What size square apron for round table?

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Forum topic by BeauSchless posted 10-28-2015 09:24 PM 733 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 964 days

10-28-2015 09:24 PM

I’m the process of making a 44” round hard maple table, similar to a Hans Wegner CH338 (but without the leaves). I’m current;ly in the stage of gluing up the top, which will be 44” diameter x 1”. The legs will be 2 diameter turned legs (purchased).

I intend to do a square apron and use floating mortise and tenons to connect the apron to the legs. But I don’t know how big I should make the apron. Is there any general rule of thumb for the size of an apron for a a round table?

5 replies so far

View JBrow's profile


1358 posts in 942 days

#1 posted 03-12-2016 04:52 PM


I was browsing through unanswered posts and ran across yours. I am sure by now you have sized the apron rails, but may still be interested an answer to your question.

I am not aware of a general rule for determining apron dimensions, although there may be one. I am somewhat confused about the meaning of size; the size of the square of the apron assembly or the finished width of the lumber used to construct the apron. Both sizes are mostly in the realm of design, which is more art than structure, but there can be some structural considerations.

As to width, I hate a table where my legs make contact with the apron rails. Therefore I like the width of the boards making up the apron to be sized in width so my knees never touch the rails. Structurally, the wider the apron rails at the legs make for a stronger connection. A strong connection is important to reduce table wobble and keep the joints tight even when the table is scooted across the floor. This joint on an open leg design with no lower stretchers like the one you are using will probably see a lot of stress. But the design you are building seeks to minimize the apron, to the point of making the top to appear to float.

A larger square apron will pull the legs out to the perimeter and provide maximum tipping stability to the table and better support for the top. A smaller square apron will increase tip-ability and offer less edge of the top support. But if the legs are pulled back far enough from the edge of the top, the legs will not interfere with seating. If successful in keeping anyone from sitting or leaning on the severely cantilevered top, a small square apron would be a purely design consideration as long as the table is not tippy.

So is the table done and how does it work and look? Are you now going to build chairs?

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1475 days

#2 posted 03-12-2016 10:53 PM

1×4 for small tables, 1×6 for large.

The tenon type doesn’t really matter as the legs are taking most of the compression load, esp if you put the apron down 1/16” below the tops of the legs.

1” is a bit thin for a 44” top, but should work for moderate loads. Be sure to alternate cup & crown during the glue up.


-- Madmark -

View CaptainSkully's profile


1600 posts in 3581 days

#3 posted 03-13-2016 05:08 PM

I think he’s asking how big the square is underneath compared to the circle. I wouldn’t want the corners of the apron to be any closer to the edge than their height, so an apron made from 1×4 would be 3.5 inches from the outside edge of the circle at the corners. This leaves a pretty large amount of wood cantilevered out at the center of the aprons. To help support that wood, make sure the square apron box lies diagonally to the wood grain of the top, so the grain goes at a 45° to the box. Hope that helps!

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View CaptainSkully's profile


1600 posts in 3581 days

#4 posted 03-13-2016 05:12 PM

I just drew up the 44” top and moved the apron in 3.5” from the edge. That makes each side of the apron 18.5” long and only leaves 6.3” overhanging in the middle.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View JBrow's profile


1358 posts in 942 days

#5 posted 03-14-2016 12:46 AM


The diagonal placement of the top over the apron is a great tip and reduces the changes that an edge of the table can split off.

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