A Three-legged Table

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Project by DaveWatha posted 12-19-2011 10:33 AM 1907 views 3 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So, this is a small table I made to fit in between a couple of chairs in our family room where we watch TV. It’s certainly not a conventional piece of furniture but it’s highly useful for it’s intended purpose! It’s a bit different and I’m guessing this is a unique design never before attempted in history! It is made 100% from Baltic Birch plywood; I just wanted to see how it would work to use this material exclusively. There were a lot of pieces to cut for this project!

I decided to make the base a tripod because we have a Saltillo tile floor that is somewhat uneven, and with the three leg design, that is not a problem. Because there is some inherent instability due to the asymmetrical positioning of the three legs, I added a couple of 5 lb weights to the bottom to lower the center of gravity. With the weights, the table weighs 24 lbs.—it’s pretty solid and is not going to tip over!

This was a design-build approach. That is, I sort of made up the design as I went along to try and use up offcuts of Baltic Birch that had accumulated from previous projects. The sides of the table are angled slightly to be parallel with an IKEA Poang birch-frame chair on each side of the table. The cupholders are at the front end of the table; the cupholders work with pretty much every glass we own. The finish is 5 or 6 coats of Minwax Polycrylic water-based polyurethane.

This was a fun project and one we use every day!

9 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21303 posts in 3251 days

#1 posted 12-19-2011 03:47 PM

That’s cool. I design as I go all the time. It should work out perfect because it fits the space and it will not rock on 3 legs. ................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View ed220's profile


624 posts in 3539 days

#2 posted 12-19-2011 06:28 PM

Cool table. Real functional. Good job !

View Randolph Torres's profile

Randolph Torres

295 posts in 3674 days

#3 posted 12-19-2011 09:37 PM

It looks like you got lots of experimenting time with angles, design as you build can tax all your facilities—tools and knowledge, but lots of challenging fun, good job.
I ran across the same problem ( uneven surfaces, used the same solution you did) four leged saw horses do not work well on out door uneven surfaces so I (build as you designed) a three leged saw horse, both of them worked fantastic for 10+ years. I find this method of construction more forgiving and easier to change directions in the middle of the process.
It looks like you have a good grasp of structure and strength—?may be a construction background or construction training.

-- another tip from cooperedpatterns

View BigBowWow's profile


4 posts in 2509 days

#4 posted 12-20-2011 02:20 AM

We have two easy chairs where the space between is wedge shaped. I’ve never been happy with the small square table we use. This design would work well. BTW, one time I had a three legged pig. Heck, no reason to eat that pig all at once ;>)

View Time2beupinAZ's profile


453 posts in 3108 days

#5 posted 12-20-2011 07:59 PM

That is a great project. I like the design a lot. Great work.

-- Tim - I usally measure twice after I cut......then I know for sure that I cut it short.....

View DaveWatha's profile


20 posts in 2648 days

#6 posted 12-21-2011 08:49 PM

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Randolph: yes, there were lots of angles to cut for this project and I may have ended up with a few pieces that didn’t fit quite right…. I don’t have any formal construction training but do have an interest in construction design.

View Randolph Torres's profile

Randolph Torres

295 posts in 3674 days

#7 posted 12-22-2011 12:19 AM

Well you’ve studied well, you can never go wrong by overbuilding a project that is going to be subjected to stresses of normal furniture usage. At any point in time it could be placed under abnormal streses.

-- another tip from cooperedpatterns

View DaveWatha's profile


20 posts in 2648 days

#8 posted 12-22-2011 01:03 AM

Ha! Yes, I definitely am from the school of overbuilding a project! I tend to really make things stronger than they would normally need to be. I would not hesitate to stand on this table, if the need should arise for some strange reason.

I should have said above that I ended up with a few misfitting pieces that ended up back in the scrap heap. There was definitely some re-cutting of some angled pieces along the way to make it all fit perfectly.

View a1Jim's profile


117234 posts in 3723 days

#9 posted 12-22-2011 01:51 AM

Unique design good job.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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