I am building a dining table similar to this one -

enter image description here

The problem, if you apply some pressure, the opposite ends lift up. In fact, that box underneath itself lifts up. One way is to add a big plate underneath the box. That will help. But with that the aesthetics completely changes.

Any alternate ideas?

  • 3
    Either the base needs to be made MUCH heavier than the table top, or you need to fasten the base to the floor.
    – mbeckish
    Oct 15 '14 at 18:35
  • 2
    ...it looks "unusual" because it's unstable. If the aesthetic you want is a table that looks like it will fall over you need to do something fairly drastic to have it not fall over. I'd go with the @mbeckish, and suggest "fasten to the floor" actually be threaded rods going from the table top through the floor and a cross-bar below the joists, so you can clamp the tabletop to the joists by tightening up the rods. I doubt you could get enough weight in the bottom to make it stable even if you loaded it with tungsten, unless perhaps the top was veneer over foam rather than solid wood.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 15 '14 at 19:04
  • @Ecnerwal: A cubic foot of lead -- far less dense than tungsten -- is six hundred pounds. I'd think that would do it, and it looks like you could easily fit a cubic foot into the table base. Oct 15 '14 at 19:14
  • @Ecnerwal the table top and base has been built from a 19mm plyboard. Making the base heavy seems possible. Since it is hollow, I see a quick dirty solution to be filling it with loads of bricks.
    – arjun
    Oct 15 '14 at 19:17
  • I would personally get a hold of the maker of the table. Obviously you spent money on it because of how it looks. A table should not be a safety hazard. Sold in mass this would be recalled so I think the maker either needs to take it back or come up with a plan to strengthen the base.
    – DMoore
    Oct 16 '14 at 3:21

If the base is hollow and open at the bottom, I would try making it slide around something heavy. Make a concrete block or something that will fit fairly tightly inside the base. Make it a bit shorter than the base to ensure the table goes all the way to the floor.

Then when you setup the table you sit the block on the floor, lift up the table and slide it down on the block.

If it fits nice and snuggly, pushing on the table will try to tip the block as well.

To me this sounds better than filling the base because eventually, someone is going to have to move that table. It is going to be much easier to carry up a flight of stairs if you have 2 pieces - a large but relatively light table, and a heavy but small concrete block. You might even make some handholds in the block to make it easier.

  • This would be a very neat solution.
    – arjun
    Oct 16 '14 at 12:13

Solutions in which the table cannot easily move:

  • Make a base plate, as you suggest. But route out a section of your floor and make the base plate closely resemble the floor, then set the whole thing into the routed-out hole.
  • Get several L-shaped brackets and use them to bolt the table to the floor. Ugly.
  • Make the base hollow with a secretly removable panel. Hide the L brackets inside the base of the table.
  • Get access from below, and run long screws or bolts through the ceiling of the room below into the bottom of the table.

Solutions in which the table can move with some difficulty:

  • Go to a gun store and purchase let's say three to six hundred pounds of lead shot. Fill the base with shot. A bit expensive -- Amazon has lead shot for two dollars a pound if you buy it in 50 pound sacks -- but easily done.
  • I have build the table top and the hollow base from 19mm plyboard(i will put veneer over that). One dirt cheap solution which came to my mind was to fill the hollow base with loads of bricks. ;)
    – arjun
    Oct 15 '14 at 19:19
  • I agree with the suggestion to weight the base. Note that for stability you want to keep the weight fairly low in the base anyway. Personally, I wouldn't use lead shot -- lead is toxic, after all -- but bricks are certainly worth trying. As was said in the comments, stability is the reason you don't see this sort of design more often...
    – keshlam
    Oct 15 '14 at 23:51
  • Filling the base will require a base plate and internal structure to support and transfer the loads in order to resist overturning.
    – user23752
    Oct 16 '14 at 4:02
  • I have to try that. Base plate and the surround now needs to be very strong to take the high downward load.
    – arjun
    Oct 16 '14 at 4:34
  • 1
    @keshlam: Good point. The original suggestion of tungsten is problematic as it is also toxic. You could use gold instead; it's just as heavy as lead and way less toxic. Slightly more expensive though. Maybe bricks are indeed the best choice. Oct 16 '14 at 5:08

Fasten it to the floor. A table designed like this really needs to be secured. Remove the table from its base and attach it to the floor joists with brackets, from the inside (find those joists or it may pull up the flooring). Unless you're going to bevel-in a removable decorative center piece (to allow access inside the pillar and a means to attach the top) you will have to attach it with brackets that will show on the underside of the tabletop.

It's better than being the one whose house has that-table-that-fell-on-me. Filling it with lead is an awesome suggestion but keep in mind that the shipping will be half the cost ($50 for 25lb, delivered). Bricks will not be heavy enough, not even granite block (they would just make it hurt more when it lands on your foot).

What happens when someone who weighs 250lbs sits on the edge of your two foot lever? A thousand dollars worth of lead may or may not come crashing down. Or if you happen to be there and had used brackets, you can ask them not to sit on your table.

  • I've installed conference tables designed like this where the pillar was poured concrete rebared into the floor. Anything less would have been unacceptable in a commercial setting. Tables falling over and hurting people in your home should be likewise.
    – Mazura
    Oct 16 '14 at 8:07

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