The Dining table for Christmas, how to adjust.

We are re-launching this blog to remind every one how to safely adjust your antique dining table for the extra guests you expect to arrive for Christmas. I know some people are used to taking the leaves in and out of their tables but for some this is the one time of year when they need to put in the extra leaf or leaves they have had stored away all year

One of the last things you are probably thinking about is preparing your dining table for the big day, but here’s some advice to help avoid the added stress of struggling with an antique dining table on Christmas day that hasn’t changed size for 12 months!

Blog table leaves 2 Blog, table and leaves 1

 If you have an extending or wind out antique table, firstly find the leaves or leaf to expand the table’s surface (these should be stored away wrapped in felt or a similar soft cloth to avoid scratches or discolouration).


Your winding key should look similar to this one


If you can get help, two people are much better than one for this job. Find the winding key and have a person standing at each end of the table ready to very slightly lift the table when you begin winding to take the pressure off the castors (wheels on the bottom of the legs) winding mechanism and table legs. Gently wind out the table and keep winding until you feel you have opened up enough space to fit the number of leaves you wish to use plus a little bit of extra space.

Blog, Table and leaves 3

With your trusted assistant take each end of a leaf and lay it in place so that the dowels that keep the leaf in place are pushed into one end. Continue this process with the leaves you have and then you can start to close up the table with care.


As you wind the table closed, stop about 2cm before the gap is closed and get your assistant to guide the dowels into the location holes as you gentle wind. With old tables this is a delicate process to prevent the dowels damaging the edge of the table or leaf.

Blog tabler and leaves 5



As the table closes take care not to nip your fingers or over tighten the dining table (it should be closed just enough to keep the leaves firmly together).


If the table is an earlier model and just pulls open and pushes closed do be even more careful not to damage yourself or the table. Also, if you have a pull out table you’ll need to remove the brass table clips at each joint before attempting to pull it open and then secure the leaves in place with the clips once the table is extended.


At the end of the Festive period when the table leaves are taken out just reverse the process and again be careful as you close the table together to line all the dowels up with their location holes .


May your Christmas be Merry & the New Year prosperous!


Best Wishes,

Graham Smith Antiques

Graham Smith Antiques has been established for 14 years but Graham has been in the antiques business for 40 years. We trade on line and from showrooms on the edge of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and all  the items shown on the website are available to view at the show rooms where they are set out in four room settings – for ease of viewing. As long time members of LAPADA [the Association of Art and Antiques Dealers], the UK’s largest trade association for professional art and antiques dealers, we want all our customers to be confident to buy from us on line or in person and make every effort to make each sale a pleasure.  Please take some time to read our Testimonials page which can be found on the home page of our website.

Posted in Antiques for Sale, Helpful advice
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