Introduction: Circular Table Re-Design (Three to Single Leg)
For the last coupe of years, I have never been able to properly store the chairs around my dinner table. The problem is that my table has three legs, but I have four wide chairs. Therefor, I cannot place the chairs symmetrically, and since two chairs do not fit in between the legs, one chair is always standing further out than the others.
To ease my mind, I decided to make a single circular center leg instead.
You will need the following:
- Table Saw
- Jig Saw
- Router with router bit
- Drill with drill bit
- Spirit Level
- Oak Wood
- Wooden rod
- Screw nuts (I used T-nuts but as recommended by ariekaptein screw nuts will be able to carry more weight) and matchning bolts
- Sheet metal brackets
Step 1: Dimension the Bones (i.e. the Structure)
To start with, decide on your height and diameter of the leg, in my case I went with 71 cm high and 58 cm in diameter for my table which has a 130 cm diameter table top.
”The bones” are the base and the structure of the leg onto which wooden stripes will be glued, meaning that more or less any type of wood that you have laying around can be used.
Step 2: The Circular Pieces
If you have a large enough piece of MDF, you can directly go ahead and saw out three circles, one for the bottom, one for the middle and one for the top.
In my case, the diameter was larger than the width of the piece of MDF I had, so I decided to saw out 6 stripes of 10 cm wide and 30 cm long. Consequently, I sawed 60 degree angles on the side so they could be assembled to a hexagon. Use wood glue to glue the pieces together and keep them together until the glue has dried using a strap.
As I did not have a large enough compass, I made one to fit the correct diameter by drilling two holes, one for a pen and one for a wooden rod, into a strip of wood. Then put the wooden rod in the center of the hexagon and draw a circle.
Finally, use a jig saw to cut out the circle.
Step 3: Drill Hole Patterns
When having the three circular pieces, it is time to make some hole patterns for alignment and assembly.
Clamp the three pieces together and drill 12 holes slightly oversized according to your screws, and 2 larger holes to match with your wooden rod (or any other rod that you have laying around). These larger holes can later be used for securing that the circular pieces are aligned before assembling the bones.
Step 4: Assemble the Bones
Before assembling the bones, cut out the connecting pieces. I used 45x45 mm studs. The length of the studs can be calculated by subtracting the thickness of the circular pieces from the total length of the leg and diving the sum by two.
Pre-drill the studs and join them to the circular pieces with screws and voila, the bones are finished.
Note that only all twelve holes will be used in the middle circle, for the lower and upper one only half of them will be used. For the center one all need to be used as you otherwise cannot fit the studs on both sides.
Step 5: Cut the Strips
Now starts the more exciting part of the project, cutting out strips to be assembled on the bones. I used an old coffe table top, with a 32 mm thickness, to cut out the strips and cut each strip with a thickness of 10 mm. You can estimate the number of strips needed by calculating the circumferential of the leg and then diving it by the width of the strips, in my case, I needed around 51 strips, so let’s start cutting.
Step 6: Finish the Strips
After having cut the strips, run them through the planer to get an even smooth surface. You only need to plain one side as the other side will be fixed against the leg and therefor will not be visible.
Next, use a router with a radius-bit (I used one with 6.3 mm radius) to round the edges of the strips.
Normally, I always sand after plaining, but as there were so many strips and it would be very time-consuming to sand all of them, I decided to skip it at this point and if needed, sand the complete assembled piece later on.
Step 7: Assembly
Lastly, but definitely not least, it is assembly time. I used a thick contact glue. For the first strip, I used a spirit level to be sure it was assembled vertically after which I could use the first strip as base for the other ones. Initially, I used clamps for each piece, but due to only having four clamps, this would take very long time why I shifted to straps to keep the pressure on the strips during the glue drying time.
During assembly, I also put a thin piece of wooden board underneath the strips to have them fixed 4 mm above the ground, this creates a nice floating look.
Coming to the end, place the final strips without glueing them to the bones. There is a high risk that you will remain with a gap, but fear not. Instead, measure the gap, subtract the gap from the width of one strip, and subtract the value by the numbers of strips, this is how much material you should remove from the final strips to get a perfect fit. I.e in my case, there was a gap of 10 mm. If I subtract the width 32 mm by 10, the sun is 20 mm which I need to make room for. As I had 5 non fixed strips, I need to remove 20/5 = 4 mm from the 5 non fixed strips. Note, the sixth strip which you made room for should be kept at the standard width.
Step 8: Mating to the Table Top
As I want the single leg to be reversible to the three legs, I decided that T-nuts would be the best fixing method.
Before fixing the brackets to the leg, I decided to paint the brackets with a left over spray can I had. The paint matched surprisingly good well. Probably, no-one will look under the table, but it’s a good feeling knowing even the details look nice. To further perfect the project, I used a router to sink the brackets into the leg, but if you do not have a router, you can skip this. Next, pre-drill the leg and fix the bracket using screws.
Next, place the table slab on the leg, and mark the bracket holes to know where you need to drill holes to attach the T-nuts. After having drilled the holes, hammer the T-nuts in and place the table slab back on the leg and screws the brackets to the table slab, and voila, it’s done.
UPDATE: In hindsight and as also recommended by ariekaptein, screw nuts would have been better to use.
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