End Leaves on a Dining Table

Dining tables with extending leaves on the end are called "refectory tables," and information on how to make them is not hard to find. March 4, 2009

I have a client that I'm building a 9' dining table that she wants to be able to extend to 12'. My idea is to have leaves that sit under the top at the ends and pull out, and then up and lock even with the top. Does anyone know where I can get hardware to do this? I've been through Rockler and the usual suspects and everyone knows what I'm talking about, but nobody knows where to get the hardware. I've seen metal kitchen tables from the 1930's and 40's that did this, but never looked at the hardware. Any help is appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor J:
I've got a mass-produced table that uses special hardware to do this, but I don't know of a source for it. On the bright side, you don't really need special hardware to accomplish this. Look up an old Tage Frid article about dutch pullout tables, called designing for dining.

From contributor T:
That's called a refectory table.

From contributor R:
Refectory table is right on or "dutch pull out". There is a fine woodworking article by Tage Frid that explains in great detail how to make the mechanism. You can build it, and it is relatively simple.

From the original questioner:
The article explains why no one knew about the hardware - it's just two tapered wooden slides that you can make in a few minutes with a tapering jig.

From contributor S:
I have been asked to build a similar table. How are you treating the table ends (breadboard) and the grain of the extensions?

From the original questioner:
I'm going to frame the whole top. What I mean is the main part of the top will be two pieces with an 8/4 frame all the way around. Then 4/4 boards biscuited together and floating in dados in the frame. The same treatment goes for the two 18" leaves. This should allow for enough wood movement - kind of like a raised panel door in a way.

I've built tables with breadboard ends and won't do it again. I have a 7' cherry shaker table that serves as our dining room table, and the bread board ends only line up with the rest of the top in May every year - when it was built.