What is a table pad used for?

OK, I’m sure that’s a dumb question… but I really don’t know. I have a nice dining room table with a table pad.

Is a table pad to use while eating; say under a nice table cloth?
And other times you remove it to show how nice the table is?

Is a table pad for use when the table is not in use to protect it from thing being set on it and, oh I don’t know… forgotten about, and then when you eat, you remove the table pad and get to eat on a pretty table (possibly with a table cloth)??

Is it for use all the time both eating, and otherwise because after all it IS for protecting the table?

My family only used it under a tablecloth while dining. At the end of the meal when clearing the table, it was folded up and stored until the next fancy meal we ate in the diningroom. Other people’s mileage may vary, but it never occurred to me before reading this thread. Interesting.

Me, I think a table cloth, or a pad, or both, is an insult!
Actually, I think a well laid table is much prettier without cover.
Somebody call Martha Stewart. She’ll tell you that if you must use a cloth, the pad underneath will make it seem less harsh.

From here;

But there ya go. :smiley:

It’s also to protect the wood underneath from getting burned spots from hot dishes, even when they’re sitting on pot holders.

My grandmother’s dining room table is pretty old, and there are several dark spots where she sat a pot down without the table pads.

Can you say “trivet”?
Did anyone else see the recent series on PBS about some royal palace (the name escapes me :o ) and the goings on involved in state dinners, etc?
The “help” actually had special booties they wore to walk around on the tables while they set them up.
Anyway, they didn’t use table sized pads or cloths.

Just us, but table pad=Protect the table, used for casual dining.

Formal dining=No table pad, bare oak wood with proper place setting; the china, the Waterford crystal, etc. For these occasions, the wood is shined up with Old English or whatever works for you to condition and shine the wood. All dishes are presented in appropriate bowls, so no heat pads needed. We don’t do this much, thank goodness, big PITA.

IMO table pads are silly…

When my grandfather died last year, he left behind a table that is 300 years old. It was originally a ship’s captain’s table. It’s round, seats about 8 people, and is supported by a central post. It creaks when you put your elbows on it, and has a long crack in it.

That table has never had a pad. It’s rarely had a tablecloth. It’s been polished weekly for most of its life, and has a deep, lustrous sheen. Yes, it has several marks on it - hot plates, mugs, probably bottles of grog. But damn, it has character. It’s still beautiful, it shines, and it exudes history.

If you want to resell the table on eBay, by all means use a pad. If you want something that will have character and longevity, give it some chance to absorb the life that’s lived around it.

I’ll give you fifty bucks for that old table.

I heard you can get it for twenty, but the thing is, the captain shot himself on it while the ship was stuck on the equator, and nobody found it for 3 weeks. You can’t get the smell out.


Tell me about it. I’m the one who bought his Corvette.

Character is all well and good, but sometimes, you need to make sure your table LASTS, when you don’t have a lot of money.

I have an alder-wood dining table and 3 boys. One of the 3 being my 38 year old husband. When we bought the table we were told that alder was a strong wood, come to find out, it’s pretty soft. There’s nicks, scratches and dents all over this stinkin’ $800 table. Drives me nuts. So, to placate my neurosis, (if I can’t see it, it’s not there!) I bought a new tablepad and tablecloth.

I keep them on all the time to keep the table from getting new scratches from the toys/keys/cells, etc. being tossed on the table all the time. Now I have to watch out for newsprint on the tablecloth…acckkk!

I reckon 300 years without a table pad seems pretty good. Though you never know, the ship’s captain might have had one - I’d imagine they would be pretty good at stopping cutlass marks when the pirates board ship. Arrrrr!

I bought a solid oak table and chairs from the owner of a pawn shop last year. It had been their grandmother’s; and was purchased new in the 1970’s. The top is fairly worn, and since oak has an open grain, I use a table pad and tablecloth to protect the table and to help prevent more damage. The cat knocked over a glass of iced tea that had been left on the table just last night. I shudder to think what I would have seen this morning without the pad and cloth.

I refinished my dining room table. It’s about 100 years old, and is a Pinapple leg oak table, with leaves. When I bought it, it had six distinct coats of paint on it. -shudder-

I bought table pads because my parents use em. Over the last few years, I’d started to admire a friend’s beautiful wood table. Always hated covering the beautiful oak. I bought a sheet of glass, cut to cover it as my friend had done. Voila ! Now we see the table, and use trivets for wicked hot pots. Haven’t split the glass yet.


I recently inherited my parents’ gorgeous Danish teak dining room set, from the '50s. It’s still in perfect condition. So far, I’ve kept the pad on, which is a shame since I can’t see the wood. But covering the pad is a lovely batik tablecloth that my mother handmade (both my parents were artists).

So I’ll probably wind up alternating between the bare wood and the tablecloth (with pads). I don’t know which I’m more afraid of hurting, the table or the tablecloth.