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I have two identical 66" long tables with stationary pedestal bases. The table tops slide apart to accept one 24" leaf in the middle resulting in tables that are 90" long.

I'd like to modify one of the tables so that it expands beyond 90" to 170", and accept 3 additional leaves. In all, the 4 leaves will span 104".

What type of table sliders (rails) should I get and how should they be placed. How far apart should I place the pedestals?

Additioanl details in case they are important:

I plan to make the extra leaves by cannibalizing the other table top.

The tables are 42" wide.

Each stationary pedestal is 30" x 24" x 26" length, width height.

I believe the tables are made of white oak.

Here are some pictures.

Base

Table top

Tapered corner

Equalized sliders

Leaf

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This is an enormous table. I think the question needs more info. What's the table made of? What do you mean that the pedestals are 30" long? Do you mean 30" high? –  Henry Jackson Jul 24 '13 at 2:46
    
A picture might go a long way here. –  Edwin Jul 24 '13 at 3:50
    
Wow MEGATABLE. Have you thought about making a "+" shaped table? –  DMoore Jul 24 '13 at 4:59
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@DMoore It is an interesting idea, but my dining room is not wide enough fr that. –  dmr Jul 24 '13 at 5:38
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3 Answers

Short answer, vertical and strong. I have an old Saginaw Expand-o-Matic that opens from 24" to 90" and is designed to only use the end legs, no middle support. Not sure where you could find this hardware today though.

enter image description here

You want the sliders to be vertical because the majority of the stress will be vertical stress of the table and contents weight. It also helps load balance because you'll need more than one slider to more than double your expansion and positioned vertically, your contact points are all on the same level.

An alternative is leafed ends, so the base/original table would remain the same but you could add on leaf ends, you can either have them hinged and permanently attached or be small stand alone tables that are add-ons. You'd need to make clean edges on the original table or route out the reverse of the rounded corners into the leaves/add-ons.

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I can't find any hardware that expands as long as i need, and the longest ones i found all say that they require additional legs for support. –  dmr Jul 24 '13 at 15:00
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42 inch Closed ... For up to 135" of leaves ..."

http://www.moinhardware.com/page15/page15.html

enter image description here

... OR ...

check out the table demo at 3:22 into this video:

http://vimeo.com/55389782

also here:

http://www.resourcefurniture.com/space-savers/space-saving-tables/goliath

"...extends from 17” to 115” utilizing a unique aluminum telescoping mechanism."

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Not quite what you're looking for, but one option would be to cut the bevels off one end of each table, and join them together with pins, mending braces and glue. You'd need to really carefully plane the cut edges down to get a nice join.

Then you could just continue to use the leafs as designed.

The only drawback is that you'd have a 120" long table in the collapsed state.

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I would like to try this first as it seems to be simplest and cheapest. If it does not work out as well as I would like i can always try one of the other answers afterward. The rails from monihardware in addition to being expensive, they would need extra supports when expanded beyond 60 inches. What type of saw and saw blade should I use to cut off the ends of the tables? What is the best way to plane them down and what type of glue would I need? –  dmr Jul 28 '13 at 19:20
    
Use a table saw with a fine blade and go slow. You don't want to be chipping the finished surface. Then I'd rent a power planer to take it down another 1/4 inch. Ideally, you'd use a table planer, but this could be hard to find. –  Chris Cudmore Jul 29 '13 at 12:38
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