Table Leg Ideas

Warning: I’m an engineer, not a designer so please bear with me on my renderings

In the attached picture I have the top of the a table that I’m using to make a coffee table for my house. All the materials I used (Powdercoating aluminum extrusions, rubber seals, glass, and plastic retention clips) were taken from items I currently use at work. The problem is I have no idea what to do for legs. I was thinking of bolting some powdercoated angle iron but there has to be something a little more aethesically pleasing.

Any ideas?

Mockett has some cool legs ( Their prices for the cool stuff tend to be completely out of order ($900 for a single waterjet cut carbon leg, and they still nickel and dime you with a crating charge?). If it’s just a one off you might not mind the pricing, and their short coffee table legs are a lot cheaper. Ought to give you some ideas anyway.

how thick is the glass?

It’s 1/4" thick, but its trapped inside of a 1" thick aluminum extrusion

I can use the extrusion walls on the bottom to bolt to the top of the table legs, probably using Rivnuts (let me know if you don’t know what these are).

Thanks for the link Scott. I really like that carbon leg and I think I could create something similar with the laser cut steel here. Something to keep in mind I guess.

no, i know what rivot nuts are. the glass is strong enought to support the weight, it wouldn’t necessarily have to attach to the extrusion. the glass is tempered?

I have both tempered and laminated safety glass availible. How would you attach the legs to the glass? Drill through it? I’d prefer to keep the extrusions just because they are an important part of the design (personally).

I’m not sure where Kung Fu Jesus was going, but you could simply lay the top on the legs- as long as the top has enough wieght and there’s some sort of rubber bumper between the glass and legs. Check out the Noguchi table for an example.


With this ‘minimal’ style of design, and some assumptions based on what’s readily available to you, some ideas are:

  1. Angle iron is generally crude, rough, industrial. With this ‘minimal’ style, it can look very appealing if the crude industrialness is exaggerated. Think big welded brackets, double up - sandwich brackets, large exposed hardware, etc.

  2. Simple box section legs, powder coated, welded to underneath of your extrusions, or bolted but concealed. This keeps your minimal, clean look.

  3. Mix materials: steel, glass, and… different colour and texture: clear anodized aluminum, wood. I would keep the section profile square-ish. To me, large scale extreme minimal rectilinear looks awful when mixed with round, organic, etc.

  4. Perhaps the legs may not make the design. Have simple, square-ish legs, angle iron even, add steel cable spans and sling a contrasting fabric underneath as an undershelf. Or, continuing in that vein, an undershelf of small diameter rods, matched paint or contrasting stainless steel for example.

My invoice is in the mail…


heres another one that has the tempered top laying on top of the base.

trick is in getting the proportions right between the leg thickenss, top size, etc.


I believe UV glue works nicely for attaching glass to metal. However, 1/4 inch glass is pretty thin, it sure would be nice to have that thick greenish line thick glass creates, much like in the noguchi table, that glass is like an inch or so thick. It really creates a nice proportional volume.

Go to ikea, they have a lot of table legs, and tables for that matter, that you could look at for inspiration. Or go to (design within reach) If you are going to go with the Industrial materials look thats great, but I expect to see it taken as far as possible. For instance, I would like to see rivets in the angle iron, or lots of structural looking trusses and the like. make it a bridge between your couch and the rest of the room, so to say, not literally of course. I feel like you know you could just make a table that just works, like many engineers who figure if its works that good enough, but it seems like you want more… Come to the dark side, make something thats not only functional. It sounds like you have access to a cnc or computer plasma cutter, you know what those are great for, not squares. Try thinking amoeba shaped. Think about how you sit on the couch, and the experience you want to have with your living room furniture. And don’t get scared off by all this, you are putting a bunch of work into it, dont you want it to be cool? You’d be surprised how easy it is to cut curves in glass.

Damn, you guys defenitley know how to get the creative juices flowing. I think I have the base frame figured out. Now I’m just trying to get the lower shelf done. As you can see I tried to make a shelf using a bunch of round stainless and powdercoated steel, but neither of them really appealed to me. I just put a piece of sheetmetal (powdercoated black) but it looks too boring. Maybe some of those decorative sheets? I thought about the wire rope spanning two pieces of square tubing like this:

But I’m still trying to figure out how they did this without using those wire tensioning clamps.

Any other ideas?

I’d probably warm it up a little bit by using some recycled timber post legs, or even cast concrete, keeping the “crude” feel. You would then have a lot of options for securing your shelving tubes.

I think I’d also make a smaller version of the top and stack that underneath as the shelf. The proportions need to be right for it to look good.

Have fun!

honestly, the X brace on the sides kills me…
if you want to make a tensioned shelf, use some aluminum (or whatever) rod and tension with threads and a nut on the inside of the (leg) tubing

Its starting to look like some sort of modern remix of mission style furniture. Like Oak Xpress when they run out of trees in the future.

Maybe try some different colors or something. As you will notice on the front page, we’re all supposed to paint everything that calming/exciting bluish purplish color this year.

I actually had the same thought about the braces. They kind of kill the top for me, but hey- its an idea that is worth checking out if that’s what you have available. But it does feel a bit like the first idea, and some people have a hard time letting go of that. Don’t be afraid, if you had one idea, there’s bound to be more in there too.

At any rate, get a sketch pad and a catalog and see how many other ideas you can come up with in 30 mins.

If I get a few spare moments, I’ll send you some quick ideas about the timbers or concrete.

Maybe were being unfair to you. I don’t know how I would react if you told me to just do some calculations and figure out where all the stresses are and all that engineering stuff.

Maybe it would be a better idea for you to go to a few stores, and find tables you just really liked, take pictures of the things about them you just love and dont know why, like the legs on one table, the top of another, as you have already mentally done with the top, and then try to incorporate all of these different aspects.

I do wish you would consider another color besides black though, maybe a dark charcoal, or red or orange.

I just though of something that could be really cool, my girlfriend found these vinyl wall decals on the net, just searh for wall decal. What if you stuck one on the bottom side of the glass, off center and cropped. that could be a really easy way to add a cool unique detail to your table. try to find like soe kind of vine looking pattern or a city skyline or something.

Don’t worry the critiques are okay. The reason I come to core77 is to ask about designers opinions. If you had a question about pro/e I’m sure you’d go to mcad forums or a general engineering question you’d go to eng tips forums.

The only reason I’m going for black right now was because the only color we have on our paint line is black, white, or grey primer. I can always paint over it later.

Oh and those wall decals are awesome. I might try to ad something to it later.

This was also interesting:

i love the second picture. but i dont wanted the x brace on the side.