Gateleg dropleaf table

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Forum topic by fiddlebanshee posted 07-15-2015 12:21 AM 586 views 1 time favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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195 posts in 2911 days

07-15-2015 12:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I want to make a cutting table for my sewing room that is tall, so that I can stand while cutting and not ruin my back, and can be folded down when not used at full length. The idea is to have a middle part that has drawers that is about 26×33 and then two dropleaves at 24×33 each, supported by a gateleg that hinges from the side of the drawer part. The table will live in an airconditioned and heated basement so it is not subject to huge changes in humidity.

Here is a drawing of what I intend to build:

My question is about the top. I initially thought I’d use 3/4 inch maple plywood, cabinet grade and edge it with solid 1/1 maple strips but then I started realizing that the leaves are not supported by anything but the gateleg and that when they hang down (the majority of the time) they are not supported by anything. I am not terribly concerned about the top being dead flat, but obviously it should not seriously warp.

So I see these possibilities:
1. glue up a top made out of solid maple (this may also warp, maybe?)
2. use the plywood and use a wider/stouter edge
3. make a web underneath the plywood leaves out of 1×2 maple that is half-lapped to make squares.

Is the concern about the plywood valid?
Which of the three options would you recommnend?
Would you do something else entirely? MDF? Would this have the same concerns? Would it be too heavy for the hinges?

Your insight is appreciated! Any other comments/concerns about the design is also welcomed. I am not terribly experienced in designing furniture so if you see anything that will not work, or could be done better, I am all ears. I intend to do most of the joinery with mortise and tenons.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

2 replies so far

View David Taylor's profile

David Taylor

326 posts in 1052 days

#1 posted 07-15-2015 01:31 AM

I actually think you’ll be OK with the original plywood with 1/1 edging. I built my son a drawing desk that was just a piece of home center 3/4” plywood (not the hardwood variety just regular pine or whatever it is) that was about 2’ x 3’. I screwed a piano hinge to the wall, and put a couple of 2×2 legs on the front. When he wasn’t using it he folded it up to the wall, held there with a wooden toggle on the front edge and he would just turn the toggle and let it back down. He used that like that for several years and there was never any bending warping or other problems with it.

I would think cabinet grade maple plywood would just be that much better. That’s some pretty strong stuff.

-- Learn Relentlessly

View fiddlebanshee's profile


195 posts in 2911 days

#2 posted 07-15-2015 03:30 PM

Thanks for sharing your experience. I may just try my original plan and see what happens!

I had thought about a fold up table against the wall, but I wanted the storage part for all the rulers and other cutting implements that I use when cutting out patterns for sewing. That stuff is all mainly flat and thin so I can fit shallow drawers underneath that will make organizing so much easier.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

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