All about that Base

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I am making an extra large table. This table is a board gaming table for a friend and will have a center hexagon covered in red gaming-suede which sits within another wood hexagon trimmed with 3.5” oak and stained using my goto GF Java Gel Stain (see my Products I Love Page). The larger hexagon measures 77” at its longest point. We brainstormed for a while about what type of base to use. Obviously a leg at each vertex of the hexagon would be the most stable. But the legs would also be a bit in the way, not to mention that it just won’t look special. And this table needs a base to compliment the high-end materials and detail used in the top.

If you know or follow me, you know I like old things. Solid wood old things are my jam. So I looked on some local sites for a pedestal that could work. And I found this beauty.

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It had a 52” top attached that was in really bad shape but that we didn’t need anyways! The structure of the piece was solid. So just 1 more obstacle…the pedestal’s footprint. It measured 42” from the tip of one leg to the tip of the opposite leg. After doing some research, most people agree that the table top to base ratio should be at least 1:.666. This means that the base can be up to a third smaller than the top. The old top was well within in ratio. However, our ratio with our 77” top is 1:.55. Definitely not good enough. I had some ideas on how to enlarge the base footprint but my husband’s idea was way better. He suggested putting a block between the pedestal and the leg. I immediately knew that this idea would look the least like a hack and may actually look intentional if done correctly. And here begins my saga…

I had to keep with the oak theme so I bought a 4x4x8 of oak at Menards. I need to lengthen each leg by at least 5”, so I cut the 4x4x8 in half and glued it to itself making a 4x8x4 (or really 3.5”x7”x4’). I needed like 4-10” blocks, so cut the 4’ piece to give me 4-3.5”x7”x10” pieces. Now the fun part…the legs have 2-5/16” rods embedded into them which go through two corresponding holes in the pedestal and secured with washers/nuts in the hollow part of the pedestal. So the plan was to drill 2 holes through the block and attach a coupling nut to both the leg and a 7” threaded rod that would go through the new block and into the pedestal.

Problem #1: Nothing at 2 hardware stores would thread onto the rods encased in the legs. I took them to a specialty hardware store and got them all cleaned up and they finally were able to screw on a coupling nut. They of course only had 7 in stock so I had to hunt around online for 1 more (which took much longer than I thought it would). I paid 0.30$ for nut and 7$ for shipping 😏. I digress, problem #1, Solved!

Problem #2: Drilling 2-1/2” holes through a piece of 7” oak without a drillpress. 🤔. My idea was to use my plunge router to get through the first 3 inches, then use the hole I made as a guide with a long drill bit (I had a really long 3/8” bit) to get through the rest. Then widen the hole on both ends with a half inch drill bit. This worked for 1 hole. The other hole, not so much. I was 1/4” off on the exit hole. Luckily, these holes do not need to be a certain size since they are just a passageway for the rods. So I just drilled out the hole until I got the leg to fit. Don’t let me fool you, it took like 2 hours to get the leg with the coupling nuts to fit into my holes. Was not happy ☹️ I finally decided on buying a drill block and a long 1/2” drill bit. This worked much better. I was off like 1/8” on 1 hole. On my final hole, I drilled right through the pad on my Irwin clamp that was clamping my drill block…argh!!! But anyways, Problem #2, Solved. After having my husband cut the threaded rod into 7” pieces and routing a nice profile on the blocks, I could finally put all the pieces together.

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After one more coat of stain on the outer part of the old legs, you won’t even be able to tell that the block isn’t original unless you look super close! My new ratio is 1:.73…this table will not tip. I added some heavy duty leveling feet as well to complete the base. Next step, trimming/finishing the table top!

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