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How To Choose Your Table Bases

specifying table bases

Pedestal table bases are the most common base used in the hospitality industry. They are usually ordered separately from table tops. They are available in a wide range of styles, sizes, materials and finishes.

When specifying a table base it's important to consider:

  1. Suitability: for indoors or outdoors?
  2. Stability: is it suitable to hold the table top selected?
  3. Height: in relation to the chair or stool it’s being paired with.
  4. Finish: do you want it to standout or blend into its surrounding?
  5. Floor surface: will it need adjustable feet or stabilisers?
  6. Storage: does it need to be moved and stored away?

The vast majority of table bases specified for hospitality environments are pedestal bases, for the following good reasons:

  • Pedestal bases are available in a very wide range of styles, sizes, materials and finishes.
  • Pedestal bases do not obstruct diners' chairs in the way that conventional legs can.
  • Pedestal bases tend to be unobtrusive.
  • Pedestal bases are good value.
  • Pedestal bases are more flexible, if tables are pushed together, for instance, diners can sit all around the combined table - there are no legs in the way.
  • Pedestal bases are easier to move around without damage. Dragging a 4 legged base causes damage and eventually loss of the trailing leg.

1. Suitability: For indoor or outdoor?

Metal Pedestal Bases
Many pedestal bases are suitable for exterior use – aluminium, galvanized steel and some stainless steel grades are all good quality and weather-resistant metals, making them ideal, especially for those salty coastal areas. Other metal bases can be treated or finished for outdoor use, by either treating the metal itself or applying a protective coating (or both in many cases) to slow the rate of corrosion. However, if is worth noting, if the coating is damaged or scratched, this will leave the area unprotected and rust will start to form in these areas quickly. 

Typically, outdoor table bases should be weighty, to resist being blown over by winds (Good European bases weight around 20kg, with Asian alternatives often around 12kg). But in many restaurants, outdoor tables need to be brought indoors at end of service, for these environments it is best to use lighter weight bases and preferably stacking (revert to section f).

Wooden Pedestal Bases
Wooden table bases are available, usually with fairly basic design appropriate for traditional pub interiors, although more sophisticated, turned bases are also obtainable at usually a high cost.  Typical timbers used for indoors: Beech or Oak. For outdoors it is: Iroko or Robinio.

2. Stability - can it hold the table top?

All pedestal bases, consist of a base plate, a column and a spider. Each playing a key part in forming a stable, supportive structure for the top. 

The base plate size must be:

  • Big enough to support the top.
  • Small enough to not restrict access or your foot.
  • Heavy enough (if supporting heavy tops).

spide-column-base-plate-713839-edited

Components of a table base

wrong table base no foot space

Example of wrong base specified for the top size and location

inox-elliptical-table-base

Elliptical base plate to match elliptical table top

Suitability of a base to a top can usually be found in the manufacturer’s catalogue/pricelist - example below

technical details table base

Additional notes:

  • Square table tops should ideally be paired with square base plates, oval tops should have an oval base plate and so on. Aim to use double column bases for rectangular tops.
  • Heavy tops may require wider base plates.
  • Thick or raised bases may restrict the chair legs and stop the chairs from being pushed in. It is best to make the client aware of this.
  • Poseur tables need to have substantial stabilising bases.

For floor fixed bases (example to the side), the above is not necessary as bolting to the floor offers the stability.  However, the manufacturer’s guidance should always be followed.

The column

It's best to avoid thin columns as they offer little support.  Always opt for min 76mm diameter columns when paired with heavy tops like solid timber, stone or similar. Column shape can either be round or square.It is the column and rod inside that is usually cut to reduce the overall height of a base. 

The spider and fitting the base to the top

All table bases come with a spider or flat/cross plate to facilitate fixing the table top to the base. The spider is screwed to the underside of the table top fairly easily, unless the table top is unsuitable for screws into such as stone and solid core laminate tops.  For these tops a fixing plate is required (see example below).This fixing plate is usually made from MDF or Ply (Marine Ply for outdoor use), thick enough to accommodate screws long enough to hold the 2 parts together (ideally 18mm thick). Metal inserts can be added into Solid Core Laminate (aka HPL) tops providing a template of the spider is obtainable.

fixing-plate-for-table-bases-637397-edited

Painted MDF fixing plate on marble table top

fixing-plate-spider

 

How to fix a spider to a fixing plate

battens-on-solid-ash-table-top

Battens on a solid ash table top

Battens on wooden table tops

Most solid wooden tops are supplied with battens underneath to stop the wood from warping (example below) the smaller the top the closer the battens will be (in particularly slatted tops, as the use of battens cannot be avoided), it is therefore, paramount to check:

  • There is enough space to fit the spider
  • The spider holes will not fall on a gap between the slats

    If there is not enough space:
  • A smaller spider can be used/requested from the factory (if this is offered by the manufacturer).
  • Removing batons on delivery (not on slated tops), as the spider can act as a baton but only on small tops of 600mm or less.

