How to Select and Position Angled Cleat and Leg Sets
When determining the appropriate length of your cleats, the primary consideration is the size of your top. Properly positioned, cleats are recessed several inches from either end of the table, and a few inches from the side. This space is important for the overall look and stability of your furniture. With angled cleats, leaving too little space will extend the legs past the edge of the table; leaving too much space can make a table look unbalanced.
Find The Right Size For Your Top
Cleats come in eight lengths. A little math is required to find the best cleat length for your top. For example, with a coffee table top, the ideal gap is between 1 ½’’ to 3’’ from either side. So, a cleat anywhere between 3’’ and 6’’ shorter than the width of the top will work. For a 22’’ wide coffee table, our best option is the 16’’ cleat. With a 23’’ top, however, we find that our best option is now the 20’’ cleat.
On occasion, furniture makers and DIYers may want a cleat length that is in between the lengths we offer. The best solution for this is to order the next size up, and to cut out the midsection. For example, if only an 18’’ cleat will do, order a 20’’ cleat, cut out a 2’’ section from the middle. The two pieces can then be aligned and fastened to the top. They do not need to be glued together.
An ideal use of angled cleats is on Mid-Century Modern furniture. For more information, read our complete guide on How To Build A Mid-Century Modern Coffee Table.
For a coffee table, the ideal cleat length is 3’’ to 6’’ shorter than the width of your table top.
For an end table, the appropriate cleat length is 7’’ to 10’’ less than the width of the table top.
For a dining table, select a cleat anywhere from 6’’ to 12’’ shorter than the width of the table top.
For more on Mid-Century Modern Tables, view our complete guide.