Things to Know About Table Leaf Locks

Beth Rice 27/08/2020

What do you need to know about table leaf locks?

Table leaf locks are handy little additions, often made of brass, that can be added to your dining table to secure leaves and make sure they don’t slide around and create a little gap between them that would look quite unsightly in the middle of your dining table.

Table Leaf Lock
A table leaf lock.

Why do you need table leaf locks?

Perhaps need is not the right word. When would you want to use table leaf locks? If you’re planning to keep table leaves in the table all the time, table leaf locks are a good option. They will keep the leaves together snugly so they don’t start drifting apart.

How many table leaf locks do I need for my table?

The number of table leaf locks depends on the number of leaves. If you use one leaf, you need two pairs of leaf locks. We describe table leaf locks as a “lever and catch” piece of hardware. As you add the leaf, there’s a lever already attached to the table where the leaf is inserted. You fit it together with the catch on the leaf so you can lock the side of the leaf to the table. Now we go to the other side of the leaf where there’s a lever attached and this will connect to the other side of the table where another catch is attached to lock it in place.

You can add up to 3 leaves to the Amish Carmel Single Pedestal Dining Table. You need two pairs of leaf locks for the first leaf, and one pair for each additional leaf added if you plan on using leaves in the table most of the time.

Now if you add an additional leaf, you’ll need one additional pair of leaf locks, with the catch attaching to the leaf it’s placed next to and the lever attaching to the catch in the table. So, if you plan on using the leaves in the table the majority of the time, you need two pairs for the first leaf and one additional pair for every leaf added.

Amish Split Pedestal Dining Table Lock
There are different varieties of table leaf locks. Here is one variety and it is used here to secure the sides of the table together, not to secure a table leaf.

What if I have leaves that self store in the table?

You cannot have table leaf locks on leaves that you want to self store in the table.

The leaf lock half that’s attached to the table would block the leaf from storing in addition to scratching it. When multiple leaves self store they are stacked within the table and you cannot do this with table leaf locks on because they would scratch the wood.

Amish Camrose Single Pedestal Dining Table
Leaf locks are a good idea for the Amish Huntersville Single Pedestal Dining Table if you want to keep leaves in the table. The leaves do not self store.

Leaf locks are probably more of an advantage for those with trestle or pedestal tables that do not have self-storing leaves.

Leaf locks help keep the table top from separating on trestle and pedestal tables since the top is supported by the slides. With leg tables, the top is supported on the legs and the top does not separate without moving the legs. The legs have friction on the floor and are less likely to move or pull the table top apart on their own.

Benefits of Table Leaf Locks

  • Help to align and secure table leaves.
  • Keep the table top one smooth unified surface of leaf extensions and dining table.

Table Leaf Lock Drawbacks

  • Will not work for leaves that self store in the table and most people prefer the convenience of self storing leaves.

What is a lever lock?

A lever lock functions to hold table halves securely together when there are no leaves in it. A lever lock can also be in place and not interfere with self-storing leaves.

So remember, table leaf locks are most beneficial if you plan on keeping leaves in the table all the time as they help to keep the leaves from shifting apart. They cannot be used with leaves that self store in the table.

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  • Helmut Fritz
    August 9, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    Why can table leaf locks not be used in table with self-storing leafs? We have purchased several tables with self-storing leafs that do indeed have leaf locks that do not scratch the leafs or table.

  • Beth Rice
    August 10, 2021 at 11:53 am

    Hello Helmut,
    It is good to hear that you have not had trouble with self-storing leaves with leaf locks getting scratched. Our woodworkers have known of enough cases where table leaves have gotten scratched that they have determined not to use locks on self-storing leaves to ensure that the leaves stay scratch free.

    Thank you for your question and for visiting us on Timber to Table.

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