Help needed with installing legs on large dining table

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Forum topic by shoichi posted 08-30-2017 03:15 AM 710 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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30 posts in 1714 days

08-30-2017 03:15 AM

Hello all

I need some help on how i should install some metal legs on a new dining table i built from walnut

i have included photos of my table and also the legs

i read somewhere that i should install the legs so that they account for possible wood movement in the future.

i really don’t have any idea how to do this. any tips or ideas would be greatly appreciated.


4 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30566 posts in 3190 days

#1 posted 08-30-2017 03:20 AM

Make screw holes oblong and don’t crank the screws down too tight so that it can slide as it needs.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View jerryminer's profile


960 posts in 2293 days

#2 posted 08-30-2017 08:45 AM

+1. Screws in slotted holes would be the way to do this.

Your leg structure won’t do much to resist any cupping that the walnut might be prone to do. Would have been better, IMHO, to use tube steel on the top rail too, for stiffness.

You also don’t have much racking resistance. Looks great, though. Hope it works for you (I’m really not trying to be a downer here)

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7789 posts in 1564 days

#3 posted 08-30-2017 03:08 PM

just as Jerry mentioned you will need some sort of bracing for them legs …under that top …also don’t forget expansion and contraction needs :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1772 days

#4 posted 08-31-2017 03:04 AM


Since elongating holes in steel would be a nightmare for me, my approach would be to mount a walnut batten to each leg assembly. The table top would then be mounted to the battens with an allowance for wood movement. The battens, running lengthwise from one metal leg to the other with the wood grain of the battens running parallel to the upper metal cross bar, would expand/contract very little along their length. The table wood grain would run perpendicular to the wood grain in the battens. It would be fairly straightforward to accommodate wood movement when marrying cross grains of the battens and table top.

Each batten could be mounted on top of the upper metal cross bar of the leg assembly with screws through oversized holes drill into the upper metal cross bar. The battens could be wide enough to extend beyond the edge of the upper cross bar of the metal leg assembly. This cantilevered portion of the walnut battens would feature slots that run parallel to the grain of the battens. The table top could then be attached to the battens using the slots cut into the cantilevered section of the walnut battens.

Although you did not ask, I noticed a potential problem may only reveal itself when the table is set in place. The bottom cross bar, presumably straight and rigid, may not allow the table to set flat on an uneven floor, creating a wobble. Installing leg levelers or thin wooden feet near each leg could elevate the lower cross bar and reduce the changes of the table rocking.

The problem with these ideas is that the table top surface will be elevated by the thickness of the battens and/or foot pads/levelers. If this is a problem, the battens could be mounted below (the floor side) the upper metal bars, lowering the height of the table top. The metal cross bar would have to include a countersink to recess bugle head screws that attach the batten to the underside of the upper metal cross bars. The batten would also have to feature a rabbet whose depth equals the thickness of the upper metal cross bar and of such a length to fit between the legs. The table top would be supported by the metal cross bars and secured to the leg assemblies via the under mount battens.

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