Extendable Dutch Pull-Out Tables

Dutch pull-out (or draw leaf / stow leaf /refectory tables as they are sometimes called) were popular designs in the mid 1900s particularly in Scandinavia. This style of table has extension pieces that are built into the table and are pulled out from each end.

Dutch pull-out tables are a clever design idea and do not require storage of extension leaves separately to the table. I have just finished building one and only now fully understand how fiddly they can be to get adjusted correctly. There are two main styles of mechanism used for the pull-out runners - tapered runners and routed slots.

Tapered Runners

The tapered runners lift the table top as the leaves are extended and then the top drops back down once fully extended as shown in the diagram below.

Tapered Runner Mechanism (Tage Frid)

Tapered Runner Mechanism

Routed Slots

The routed slot mechanism uses metal rollers that run inside slotted runners. As the table leaf is extended it remains at the same level as its storage height. The extension is then lifted and pushed back towards the main table slightly to lock it in place. The Dutch pull-out table I made was of this style. The photo below shows the runner installed under the table.

Pull-out mechanism


An advantage of the Dutch pull-out style extendable tables is that the extension leaves are stored integrally with the table. Also the table size can be increased significantly. The table shown below extended from 1500mm long when compressed to 2500mm long - an addition of 2/3 the standard table length when extended.

The main downsides to this style of table are that they are quite heavy if solid timber is used (not so much for veneer) and there is some flex in the table ends. The flex comes from the fact that the main table is cantilevered from the middle supported section and the extension pieces are cantilevered from the apron. Using runners with enough cross section to prevent excessive deflection helps, but there will always be some deflection with this table design. The deflection is not a major issue and unless you are planning on sitting on the leaves when extended will not cause any issues.

Dutch pull-out tables are becoming quite popular again. It goes to show that good design will outlast the latest fickle trends.

 Dutch pull-out dining table      

 Above is the table recently completed for a client.




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