Dining table extension slides

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Forum topic by DaveSJ posted 03-21-2013 07:04 AM 44211 views 2 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 2135 days

03-21-2013 07:04 AM

Topic tags/keywords: dining table extension slides table

Hi All,
I’m starting a dining table project. My idea is to make a dining table 42” wide x 48” long, with extension slides to drop in leaves to make the table 72” or 84” long, depending upon how many people turn up for holiday meals. The smaller 42”x48” size fits our not-so-large dining area space and will seat 4 people nicely. I am making the table out of Claro Walnut, with fiddleback figured claro walnut for the table top.
This plan/design would call for extension slides to open the table to a maximum of 32” (plus a little extra for when the leaves are inserted to clear alignment pins). I am on the fence about either buying wooden table extension slides like the one from Rockler, or follow a suggestion in a Fine Woodworking artical that calls to make your own using heavy duty drawer slides attached to hardwood planks ( on line article for reference: )

I like the idea of making my own table extension slides like the ones mentioned in the article. I was wondering if anyone out here on Lumberjocks has had any experience with this type of shop made table extension slide using heavy duty drawer slides…. or should I just order the prefab traditional slides from Rockler and save the time? As I am still working through my design process, any suggestions or other ideas are welcome.

9 replies so far

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 2134 days

#1 posted 03-25-2013 01:19 AM

I’ve refurbished a few antique extension tables (wooden slides) and mid-century extension tables (all-metal slides), and built and installed some cabinetry with long, heavy duty drawer slides. I’ve seen that some wooden slides seem to get a little looser over the years (a lot of years though – these were antiques) probably mostly due to contraction which causes some sag when you extend the table. Fifth leg to the rescue! And the all-metal slides I’ve seen were perfectly rigid and kept the table beautifully straight when extended though they make the tables “feel cheap”. I think the choice to make your own custom extension slides using the heavy duty extension sliders will give you the best of both worlds (attractive wood/design and smooth bearing action and metal rigidity) but doing so will double your total time in making the table. If you think your table will end up somewhere else (not in your family) in less than 20 years for whatever reason, then maybe installing some prefab wooden slides will be fine, and your table will be done sooner by a week or two – or a day or two if you are some kind of half-man/half-machine with no kids or job or social life. :p

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

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2828 posts in 3527 days

#2 posted 03-25-2013 01:45 AM


Have you checked with Van Dykes Restorations:

They handle both wooden and metal table extension slides. Never tried making my own, but don’t see why it wouldn’t work as long as you get good heavy duty 32” bearing slides. My only concern would be that long of an extension without any sag.

-- John @

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1091 posts in 2829 days

#3 posted 03-25-2013 01:58 AM

+1 on Van Dykes, I bought extensions from them and they worked great.

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324 posts in 2239 days

#4 posted 03-25-2013 11:22 AM

I have never used metal table top hardware or built my own wooden ones but I build our dining room table using the wooden slides from Rockler and I have no complaints.

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

View DaveSJ's profile


12 posts in 2135 days

#5 posted 06-10-2013 09:25 PM

Hi All,
It’s been a while since I posted my question on dining table slides – here’s an update. I decided to go ahead and try making own using heavy duty drawer slides. Since I wanted a 36”-38” total extension, but wanted a slide mechanism that was around 30” to 32” when closed, I devised a double action slide using two 20” drawer slides that actually allow up to 40” of travel. I found Rockler had 20” 200lb HD drawer slides at a reasonable cost and for lumber, I had some 8/4 maple left over from an old project that seemed it would make a very solid slide.
I started by rippling four boards to house the slide mechanisms. I made these 1.5” wide and routed a slot to recess the slide. The two half then connect to each other in opposing directions by attaching the drawer slide runner to a center board cut from some 4/4 maple. The end dimensions of these slides come to 3-3/4” wide x 3” high x 30” long and create a 40” opening. I drilled counter sunk holes for the mounting scews so I can use 2-1/2” long #10 pan head wood scews. I oversized the three rear holes on each side to allow to table top wood movement. Now assembled, they slide smoothly and are very solid. I hope to mount them up on my table top as soon as I finish sanding it out…. These slides look great and are way more solid and sturdy then the “off-the-shelf” wooden table extension slides I checked out before making these. I sanded them to 320 grit and finished them with a few coats of wipe on poly for protection. These might be total overkill for a small family dining table, but if they work after mounting, they will outlast me and the table I am making!

View pintodeluxe's profile


5820 posts in 3055 days

#6 posted 06-10-2013 09:51 PM

Looks like you solved your issue with shop made slides.

For anyone else looking for slides, I found has the best selection. They offer longer slides than most other retailers. I used their 52” equalizer slides on my dining table, and they work great.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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Ken Irish

3 posts in 23 days

#7 posted 12-31-2018 04:51 PM

Dave, This is a few years down the road from your original post but I’m hoping in the intervening time you’ve had a chance to verify the functionality of your table slide design. I have built a table for a particular client and need to use a very smooth acting, heavy duty and good looking equalized table extension slide and what you have made looks to fit the bill. From what I can see your design was not used as an equalized slide but could easily be made to do so with the addition of a rack and pinion. Would you be willing to share anything that you have learned in the making and using of your slides? I had originally planned to use the Watertown metal slide for durability and lack of sag but found that it is far too difficult to operate in addition to an objectionable noise. Therefore I changed plans midstream, so I’d be grateful for any input that might provide more certainty going forward. Thanks so much.

-- Ken Irish, D'Ireys Cabinetmakers,

View DaveSJ's profile


12 posts in 2135 days

#8 posted 12-31-2018 05:42 PM

Ken – the table slides are still working well after several years of use, although they only get used a few times a year when we have guests over and need to add a leaf.
The slides are certainly heavy with only a small amount of sag when fully extended. The rockier slides work well, but the addition of an equalizing mechanism would be a good improvement. They open and close easily without any binding or racking which I feared I would get with conventional off the shelf wooden table slides.
My only reservation is the slides are very heavy and the table top is only 1” thick so there is only about 3/4” of depth or purchase on the four mounting screws on each side of the table top for each slide. The table opens 36” to accommodate up to three 12” inserts so when fully extended there is a lot of stress on the mounting screws that should be longer with more bite into the top. So far it’s worked fine.

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Ken Irish

3 posts in 23 days

#9 posted 12-31-2018 06:07 PM

Dave, Thanks for the speedy reply. In the pedestal style table I built the weight of the slides is not an issue since they are not hanging from the bottom of the table top but, instead, sitting on top of the pedestal. I’m glad to hear they have worked well for you. Now I just need to find the rack and pinion hardware. It doesn’t seem to be available on the web other than buying a set of equalized slides to cannibalize. Thanks for your help. I can move ahead with confidence!

-- Ken Irish, D'Ireys Cabinetmakers,

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