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I'm building a dining table and I try to follow the "form follows function" philosophy. I need to decide what type of edge to put on my table (round over, bullnose, ogee, beveled, etc). I know I at least want a slight round over to prevent edge splintering, but other than that do edge profiles even matter, from a functional perspective? Are they purely aesthetic, or do they affect the comfort of the guests? Is end grain affected? Some work better as drip edges?

  • As far as I know its all aesthetics! – Ashlar Sep 30 '18 at 20:10
  • Ogee is the worst type to hit your head on, I nearly lost an eye when I hit my head on a coffee table with an roman ogee edge. Do you expect children to be playing roughly around the table? – Stephen Meschke Oct 1 '18 at 0:24
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    You've nailed the key points in the Question, it's mostly an aesthetic thing with a small component of practical considerations, e.g. if it needs to have a working drip edge. The main thing to always avoid in functional furniture, for multiple reasons, is a too-sharp arris. "I know I at least want a slight round over to prevent edge splintering" a chamfer can achieve the same end, but often just an eased edge is sufficient. – Graphus Oct 1 '18 at 12:30
  • On his show, Roy Underhill seemed to imply that a bead was a way to protect an edge while still maintaining a squared profile. I'm not sure I agree with that, since the bead looks much busier to me, but it's something to keep in mind :) For me I'd want to make sure that a table edge had no way to really catch and hold debris/spills (which eliminates using a bead!) – aaron Oct 1 '18 at 13:53
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We have a live edge table with a lot of the flat part of the table being some 2 inches in from the bottom of the live edge. Several times this has caused things to fall off the table, as it keeps people from sitting closer.

This is an extreme case.

As a kid we had a table with an ogee edge. That edge was narrow enough that it was easy to nick.

My take: The actual edge should be rounded to about 3/16 to 1/4" radius.

the edge face should be parallel to the backs of the chairs so that someone slides in a chair too fast, it distributes the impact over more wood, avoiding nicks.

For interest, use a different colour of wood, set into the edge. This gives you a replaceable strip if there is damage.

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