Building a table leaf or buy a pre-made?

Zoey_BOctober 16, 2013

Hello. I'm in a quandary. I'm hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas in our new home this year for our parents, and my table is not big enough. I just purchased two captains chairs so that I have more seating (thank you Beverly for your info on those!) but I need help as to what to do on the table. I've looked online and found that you can purchase "blanks" and sand them down and stain them, or should I just purchase some lumber and attempt it on my own? Purchasing a new table isn't in the budget right now.

Has anyone ever attempted this, or done this? I figure if all goes south I can just throw a table cloth on it and be done with it.

Here is my dining room. Usually the six chairs are around the table, but I put the two captains chairs I purchased at the ends just for the look at the moment, and the other two (once the table is extended) will go on the sides with the others.


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Sophie Wheeler

Just do a plywood overtop on top of your table, cover with a larger tablecloth, and no one will be any wiser. That's an under $40 fix if you already own the tablecloth.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 10:17AM
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Yep - plywood works fine (as does a card table at one end of the table).

The large tablecloth covers all!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 10:38AM
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I would do the plywood but round the corners slightly just for safety/comfort.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 11:33AM
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The plywood sounds like great idea, was about to order "table pad extender" for same reason, can anyone tell me how much larger I can make the plywood?? I was going to make my table a little wider, and a total of 12 inches for the length... Can I do the same with plywood??? Thanks!!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 11:39AM
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I think you can make the plywood as big as you need it to be and will fit. Don't forget to protect your table before putting the plywood on top.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 11:44AM
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Fori is not pleased

Just throwing this out there, but for the ptice of plywood (doesn't that just come in 4x8 sheets?) you may be able to pick up a large enough table on Craigslist and sell it afterwards. :)

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 2:32PM
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My mom & dad always did plywood. My Dad had it in two pieces (so it could be stored) and somehow connected them in the middle before putting it on the table.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 2:38PM
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I think that the plywood is a great idea for now. However, just another thought: I had the same dilemma years ago. My dining room table could extend to hold another leaf but I didn't have it (bought table at an auction). I paid a carpenter $100 to build me a leaf with a matching finish. You cannot tell that it hasn't ALWAYS been a part of the table.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 2:57PM
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Thank you everyone. I didn't even think of plywood! What a great idea!
Joanie, that's definitely a budget friendly option as well. My table will hold one more leaf, but it's from a friend (free!) and he only had one. Hmmm. Everything on cL right now is $250+ so that won't work.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 4:08PM
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I used the plywood overlay when newly married and having the whole fam for dinner. I covered the plywood in heavy-duty felt that I pulled to the underside and stapled down. It made the edges look softer when the tablecloth was draped over them. And it kept it from sounding like a gym floor when glasses or bowls were set down on the table.

IIRC, to protect the table top, we covered the table with a blanket and duct taped the excess to the underside of the table. Then laid the felt covered plywood on top.

Linens and Things has some fairly inexpensive, large tablecloths

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 4:56PM
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We have a simple piece of rectangular plywood ( the same thickness and size as our other leaves )that we use as the last insert when we need to seat 14 instead of the 12 that would fit with the two existing matching leaves.This is a LOT easier that using larger plywood panels that go over the tabletop, and stores easily with the other leaves when not being used. We always use a tablecloth for such large dinners anyhow, and you cannot tell the difference.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 1:39PM
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If you only need 12 inches, why not go to lumber mill & buy a pine board that size, will be nicer than plywood. Get the length you need to fit the table. Having been in the antique business for 30 yrs. we have made many leaves for tables, not unusual to have the leaves missing from tables we purchased for resale. Pine will be very easy for you to stain to match your table if you choose to do that, then you could use the table without a cloth if you want to.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 10:03PM
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