06:38 PM

In carpentry, if I can’t get a circular saw in a post that needs to cut off after drawing the cut line on the post all the way around it I’ll use a SawZaw and start cutting at each corner a little at a time so I know I.m staying online after cut cutting an inch or so I’ll angle the blade to follow the line this creates a groove for the saw blade to follow. given your using a hand saw you may have less trouble holding the angle correctly to have your cuts to meet for a smooth flat cut. Describing this I know it sounds a bit strange but it works for me.

View rcs47's profile

rcs47

202 posts in 3429 days


#32 posted 11-15-2018 06:58 PM

Here is another option – add wheels to the chairs.

-- Doug - As my Dad taught me, you're not a cabinet maker until you can hide your mistakes.

View jonah's profile

jonah

2036 posts in 3598 days


#33 posted 11-15-2018 07:05 PM

If the oscillating tool doesn’t work, you could probably also cut the screws with a reciprocating saw, depending on how much clearance you have there. It’s not too hard to fish a sawzall blade into even a small gap.

You could also dig through the plugs with a beater chisel and beater drill bit. It shouldn’t be hard to uncover the screws, especially once you know exactly where they are.

Failing that, you could just use one of these to drill all the way through to the leg and remove the screw entirely.

https://www.highlandwoodworking.com/set3hollowscrewextractors.aspx

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1974 posts in 2194 days


#34 posted 11-15-2018 07:42 PM


Failing that, you could just use one of these to drill all the way through to the leg and remove the screw entirely.

https://www.highlandwoodworking.com/set3hollowscrewextractors.aspx

- jonah

Those have saved me some extreme grief. They are incredibly delicate though, it’s easy to mash them in a chuck.

View jonah's profile

jonah

2036 posts in 3598 days


#35 posted 11-15-2018 08:25 PM

Save a plug of wood you cut with it and stick it in the part you chuck into the drill. It will prevent you from mashing it into something other than a round shape.

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1974 posts in 2194 days


#36 posted 11-16-2018 01:04 AM

excellent tip, thanks jonah

View jonah's profile

jonah

2036 posts in 3598 days


#37 posted 11-17-2018 02:03 AM

No problem! I thought of it when I was trying to remove the plug from one of them one time.

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