Drop Leaf Tables
There are occasions that require a table larger than it is convenient to keep standing continually in a dining room or kitchen. 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 table 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 the 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. 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. See No. 2. This joint is made by moulding both the edge of the leaf and the top where they meet; the moulding on 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 are 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 in the diagram., 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 to 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 or bases 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. See 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.
Next is pivot top tables.
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