Specifying bases for metal or stone tops

Most factories will test their table base stability on laminate or solid timber tops of 25mm thick, which means their max top size guide is not valid for stone or metals tops. When specifying bases for heavy tops, the below rules should be applied: 

  • Column diameter needs to be at least 76mm diameter or 80x80mm square
  • Reduce the supplier’s max top size guides by 50mm from each side (100mm reduction on round top dia)
  • Weight – Table base weight should be at least 2/3 of the top weight (or close to it)
  • Do not use fliptop bases
  • On rectangular tops use double column bases

3. Table Height: in relation to the chair or stool it’s being paired with.

The top surface of a dining table will tend to be around 760mm, give or take 20mm. Tables should  allow enough space for diners to sit comfortably, be able to cross their legs and generally not feel constrained – which means a ‘drop-down’ table top edge should not be more than around 50mm. As a guide the space between the bottom of the top and seat height should be between 250-300mm but is the preference of the client.

The arms of armchairs should usually fit under the table top, so they can be pushed in. It is worth noting that the base plate of some table bases do not fit between the legs of some chairs, making them less easy to fully push in to the table.

Most of our bases (excluding the top) are 73cm from floor to top of spider, although bases are specified to be lower than this; many standard tubular bases can be reduced in height  (often to accommodate thicker tops), although there are limitations (it is tricky to cut a very small amount out of a column and impossible to cut down cast iron.

standard-table-height-table

4. Table base finishes: Do you want the base to standout or blend?

Metal table base are either left natural or polished (aluminium, stainless steel for example) or powder-coated to a colour. Most of the bases we sell are powder-coated, usually black, simply because this is perceived to be a discreet solution - the bases do not stand-out and interfere with the appeal of the chairs and table tops.

Powder coating creates a hard finish that is tougher than conventional paint; chrome is a popular finish; a matt chrome finish is also sometimes available. For wooden bases, like any timber, can either be stained or painted.

  • Things to note:

    • All table base finishes can become worn on their sharper edges, by regular contact with footwear.
    • Not all finishes are suitable for outdoors. It’s important you select an outdoor suitable finish for outside use bases.

5. Floor surface: Will it need adjustable feet or stabilizers?

Wobbly tables are caused by one or more of the following:
  • The top is not fixed properly to the base
  • The base is assembled incorrectly
  • The table base has some flex in it (some budget options do!)
  • Your floor is uneven
Of these, the last is probably most widespread, and can be solved by specifying a base with adjustable feet or adding self-levelling hydraulic glides such as Flat Equalizers. There are also excellent and clever self-levelling table bases, such as the Stable Table available in the market, if the adjustable feet option is somehow inappropriate. Note: adding adjustable feet to some bases may mean the screws will be visible on from the base plate (as shown in example below). 
standard adjustable feet

standard adjustable feet

flat equalizer

Flat equalizer

Visible screws on table base plate

Visible screws on table base plate

stable-table

Stable table

Equix table base

Equix table base

avangard table base

Avangard table base

6. Table base storage: Does it need to be moved and stored away?

To facilitate storage, some bases are available with flip top mechanisms to allow the top to fold down (taking less room) and often the base plate design, allows the tables to nest together neatly like shown. Often the bases are for outdoor use, allowing tables to be stored in shelter during the winter or brought in at end of service.

Note:

  • Stone tops should not be used with fliptop, stacking or folding bases, as they are delicate and heavy to more
  • Bases with small folding mechanisms should not be paired with heavy tops, as they require greater fixing surface to keep the 2 parts together.
  • Instead choose a base with a large spider mechanism such as the Avangard or Equix above. Learn more about heavy tops and flip top table bases here.

Some four-legged tables will also stack taking less room, like the below examples. 

stacking-table-bases

Folding bases are typically used for events or in office, where layout are constantly changing.  These types of bases are often available with trolleys to assist in storage and moving.


stacking tables for eventsFlexo 1 Folding Table Base

Topics: Tables, Table bases, Furniture knowledge

By Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth on 26/07/17 11:42
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