The pedestal table is one of the most useful of tables when used in the breakfast room or kitchen. In the formal dining room a double pedestal table is quite common with excellent eye appeal. It is also one of the most attractive designs for occasional tables and game tables, as well as end tables.
Pedestal tables reached the height of popularity during the early 19th century. Unfortunately, the weakness of the design often led to extremely stocky and bulky pedestals. Again in the 1950’s pedestal designs became popular, mainly as updated reproductions of earlier forms.
The Base of the Pedestal Table
Proportion and weight is one key to a well made pedestal table. The base must be sufficient to support the table top. Optimally, the base should appear about half the size of the table top when using a single pedestal. This does not mean that the base platform should be solid, but the “legs” from the base should be adequate to support the table so that it does not tip over if weight is applied to the edge of the top surface. Often the weight of the base will come into play. Keep in mind the theory about the center of gravity. The lower the weight in the pedestal the better, in most cases.
While the pedestal base may extend from the base itself, with either three legs or more there will be ample room for guests to comfortably surround the table while seated.
Formal dining room tables, which are often larger for more seating than the breakfast table or the kitchen table, often have a double pedestal to add support to the surface.
The Pedestal Table Top and Braces
The surface of the table or the table top should be solid wood, not a particle board with a veneer, as the table top supports are a key part of the pedestal table and its support. Ordinarily, the brace beneath the table top will extend like arms beneath the underside to offer support. If the brace is too short, weight added to the edges of the table can literally rip the top from the braces.
When shopping for a pedestal table for dining purposes, it is incumbent upon the buyer to make certain that the base is adequate and that the braces beneath the surface area are sufficient to support the table.
Buying a Used Pedestal Table in a Thrift Store or at Auction
When shopping for a used pedestal table or when buying at auction, the buyer should be absolutely certain that the table top does not curve or bow. A table that has been in storage for a period of time may have edges that have begun to bow upward or downward. If those conditions are met, the buyer must check the braces beneath the table top.
Even if the braces appear to be of adequate size to support the table surface, if any of the screws holding the top to the braces have been replaced it is best to walk on by. Often once a screw has been replaced the hole where the screw enters the top of the table has been expanded and the likelihood of a new screw holding for any length of time with regular wear are greatly diminished.
Be sure to check that the table top and the table base are compatible. Occasionally, with used furniture the table top may have been replaced and may not match the base.
The Advantages of a Pedestal Based Table
Most pedestal kitchen tables or breakfast room tables are round. This makes these tables ideal for fitting into smaller areas. The pedestal allows for easy access to the “wall side” of the table. Additionally, without the four legs it is much easier to add an additional chair or two without upsetting the balance of seating or cramping two people side by side.