How to Engineer an Expanding Tabletop
A clever mechanism makes it easy to outfit any table with an expanding top
When it comes to building an expanding table, there are several ways to get the job done. Butterfly tables store the leaves beneath the top. When the top is pulled apart, the leaves swing up and unfold. It’s a beautiful solution but difficult to build. Perhaps the most common method is a top that pulls apart to accept leaves which simply drop into place, but that means storing the leaves in a dusty closet until they’re required.
Furniture maker Tommy MacDonald conceived of a hybrid solution. Two expansion leaves, one under each end, are pulled out from under the top on angled rails. It’s a solution that’s easy to construct, and allows for all the parts to rest within the table. That means no more trips to the closet for those extra leaves when company arrives.
Learn how the mechanism works with this short animation.