I am making a table for my dungeons and dragons group. This is the second version of my table, here was my first. https://i.sstatic.net/ZzmPA.jpg For my first table I used 3.5" fence post legs because the table wasn't going anywhere, and it was cheap and easy to cut the post to fit what I needed. This makes the people sitting at the end have limited leg space however. Below is a picture of my next design. It measures 72" x 54" x 5". I would like to maximize leg space, without compromising the stability of the table. With 6-8 people around the table, leaning on it during gameplay, and a TV mounted in the middle, can I place the legs at the corners of the TV? Would it still be stable? What is the smallest diameter legs I can use without to maintain stability? Am I forced to place the legs at the outside corners?enter image description here

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    Hi, welcome to StackExchange. "What is the smallest diameter legs I can use...?" This is impossible to answer without other things being decided on either together or in advance. If you'll be sticking around for more queries please try to ask one thing per Q as this is the SE model. You can sometimes tack on a secondary query, but it must be directly related to the first (however always think whether it would be better asked separately). It's absolutely fine to ask multiple Questions, even at the same time, but consider if doing them sequentially would work better.
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2 Answers 2


Moving the legs toward the center creates a greater risk of the table tipping over. This is a significant concern with so many people leaning on it. Think of what happens if more than one or two people on the same side are placing weight on the top at the same time.

The obvious traditional answer has been the pedestal table with a center post supporting the top. That design style will use braces near the floor extending from the center pedestal out in four directions to create a stable base to resist the tipping forces above. To make this type of design effective the top, pedestal and leg braces must all be well secured to each other and extend out towards the outer edges of the top. In addition, the depth of the top and bottom cross braces should be 3" to 4" deep to properly transfer the loads from horizontal to vertical and back to horizontal.

Of course, you can dress up the design details to suite your style, but the basic structure should be maintained.Pedestal concept


With 6-8 people around the table, leaning on it during gameplay, and a TV mounted in the middle, can I place the legs at the corners of the TV?

Maybe. That's as much as can be said due to the variables.

It would clearly be better if the legs were positioned near the table corners, as in a conventional table. This is why they're near the corners traditionally.

But you could get away with having them mounted much further in than the convention, depending on other factors. Some of these factors that you haven't mentioned (and possibly haven't considered) which are relevant to the issue of stability:

  • Whether the legs are straight or can have splay.
  • How stiff the legs are.
  • How firmly the legs attach to the top.
  • Whether you include aprons, and if so how deep they are.
  • Whether some lower rails are acceptable.

Splaying the legs gives more stability for any given table design.

Stiffness of the legs is of course partly a function of thickness/diameter1, but material is of vital importance also — there's a rough rule of thumb that if you convert a plan from hardwood to pine you have to double the thickness of most pieces. Same principle holds in reverse.

Aprons increase stiffness/rigidity at the top end (why they're part of conventional table design) and can significantly aid overall stability.

Rails ditto the above for the lower end, which is why they're seen frequently in slim-legged tables, and included in so many stool designs.

So to summarise:

  • if you can use hardwood for the legs,
  • splay them,
  • attach them solidly to an apron2,
  • firmly fix said apron to the top (v. easy),
  • and include at least two rails on the long axis (four, at two heights, would be better),

you stand a much better chance of the table being stable enough than many other options.

But, there's no way to be sure in advance whether it'll be successful and prototyping it might not be economically viable for a one-off.

One other option to consider, a plywood pedestal
You're already familiar with torsion-box construction, this is just an extension of that.

Even if confined to the dimensions of the TV as you hope for, this might do away with all worries about being sufficiently stable. Particularly if weighted at the floor end.

  • It doesn't have to be fully enclosed (i.e. in could have cutouts) to give some legroom into the centre.
  • Firm fixing to the tabletop is a snap, just screw through the top into the plywood of the tabletop. Screws can be short, but numerous and give equal hold to fewer much longer screws that go into the framing pieces within the torsion box.
  • Cheap, for the rigidity/stability.

1 Assuming wood here naturally. With metal legs it's a function of shape (cross section) and wall thickness.

2 Note that the apron pieces don't also have to be hardwood as in a more conventional table. As they're out of sight and aesthetics presumably aren't too vital they could be plywood if necessary.

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