Designing a kitchen table - What determines the structural need for stretchers?

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Forum topic by rfusca posted 06-12-2013 07:50 AM 1309 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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155 posts in 1842 days

06-12-2013 07:50 AM

Topic tags/keywords: table stretchers structure question designing

After I finish up a few smaller projects, I’m tackling a new dinning room table for the family. I’ve made 3 smaller tables, but nothing even close to this large. It’s not going to be huge by any means, probably in the rectangular 3.5’ by 5.5’ range with four turned legs (my wife has taken up the lathe as a hobby!).

Structurally, what determines if its a good idea to add stretchers across the bottom of the legs?

-- Chris S., North Atlanta, GA - woodworker,DBA, cook, photographer

2 replies so far

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10396 posts in 3647 days

#1 posted 06-12-2013 08:02 AM

You can eliminate them if the legs and skirts
are substantial enough. Look at the Thos. Moser
catalog for what works in cherry (maple, ash,
oak, etc. are more or less similar in this
engineering characteristic – medium-hard,
domestic hardwoods).

Most factors considered, using stretchers is
insurance. You don’t need them to prevent
collapse in normal use, usually. Chairs are the
most demanding and some designs eliminate
stretchers – though over a century my bet
would be on the chair with the stretchers
holding up better.

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155 posts in 1842 days

#2 posted 06-12-2013 02:29 PM

Considering its also a design element and could be placed when it is or isn’t needed, I wasn’t sure that learning by looking at examples would be very educational in the long run (for this particular question).

I don’t anticipating needing it – the skirt and legs should be ‘substantial enough’, but it’d be nice not to get a nasty surprise.

-- Chris S., North Atlanta, GA - woodworker,DBA, cook, photographer

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