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How to Install Equalizer Slides for Pedestal Tables
How to Install Equalizer Slides for Pedestal Tables
Table Slides support the leaves and hold the tabletop together when it is extended, and equalizer slides are made with extra support for pedestal tables. They develop a camber as they are opened to compensate for sagging at the ends of the table. Balanced installation is important. If slides are not mounted parallel to each other, the table will not open properly. If they are too close to the center of the table, they can’t provide adequate support for the leaves.
Things you will need
- Phillips Screwdriver
- Measuring tape
- Carpenter’s square
- Power Drill
- Drill bit set
- Phillips screwdriver bit
Tips before you get started
- Pedestal table equalizer slides function differently from standard table slides, which are designed for 4 leg tables. Be sure you have the correct slides before installing them on the table.
- Before installing, make sure you have one slide that is marked LEFT and one slide that is marked RIGHT, as the internal mechanisms in each half are necessary to work together to properly function. It does not matter which side of the tabletop either slide is mounted to.
- Equalizer slides are mounted on either side of the pedestal, between the pedestal and the edge of the table. When attaching the slides to the tabletop, make sure that they are positioned far enough from the pedestal so as to not contact it. They should be mounted perpendicular to the opening seam of the table, and parallel to the outside edge of the table leaves.
The instructions below will help you create two straight, parallel pencil lines on the underside of the table top for proper slide alignment.
1. The tabletop must sit on a flat surface for installation of the slides. If the tabletop doesn’t sit flat, the slides will likely not be aligned correctly. Turn the tabletop over on a flat surface with the underside facing up. The tabletop should NOT be mounted to the pedestal. If it is, remove the screws in the mounting hardware and set the pedestal aside.
2. The two slides should be installed an equal distance in from the two long edges of the tabletop, and placed:
— where they will not contact the pedestal, and
–where the pedestal mounting plate will overlap the center board of the slide. The slide will be attached to the mounting plate after being installed on the tabletop. Equalizer slides have either 3 or 5 boards in each half of the pair, so the center board will have an equal number of boards on either side of it.
3. On one side of the table top, use a tape measure (or carpenter’s square) and a pencil to mark the underside of the tabletop far enough from the edge of the table for the center board of the slide to overlap the mounting plate but not contact the pedestal. Repeat this procedure on the opposite side and on the opposite halves of the tabletop.
4. Slide the tabletop apart just enough to open it a few inches. Align the short leg of a carpenter’s square along the edge of the center seam of the tabletop, with the long leg of the square extending perpendicular to the seam along the length of the tabletop. Align the long leg of the square with one of the marks that you made in step 3. With a pencil, trace the edge of the long leg of the square, from the open center seam to a point equal to one half the length of the table slide. This will make a straight reference line on the underside of the tabletop.
Repeat this procedure on the opposite side and on the opposite halves of the tabletop.
5. Push the tabletop back together.
6. Push the slide together as if you are closing it, but leave it open approximately ¼ inch. Leaving the slide open a small amount provides plenty of room for the slide to operate properly once installed. If slides are fully closed when they are installed, you may be prevented from closing the tabletop completely if humidity causes the tabletop to shrink.
7. Make sure that the two halves of the tabletop are perfectly aligned next to each other along the table seam, with the reference lines on each half lining up to form a continuous line. Place one of the partially-opened slide sections on the underside of the tabletop, with the gears facing down and the large, round, screw holes facing up. Align the center board of the slide with one of the reference lines marked during Step 4. Using a power drill and a drill bit that is the same size or slightly smaller than the screws to be used, drill pilot holes through the large, round screw openings and into the tabletop. Do not drill all the way through the tabletop.
8. Using a power drill and a Phillips screwdriver bit, insert screws through each of the large, round, pre-drilled holes and screw them into the tabletop, taking care that the screw doesn’t pierce the tabletop. Align and mount the other slide along the other measured line the same way. Carefully open and close the table top to make sure the slide opens and closes easily.
*** Mounting screws are not provided. Use wood screws that are long enough to fit through the slide and fasten approximately halfway through the tabletop, but are short enough not to pierce the top of the table. Measure the thickness of your tabletop and the length of the neck in the large screw hole to determine how long the screw should be.
Attach the slides to the mounting plate of the pedestal
9. Position the mounting plate on the bottom of the table slides so that it is perfectly centered over the pair of slides. It is critical to find where the exact center of the center board in each slide lines up with the mounting plate. Mark a corresponding pencil line on the mounting plate for each slide section. Double check everything to ensure accuracy.
10. With the lines drawn on the mounting plate perfectly positioned above the center of the center board of the slide, pre-drill at least 3 pilot holes through the mounting plate, into the slide board below. The number of holes you drill depends on how long your mounting plate is. One hole every 6 inches is a good rule of thumb. The holes should be slightly smaller than the diameter of the screws you are using. Carefully measure the thickness of the mounting plate and the height of the slide board. The holes should extend through the plate and approximately half-way into the center portion of the center board of the slide, avoiding the tracks on either side of the center board. Be careful not to drill deep enough to go all the way through the slide board, or interfere with the metal equalizing gear in the center of the board.
11. After drilling the pilot holes, open the slide to determine if any part of the tracks on the sides of the center board were pierced. If so, the slide will not properly open and close when the slide is mounted with the screws. You may need to re-position the placement of the holes and re-drill.
12. Screw each of the screws into the pre-drilled holes you created in Step 10. Use screws that are long enough to extend through the mounting plate and at least half way through the center board of the slide. Take care not to use screws that are long enough to reach the equalizing gear in the center of the board.
13. Open the table top assembly about a foot, then turn it over and position the bolts extending from the top of the pedestal through the corresponding holes of the mounting plate. Attach the nuts over the bolts and tighten completely. Enjoy!