A History of Table Leaves Part II

 

Modern table leaves can be split into two categories: self-storing and non-self-storing. When designing a table, several factors dictate what type of leaf can be used as well as whether or not it can be self-stored.

 

Non-self-storing

The primary considerations for whether or not a removable leaf can be self-stored is the style of table base, its mounting plate, and the length and placement of table glides required to fit the number of leaves.

A good example of when the table base doesn’t allow for self-storage is our Dawson Pedestal Table. The leaf is a rectangular shape to allow the table to convert from a 54” round to a 66” oval. When in the closed round position, there simply isn’t space for a 12” wide surface to hide beneath the curve of the circle.

Dawson WT Dining – Pedestal Round to Oval

To assure the best longevity for your table with this style of extension, the leaf should be stored flat. Storing a leaf standing on end perpendicular to the floor, instead of horizontal, can lead to warping. Ideally, one is able to store the leaf in the same room as the table so that the wood in both pieces is subjected to the same humidity and temperature ranges. This allows the wood to contract and expand with the same frequency and degree, assuring that the leaf and the table join well for many years to come.

 

Self-Storing

The majority of A-America’s table leaves self-store in one way or another. This avoids having to find extra space to store the leaves and conveniently keeps all your pieces together. Self-storing leaves are designed in several ways.

Removable Leaf

When the table is fully opened, these leaves are able to fit on storage rails underneath the main table top, which is then closed to secret them away from view. To make storing and retrieval easier, A-America’s leaves have folding aprons.

Mission Hill Dining – trestle with  in-table leaf storage

 

Versa-Table

For the largest of gatherings, A-America developed a unique nesting table leg design to allow it to expand from 61” to an impressive 132”. Three 23.3” table leaves store in the belly of the table, making it easy to go from an intimate seating for four up to a celebration with twelve.

Toluca Chalk White Dining – expands to seat from 4 to 12 with in-table leaf storage

Drop Leaf

The most common style is also the earliest design, yet still used today: the drop leaf. The leaf is attached to the main table top by hinges and usually has a support that glides out underneath when the leaf is in use to provide strength and stability. Drop leaves are well-suited to rooms where space is at a premium and come in a variety of designs. They are usually scaled to fit two to four chairs and even a round top can tuck up closely to a wall and out of the way.

 

The classic design is shown here on the A-America British Isles.


A less common design is the flip-top table. Instead of folding down and hanging perpendicular to the floor, the leaves fold up. When closed, the leaves cover the main top to create a new surface. These excellently double as a sofa or console table for the most compact usage and when open, add dining or even generously sized serving space.

Brooklyn Heights – Flip Top Table

 

A-America offers a unique take on the drop leaf with our patent pending Brooklyn Heights table. Four leaves fold up all the way to latch under the top, leaving the space free and clear for your legs. When closed, the Brooklyn Heights presents a compact 36” square surface. The wooden hinge creates a geometric accent in the middle of the attractive lined table edge. For more space, unfold one, two, three, or all four leaves to create one of our most adaptable dining tables up to 60” deep.

 

 Brooklyn Heights – Drop Leaf Table

Butterfly Leaf

The center seam on a butterfly leaf allows it to fold and stack back on itself before pivoting under the table top for storage.  When expanding a leaf to insert into place, one can easily see how it got it’s name. The butterfly leaf is nearly invisible when closed yet, due to A-America’s hinged folding aprons, creates a consistent table silhouette when in use.


Eastwood Dining – Butterfly Leaf 

Tables can accommodate multiple butterfly leaves, as shown here in the popular Mariposa series.

Mariposa RT trestle featuring 3 butterfly leaves