A question about building a pedestal for a dining room table

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Forum topic by Mike57 posted 07-21-2010 05:27 PM 10161 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Mike57's profile


61 posts in 3901 days

07-21-2010 05:27 PM

HI everyone,

I am designing a dining room table that will have a pedestal base. Are there any books, magazine articles, people, websites, etc. that offer guidance as to how to calculate how much of an overhang I can have before the table begins to get unstable?


8 replies so far

View CaptainSkully's profile


1598 posts in 3556 days

#1 posted 07-21-2010 07:23 PM

There was a similar discussion on LJ a few weeks ago, but I couldn’t find it. I think because people spell pedestal differently. Anyhoo, with regards to your original question, I think that the table top should be able to overhang at least a third of it’s supported length. If an 8” diameter base and 16” arm make a radius of 20” (8”/2 + 16”), so a third of that would be almost 7”, making the table top 8” + 16”x2 + 7”x2 = 54” across. Not too shabby. My third rule is loosely based on an engineering principle and more of a guideline. Hope that helps.

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

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3198 days

#2 posted 07-21-2010 07:38 PM

Okay, the pedestal only supplies vertical support. It’s the legs under the pedestal that provide the support. I have a 5’ X 2” circular table I am working on. The center pedestal is 6” in diameter. I lap jointed the legs and drilled a hole in the center. The legs are 36 1/2L X 6”W. I guess you could say that the overhang is 2 feet. I am reusing a 15” antique cast iron table plate I found at a flea market. It looks like a big star with 4 – 15” wings, measured from tip to tip and 4 – 10” wings, measured from tip to tip. The plate mounts on top of the pedestal via a threaded rod, which draws the legs, pedestal and plate together.

I have another table I built for myself, that is composed of a 4’ X 1 1/2” maple top on a tapered centered pedestal. The pedestal sits on four graduated plates of wood under the pedestal. the largest plate is 30”. the reason for that is the table takes a 12” leaf.

In answer to your question, the average height of a dining table is about 30” to the bottom of the top. I have never exceeded 24” beyond the support that resides on the floor. I guess you could say that is the maximum overhang be fore they get unruly. But remember, the size of the table top support(where the top mounts to the pedestal) aids in preventing the table from falling over.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3072 days

#3 posted 07-21-2010 07:55 PM

I don’t even know where I hear or read this but I know I have heard (or read) that the length of the leg from the center should be 80% of the radius of the table.

I compared this to CaptainScully’s formula. His formula produces a leg with a length from the center of the table that is 75% of the radius. So both formula’s are close and mine calls for just a little bit longer legs.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Mike57's profile


61 posts in 3901 days

#4 posted 07-21-2010 08:36 PM

Thanks for your help!

To make sure I understand, here’s my numbers.

I have a rectangular top that is 75” x 40”.

The pedestal is effectively a big rectangle too, so the footprint of the pedestal should be around 53 1/2 X 26. I am hoping I am wrong as that doesn’t leave a lot of leg room :-)

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3072 days

#5 posted 07-21-2010 09:25 PM

I did not realize you were talking about a rectangular table. When one says pedestal, I automatically think it is a round table.

If I were making a rectangular table I would serious consider a 2 pedestal design with 2 legs coming off of each pedestal. You’ll need to play with some trigonometry to get all the measurements right, but you want to end up with legs that are 32” x 60”.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View JCantin's profile


179 posts in 3410 days

#6 posted 07-22-2010 07:10 PM

Why not a classic trestle base?

View Mike57's profile


61 posts in 3901 days

#7 posted 07-24-2010 11:02 PM

I tried suggesting that, but the lady of the house (a friend) doesn’t want a trestle style table.

View dloe's profile


1 post in 1479 days

#8 posted 05-06-2014 12:51 PM

Mike57, what did you finally decide and how did it work out? I have a similar problem. My table is 74” x 40”

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