Question about table dimensions and stability

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Forum topic by Joseph Cataldie posted 10-28-2012 11:28 PM 1300 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Joseph Cataldie

71 posts in 3453 days

10-28-2012 11:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am building a conference table for a client similar to this:

Generally, these tables are 48 to 50” wide, but the client asked that it be 42” wide. I normally leave about 12 to 15” of knee space from the edge of the table to the table legs. This allows people to sit anywhere around the table without banging their knees against the table legs.

Once I started mocking up the current client’s table (42” wide), I got nervous because even with the table legs 12” from the edge of the table, it looks like the table may be a bit unstable… as in, if someone pushes down on the table top while getting up, the table may tip over toward them.

Does this make sense? Can anyone give me their thoughts?


-- Joey C., Baton Rouge, LA,

5 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3089 days

#1 posted 10-29-2012 12:28 AM

Would the client go for a trestle design? You can get away with the narrowness because of the nature of the feet.

With a trestle table you can get all the chairs scooted up to the table rim when it’s not being used.

There are some nice proportions available in a trestle. I think in an old FWW (which I could look up if needed) you divide the length in ninths, with two ninths overhand each end and five ninths of stretcher.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View MNgary's profile


303 posts in 2655 days

#2 posted 10-29-2012 02:47 PM

It depends on the length of the table (longer tables weigh more). In essence you have a lever with location of the legs defining the fulcrum. Outer edge to your fulcrum is 12” and distance from the fulcrum to center of gravity for the table is 9”—center of gravity being 1/2 the width of the table.

If a 240 pound person gets up by putting 100% of his weight on the outermost edge of the conference table, a table weighing less than 320 pounds will tip.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View AandCstyle's profile


3185 posts in 2495 days

#3 posted 10-29-2012 03:02 PM

You could tip the odds in your favor, so to speak, by making the legs of locked miter joints and putting window sash weights in the center cavity. FWIW

-- Art

View MrRon's profile (online now)


5269 posts in 3482 days

#4 posted 10-29-2012 06:31 PM

I think legs 9” from the edge would still allow adequate knee space. I would make a sketch of what you propose and see if if the customer agrees with the 9”. If not tell him the table would be unstable if the legs are further in.

View bondogaposis's profile


5151 posts in 2589 days

#5 posted 10-29-2012 08:18 PM

You could splay the legs for added stability.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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