table top overhang design issue

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Forum topic by martin007 posted 02-24-2009 04:30 PM 7667 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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142 posts in 3797 days

02-24-2009 04:30 PM

Hi All

I am building a writing table, with 2 drawers on the front. The table is 24 by 48. Yesterday when I put the top on it’s base, I found that the 2 1/2 front overhang was too much, even if the edge have a chanfer on the bottom. You couldn’t see or reach the drawers well. 1 1/2 inch is about right to my liking. The table will eventually have a small hutch, and I can’t make my mind to cut the extra 2 inches. So I am thinking of leaving the top to it’s full width, and offset the top one inch backward, making a 3 1/2 overhang at the back. When you look the table from the side, it does catch the eye a little, but I don’t find it too ackward.

I am no furniture design expert, so I wonder if this asymetric overhang is something that one can see from table top design from time to time or it is simply bad design.

thanks for your comments

-- Martin, Gatineau, Québec

12 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3671 days

#1 posted 02-24-2009 04:58 PM

If you wish to keep the full size of the top – moving it backwards to create a 3 1/2” overhand in the back is the only way I can think of doing that as well. the asymmetrical ratio is not that great that it would be an eye sore, plus – it’s not a left vs. right asymmetry but a front to back which is less critical.

take this with a grain of salt as with no photos of your design/desk or what it really looks like this is partially theoretical opinion.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Tim Pursell's profile

Tim Pursell

499 posts in 3804 days

#2 posted 02-24-2009 05:07 PM

As a general rule the overhang should be equal. That said This is why buildng you own furniture is so wonderful. Build it the way you (or the customer/better half) likes. Very often I will build a table top oversize & make the decision to cut it down, or not, after the piece is fully assembled. Ask the wife or any other interested party to look at the table & talk it out. Balance the look you want with the function of the table. Will cutting off the 2” affect the usability of the table? Will the piece be against the wall or used in a freestanding place? Maybe a compromise, only cut 1” and still have an offset top. Many options & only you can decide.


View MattD's profile


150 posts in 3966 days

#3 posted 02-25-2009 03:37 AM

Hi Martin,

Perhaps you could add an accent, such as long nicely curved brackets joining the legs to the underside of the top in the back. This could add some interest to the back of the piece and make the offset seem more purposeful, leading the eye away from something potentially distracting or off balance. As the piece will have a small hutch on the top eventually, you might want to consider how that would tie into it. I think you can make it work and have something unique. Post some pictures!

-- Matt - Syracuse, NY

View martin007's profile


142 posts in 3797 days

#4 posted 02-25-2009 06:21 AM

thanks For your comments guys

Matt, you bracket options is interseting, although the table got a shaker influenced style, I will think about it. I have never seen such thing on a shaker table tough.

picture coming up…

-- Martin, Gatineau, Québec

View martin007's profile


142 posts in 3797 days

#5 posted 02-25-2009 04:27 PM

Here is the table as it stands

edges of table top is chamfered at the bottom 1 inch at the front and back, 1 1/2 for the sides.

Notice on last picture, the extra overhang at the back. I will eventually build a small hutch that will sit at the back of the table. It will be around 9 inch deep

-- Martin, Gatineau, Québec

View Tim Pursell's profile

Tim Pursell

499 posts in 3804 days

#6 posted 02-25-2009 07:09 PM

I don’t care for the look. I may even be more “unbalanced” looking with a hutch top. If you can live with a little bit less surface area on the top, I’d cut it down.
Just my 2 cents worth, & you know what that’s worth! LOL
In your original post you said the drawers were not accessible. Maybe with the right pulls & full or over-travel slides they would be better?
Keep workin’ the problem till you are happy with the design.


View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4240 days

#7 posted 02-25-2009 07:16 PM

Personally, I would bite the bullet and cut off the excess. But YOU are the one who will be looking at it, so don’t let yourself be overly influenced by the opinions of others.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3766 days

#8 posted 02-25-2009 08:45 PM

I would have to agree with Tim P. Keep the side over hang the way it is, but match up the front and back to your 1.5”. The visual effect is more on the front view, anyway, and less over hang on the sides would take away from the table’s design appeal. My $0.02 worth.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4010 days

#9 posted 02-25-2009 08:56 PM

It it were me I would cut the back off. Flush it you were planning on putting it against a wall and about 1/2 to 1” if not.

You don’t want too much overhang over a drawer. It would restrict access.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Handidad's profile


27 posts in 3396 days

#10 posted 03-01-2009 05:31 AM

It looks good overall. The legs are nicely proportioned.
If you keep the 2.5” front overhang, could you add some wooden handles on the drawers that project enough to show the drawers?

View martin007's profile


142 posts in 3797 days

#11 posted 03-04-2009 03:05 AM

Well, the top is now fixed

1.25 front overhang at the front and 3.75 t the back. I did put a maquette of the hutch on the table, and to me, it doesn’t look too bad and I really enjoy the extra width.

thanks for your comments

-- Martin, Gatineau, Québec

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3580 days

#12 posted 03-04-2009 03:24 AM

Martin, next time you build a table such as this…..... the general rule that I use is for a 1” or 1 1/4” overhang all the way around unless you want it to the wall. Then I just flush the back with the table.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

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