Drop Leaf Tables

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rail into the underside of the top. If the rail is narrow and thick enough the screw is set straight through it. If, however, it is a wide rail the screws are driven in recesses cut for them on the inner side. Most tables are too large to admit of this method. A top fastened as jttsi described is held fast to the frame so if shrinkage takes place there is a strain somewhere that may result in a cracked top. To ailow for any movement that may occur short blocks having a tongue that fits securely in a groove cut 011 the inner side or the table frame are screwed to the underside of the top. These blocks hold the top firmly in position and yet if a shrinkage takes place they are free to move in the grooved frame.

Tables are frequently provided with a drawer either in the frame or hung beneath the top on cleats. How drawers are made, and the different kinds, are described in Chapter V.

There are occasions that require a table larger than it is convenient to keep standing continually in a room. In early times when tables were nothing more than boards resting on trestles, if they were not needed, the board was turned up against the wall and the trestles stowed away- When the top and the supports became fastened together methods were invented for reducing the size of the table, that it might not take up too much space; or for enlarging it for special purposes. One of these methods is the use of leaves or flaps, that fold down against the side of the legs. Two things are to be observed in such tables; the way the leaves are hinged, and how they are supported when raised.

In cheap work die edges of the leaves and top, where they meet, are cut straight and square, forming a plain joint, and the leaf is hung with a hinge on the underside. Plate IV., No. 1. When hung in this way a small crack is seen between the top and the leaf as the latter hangs down, and the hinge also shows.

In better work both these things are considered faults and to avoid them the rule joint is used. Plate IV., No. 2. This joint is made by moulding both the edge of the leaf and the top where they meet; the moulding 011 the leaf being the reverse of that on the top. The top is cut with a projecting tongue rounded like a quarter cylinder, and the leaf is hollowed to receive it. The hinges are sunk into the underside of the top and leaf with their center corresponding with the center of the quarter round moulding of the meeting edges. Then, as the leaf swings up or down its rebated edge fits snugly against the moulded edge of the top. The hinge is practically concealed and there is no open joint.

There arc small tables made with two leaves hinged in a similar way to that just described, so when both are down the table is no wider than the cylinder plus the thickness of the leaves.

Leaves may be supported by brackets attached to the frame and swinging out under them. The brackets may be hung with metal hinges, but better ways are illustrated on Plate IV., Nos. 3 and 4. These drawings show folding brackets somewhat similar in construction made by fastening to the side rail of the table frame a block with one end cut so as to interlock with one end of the bracket. A metal pin through the two pieces where they interlock serves as an axis on which the bracket turns. In No. 3, the finger joint, the corners of the working parts are bevelled off that the bracket may turn. In No. 4, the knuckle joint, they are rounded so the parts fit closely and are in contact in whatever position the bracket may be. The finger joint can be made the strongest as more wood may be left between the pin axis and the ends of the tongues than in the other. The knuckle joint is considered the neatest, but it is more difficult 10 construct, and as the bracket is hidden from view the difference in appearance does not warrant its use.

Sometimes when the depth of the frame will permit a portion of it may be cut so as to swing on a pin at the middle, and thus when turned at right angles to the frame one half is beneath the top, the rest acting as a support for the leaf. Plate IV., No. 5.

Bracket supports are not strong, and a table with a large leaf is unstable. To obviate this tables are made with a leg that swings out under the leaf giving it support, and stability to the table. When such a table has a stretcher the movable leg is strengthened by fastening it to a hinged bracket at the stretcher level in addition to the one on the frame. Another way of supporting drop leaves is to arrange slides that may be pulled out from the table frame beneath the leaves when they are raised.

The tables described thus far have the top fixed, but there are those \viih the tops pivoted so when they are turned about the pivot a quarter way round the leaves will be supported by the frame of the table, which in the revolved position of the top, lies beneath them. Two varieties of this style are illustrated on Plate V. The first is an old style drop-leaf table pivoted at the middle of the top. By raising both leaves and turning the top on its pivot the ends of the frame are brought beneath the leaves to support them. The second table is in more common use. The top is of two parts, of the same size


and shape, hinged together so one pan folds over on the other. W hen folded the top is but half the size it is when open, and can be turned on the pivot to a position over one end of the frame with the hinged edge directly across the middle. The upper leaf may then be unfolded and will rest on the other end of the frame. Such tables are uStiallv square, when open, and are spoken of as card tables.

The hinges used for joining the tvvo parts of the top are not ordinary butts. They are of a special form, as will be seen from the adjoining illustration, and are placed at each end of the leaves with the screws driven into the edges. This avoids the appearance of any objectionable metal work on the surface of the table top, as would be the case if ordinary butts were used with their entire flaps exposed to view. The card-table hinge has no projecting knuckle above the surface of the table, as its parts,* instead of turning on a single pin, are joined by a link turning on a pin in each flap of the hinge. This link is flush with the edge of the table when the leaves are closed, and flush with the top when they are open. There are other forms of this hinge available.

Other ways of increasing the size of tables are shown on Plate VI. These are extension tables.

The upper one is the old "draw-table," and is not used much now. A study of the drawings will show that the leaves enlarging the table are slides that pull out from beneath the top. Each slide is about half the length of the top, so the table is nearly doubled in length when both are pulled out. It should be noted, too, that to be of service the slide must be pulled out its full length, otherwise the top and slide are no: on the same level. This means that there are but two changes in size for this kind of a table. Either it is increased by the whole of one leaf or by both. The top of the table is not solidly fastened to the frame, but is free to move vertically, a little, though prevented from moving in any other direction by keys fastened to its underside and passing through a rail, the same thickness as the leaves, fastened





to the frame. Each slide lias two bearing pieces fastened to its underside, one at each end. The bearing pieces are as long as the frame of the table, or a little longer, and when the slide is drawn out one end of them bears against the underside of the rail to which the top is keyed, while their lower edge rests on the frame of the table, notched to receive it. They are cut at the proper bevel, so when drawn out the top and slide are on a level, and the slide is held securely in place against the edge of the top.

The common extension table is familiar to every one. The illustration presents it in the simplest form. It is really a table with a telescopic frame, and provided with extra sections of a top that may be added till the frame is extended its full length. The leaves are made of sizes from twelve inches to twenty wide, and the tables are made to extend as desired, the average being from twelve to sixteen feet.

Each manufacturer has his own method of constructing the telescopic frame, or slides as they are called, the differences depending on patented devices for holding the slides together. The principle, however, is the same in all. Plate VI. illustrates a section through two slides showing one device. The sides of the slides are grooved to receive keys that dovetail them together. Each slide when pulled out to the extreme laps over those adjoining it about one-third, and stops are provided to prevent their being separated more than this. The slides are of wood, an inch and a half to two inches thick, nearly as wide as the table frame is deep and about as long as the underside of the table, when closed, will permit. The number of slides depends on the length to which the table is to be extended. -There are two sets; an odd number on each side of the table. The outer pair are screwed firmly to the underside of one-halt' of the top, and the inner pair to the other half. All the slides, except these, are free to move. As most tables extend too much for the slides to support the weight at the middle, it is usual to provide a center leg. This leg is fastened to the middle of a transverse rail screwed securely to the middle slide of each group.

The frame of the table when extended is separated at the middle, and if a cloth cover is not used the slides are exposed to view. This interrupted frame is unsightly, and each leaf may be provided with its section of frame so that when in place no gap is left between the extended ends. There are card tables made so two of the legs and one side can be pulled out to support a leaf when it is open. They are small extension tables, the frame itself forming a part of the slides.

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