The Dish on Dining Table Extensions

Beth Rice 13/07/2017

Dining table extensions make it easy to expand your dining room table for holiday feasts, lively game nights, or big projects. Extensions save space by tucking or folding neatly into a table, or being stored when they aren’t needed. With four main types to choose from, it’s easy to select a custom-made dining table with just the right extensions to fit your needs.

Dining Table Extensions: The Four Main Types

  • Traditional
  • Butterfly Leaf
  • Drop Leaf
  • Stow Leaf

The Take on Traditional Table Extensions

  • The ends of the table slide apart to create a gap in the center.
  • Table extensions (called leaves) are placed in the center gap.
  • Some dining tables provide the option for traditional extensions to be stored in the table beneath the table top.
  • Traditional extensions may require two people to insert.

Traditional Dining Extensions

The Amish Christy Extension Dining Table includes one 18” leaf that stores separately from the table.

Amish Christy Extension Dining Table

The Amish Royal Mission Trestle Table includes traditional table extensions that self store in the table.

Amish Royal Mission Trestle Table

Variation: A variation on traditional table extensions allow you to add leaves near the end of the table instead of the middle for ease of access and to keep the center of the table in one piece.

The Ruff Sawn Rustic Carlisle Dining Table offers a variation on traditional table extensions, allowing you to add breadboard extensions at the ends of the table.

Ruff Sawn Rustic Carlisle Dining Table

Tip:  If traditional table extension leaves do not self-store in the table, keep them as close to the table as possible to prevent humidity from causing them to swell at different rates, which can affect the fit.

Boost Your Table with Butterfly Leaf Extensions

  • Ends of the table slide apart to create a gap in the center like traditional table extensions.
  • Butterfly leaf folds in half to store in a more compact space.
  • Butterfly leaves are often attached to the table and store beneath the table top.
  • This extension requires more moving parts, which can possibly decrease in function over time due to rust or swelling of the wood.

Butterfly leaf extensions.

The Amish Vancouver Trestle Table is the table for celebrations, with two 18” butterfly extensions that store beneath the table top.

Amish Vancouver Trestle Table

Divine Drop Leaf Extensions

  • Outer ends of dining table are collapsible to save space.
  • Popular for ease of use.
  • Extensions are attached to the table.
  • Extensions can affect leg room in collapsed position.
  • Not as sturdy as other options.

The Amish Renwick Gateleg Dining Table is truly space savvy with drop leaf extensions incorporated in its contemporary design.

Amish Renwick Gateleg Dining Table

Space Saving Stow Leaf Extensions

  • Extensions conveniently stow beneath the ends of the table.
  • Easy to raise extensions into place.
  • Allows extensions to expand and contract with the rest of the table.
  • Offers durability and strength even at the ends of the table.
  • Distinctive look, creating a double layer of table top where the extensions stow.

Stowleaf Extensions

The Amish Farmhouse Stowleaf Draw Extension Dining Table is a perfect farmhouse table for a kitchen or dining room in a house or apartment.

Amish Farmhouse Stowleaf Draw Extension Dining Table

Getting in Gear

There are three types of slides that help to open and close tables with extensions.

Dining Table Slides: The Three Main Types

  • Wood Slides
  • Metal Slides
  • Ball Bearing Slides

Wood Slides

  • Will never rust.
  • Can create dust.
  • May require more effort to slide.

Wood Slides.

Metal Slides

  • Use of gears allows for one person to open the table from one end.
  • Metal gears allow for smoother motion.

Metal Slides.

Ball Bearing Slides

  • Premiere choice for ultra-smooth motion.
  • Made of high grade steel that operates on ball bearings for smooth, quiet operation.

Ball-Bearing Slides

Our new video “The Essential Guide to Table Extensions” showcases and explains how the four main types of table extensions work to help you find the right fit for your home.

With Amish-made furniture comes plenty of options. Now that you’ve got the dish on dining table extensions, you can find the dining room table that’s just right for you.

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  • Susan Westby
    June 14, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    Hi, is it possible to get parts to repair a stow-leaf dining room table? I have a teak table from the 60’s, with just one leaf and only the table top and bottom frame.

  • Beth Rice
    June 15, 2020 at 8:53 am

    Hi Susan,
    Here is a link to the parts we have available for tables. I hope this is helpful.
    Thank you for visiting us on Timber to Table.

  • Colleen Brown
    August 11, 2021 at 10:18 pm

    I’m looking for a geared slider for an antique table with a butterfly leaf thatI have just refinished that’s been in our family. The metal wheel in the slider has fallen out and been lost over the years so I believe I need to replace the entire slider. Do you sell the sliders?

  • Beth Rice
    August 12, 2021 at 10:06 am

    Hi Colleen,
    Unfortunately, we do not sell the sliders. I would recommend perhaps contacting a place like this that sells antique hardware.
    Thank you for your question and for visiting us on Timber to Table.

  • Michele Fields
    September 5, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    Does anyone sell just table leaves?

  • Beth Rice
    September 6, 2021 at 11:56 am

    Hi Michele,
    With our custom Amish tables made of solid wood, adding a table leaf later is difficult, and something our Amish craftsmen do not recommend. The reasons are that when custom tables are built, they are built for the number of leaves desired, and adding one later can affect the stability of the table, as well as the look of the table. The stain and wood grain pattern would not be consistent and would be almost impossible to match.
    I’m sorry we don’t have a company we can recommend that just sells table leaves. You might try contacting the company you purchased the table from.
    Thank you for your question and for visiting us on Timber to Table.

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