Ok men...here I am again. Btw, Jerry and Gen WW, thanks a lot for your advice on my benches. I took a lot of your advice and put stretchers and some diagonal bracing, along with replacing some screws with dowels, and it's much sturdier. I'd love to try my hand at mortise and tenon and other real joints, once my budget allows.
Now my issue is with this plan. I haven't built it yet, but I have a friend who did. And one of the leaves just fell off today. She believes it is because the screws on the hinges suggested weren't strong enough and suggested I shorten the leaves. Do you guys think it's that, or the stress of raising and lowering the leaves that did it (as someone at Woodcraft suggested to me)? What would you guys do?
This plan looks a little underwhelming to me. It looks weak, with very little resistance to racking forces (a solid back would help a LOT, even if it's just 1/4 ply. Even a 6- or 8- inch spreader would help a lot---the plan relies on a couple of 1 x 3's--not enough IMHO).
And the extension wings wouldn't support much weight beyond the hinge.
the screws on the hinges suggested weren't strong enough. Unlikely that the screws themselves weren't strong enough, but the connection certainly could have been weak, and could easily have been over-loaded. Properly sized pilot holes matter, as does proper screw selection, but my biggest concern with the extension wings in this plan are that they are a single piece of plywood with very little support. There is nothing to keep them flat, or at the right elevation. Plywood by itself will not stay flat.
I worked for a couple decades as a finish carpenter and used a miter saw every day. I want extension wings that I can adjust to just the right height. I would be thinking about some sort of support leg, with an adjustable foot (could be as simple as a T-nut and bolt in the end of a board, maybe hinged to the extension wing), and I would edge the plywood with a straight piece of lumber to stiffen it and help keep it flat.
As to the connection of hinge-to-wing (or leaf) you could always through-bolt it, if you don't trust wood screws (maybe use a connector bolt --it has an extra large, flat head, so it won't pull through).
If it were me, I'd look for (or develop my own) a better plan. But if this looks like the cat's meow to you, then go for it.
[QUOTEEven a 6- or 8- inch spreader would help a lot---the plan relies on a couple of 1 x 3's--not enough IMHO).
You'll need to spell things out for me - what do you mean by spreader? I think you mean, in any case, that the 1x3 front supports are not enough, and that a back would help a lot. Amirite?
What if the leaves were shorter? Would that make a difference?
"I would be thinking about some sort of support leg, with an adjustable foot"
Someone had suggested adding a support "wing" with door hinges that would store flat against the side, then swing out to support the leaf when it's up. What do you think about that?
Or do you think this plan is jut not worth modifying (which I'm ok with, btw - after all, I didn't design it).
I'll also poke around for other simple plans. Thanks a lot.
"Someone had suggested adding a support "wing" with door hinges that would store flat against the side, then swing out to support the leaf when it's up."
"swing out support that the wings would rest on when open."
Are we saying the same thing, hcbph?
I was thinking of shortening the leaves, adding a back, adding the support hcbph mentioned, and this, if you scroll down to #5. Would all of this be sufficient, or no?
You'll need to spell things out for me - what do you mean by spreader? What if the leaves were shorter? Would that make a difference?
A spreader is like a back, but not full height. If you put an 8-inch piece under the top, spanning from side to side, that would be a spreader, and would more or less take the place of a back, and give the box some racking strength (much like the apron on a table).
If the leaves were shorter, they would sag less, and warp less, but would also provide less support to the work. What do you plan to cut here? You want support under more than half of the longest stuff you're cutting, so the work doesn't want to fall off the end of the wing (leaf). Longer is better, until it gets too unwieldy and too big to fold up (if the folding-up feature is an issue---I assume it is).
The folding wing idea is a good one, but still limits the length of the supported section of the "leaf"---once you're past the fold-out wing, you're on a relatively floppy piece of plywood, unsupported. It's fine for short stuff. I am used to cutting things like door casing (7-foot lengths) --but if you are cutting 4-foot pieces, no problem!
Or do you think this plan is jut not worth modifying
I think the basic plan is ok, but I would modify. Add a back (or spreader) and make the leaves strong, and you will have something.
Ok, makes perfect sense now, thanks for explaining. I just cut dimensional lumber with it - don't quite have the guts (or budget) to go for a table saw - but I do have to start from 8 ft lengths.
My plan is to add a spreader/back, shorten the wings to, say, 15" each? That way, that would cover about 6 ft, if you include the actual saw that the wood is sitting on. And I will also research how to do that support leg system you mentioned earlier if that will allow me to make the wings longer.