November 7, 2012

How to Build a Temporary (and Off-Center)
Dining Table that Seats Twenty

I have a fairly narrow, short dining area. If you couple that with the need to seat 15 to 20 people during the holidays, you'll always end up with a headache. This year I was ready to spring into action.

Now, where can we all eat in the same room? . . . . . . . The patio!
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Southern California can be pretty sunny on December 24 (Think, "Rose Parade."), and even if it cools down after dark, we have a nice patio fireplace that throws out a tremendous amount of heat.

Yet, two rectangular tables (or more likely three) won't work in the space. There's simply no way to configure the tables such that all the diners would be a safe, comfortable distance from a fire.

Solution? Design a customized table.

I hauled out all the folding chairs from the shed and arranged them in a slightly curvy line, making sure that the chairs weren't too close to the fireplace.
chair arrangement
When you build your own, you can arrange the chairs any way you wish - slight curve, major curve, no curve, or, in my case, a curve closer to one end than the other.
In addition, you will also note that this is sort of a "pedestal table" with no legs near the edges, so no guest has to straddle a table leg.
It turned out that, despite what I imagined to be a small space, I placed 10 chairs on the outside curve and 8 chairs on the inside. And if need be, I can add a chair at either end.
Butcher paper was used to make a template for the tabletop.
butcher paper

I ordered 2X4 and 4X4 lumber cut to length, plus three sheets of 3/4 inch plywood. My 2X4s (used for the feet) are 14" long. This length is probably over-kill, but I was making this up as I went along and decided to error on the safe side. Wobbly tables drive me nuts!
The 4 X4s are 26-1/2" in length. (The chairs I'm using are slightly lower than regular dining room chairs. Normally, they should be at least 2 inches higher.)
shotOfLegs

My grandson and I made 6 legs. I wanted lots of support. Everything is screwed together, so it will all come apart later.

undersideOfLeg
Four utility shelf brackets (meant to support 10" shelves) were mounted around the top of each leg. The table tops were cut and set upon the legs. Each bracket was screwed to the underside of the table top.

Once the table tops were attached to the legs,
metal straps are screwed to the edges of each joint. Brace2



VoilĂ !
finishedTablex333

PaintingLegs

The legs got a coat of red paint.

I've got free labor in the form of three grandchildren who love to help. I can easily get the legs repainted and repainted and repainted again, anytime I want. (Well, at least until the youngest turns 13 and grandma is demoted).

To see the table dressed up in all its Christmas finery, visit this 2012 post or this 2013 post.

Oh, one more thing:
TableCurveDiagram2 The table top is 36 inches wide, EXCEPT AT THE CURVED AREA, where it is 42 inches wide.
If kept at 36 inches, at least two of the diners on the inside curve would not be able to easily converse with one another because of the severity of the curve.
Since I was making the table and could do anything I wanted, I widened the table at the curve and then tapered it back to the 36 inch width at the straight runs. In reality, the problem of the inner chair dilemma was even more pronounced than it appears to be in the diagram to the left.
Of course, you may not run into this if your curve is more gradual.



I will be linking to
JaimeButtonWOWand
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Linking to Craftberry Bush

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