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I made a table and two benches for my daughter but because the benches are so skinny and I made the legs going straight down, it tips over pretty easily.... how can I stabilize this without completely ruining the aesthetic of the bench?enter image description here

Thanks for all your great suggestions! I think I’m just going to connect the benches and table to make it a more stationary picnic table/bench!

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  • Because I presume you can't add weight lower down to try to improve stability a wide foot seems the only option, but with the bench being so skinny I'm not sure if a foot that matches the width of the seat is going to be enough (and you may feel this in itself ruins the aesthetics). Also, from experience with something else, a foot that projects beyond the top 'footprint' may prove annoying to users (toe-stub danger!) so you may have to do it but still accept it won't provide a full solution. – Graphus Feb 23 at 7:00
  • I'm sure it's an artifact of the lens and the angle of your picture, but it looks like the two legs on the near end are actually pointing toward each other. If that's the case, that would add significantly to the instability. – FreeMan Feb 25 at 17:29
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how can I stabilize this without completely ruining the aesthetic of the bench?

Assuming that you don't want to fasten it to the floor or install powerful magnets or a massive flywheel, you need to widen the bench's footprint. Often, the legs are splayed outward to accomplish that, but since your bench is already done you might prefer to add a piece under the legs at each end, as in this bench:

Bench from thebenchfactory.com

You could use the same kind of wood that you used in the bench so that the feet are clearly part of the bench, or you could paint the feet to match the floor, or use a dark or neutral color so that the bench looks separate from the feet. Also, you could use steel plates instead of wood to minimize the change in height and add some weight at the bottom. Experiment with plywood or MDF first to determine how wide the feet need to be in order to achieve the level of stability you want.

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    When you install the 2 strips, you could round the front and back ends to complement the rounds of the top and of the legs. – John Canon Feb 23 at 22:07
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It's up to you to determine the aesthetic, however, if your daughter is tipping over regularly, you might consider redoing the legs completely to give them a splay outward to prevent her from hurting herself. I would think that would override aesthetic considerations.

If you were to angle each leg so the outer edge was directly in line with the top of the bench above it, I think it would still look good, and that should add a reasonable amount of stability.

With some careful disassembly, you could even salvage these legs to use in another project.

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  • The OP has chosen their solution but I'm curious how you would envisage splayed legs being implemented here, given the holes in the top? – Graphus 2 days ago
  • Wouldn't be easy, but once new legs are cut the tenons could be cut at an angle to them. Would be easier with square tenons, but obviously square peg != round hole. – FreeMan 2 days ago
  • Wouldn't be easy, I'll say! 2 1/2 or maybe 3" diameter angled round tenons? The original stock would have to be huge, unless a lamination were used. – Graphus yesterday
  • Never said it would be easy, just possible. Tossing out an idea that may help solve the "daughter tips the bench over and hurts herself" problem. Some people go to great lengths to prevent any and all injury to their kids. Other people let their kids experience minor, age appropriate injury/failure and use it as a teaching opportunity. ;) – FreeMan yesterday
  • Yes I get that, sorry what I was getting at is when something is suggested at least some guidance on how to implement it should be provided. – Graphus 16 hours ago

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