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Building a Small Folding Table

folding table folding table

Plans for a small folding table:

I needed a small table for our porch, something to set ice tea on while you are relaxing.

This small table folds up nicely and is modelled after and old one I bought at an auction years ago. It is made of cedar since it will be outside, and the hardware is brass or stainless steel.

You can make it in an afternoon (or so) and use any wood that you like.

Cutting directions:

Start by cutting out the pieces you will need.
  • Start with an 8 foot 1x6. Cut two 18" sections off the 1x6 and then rip them in half. These four pieces will be the top.

  • Cut two more sections 16 inches long. Rip the four leg sections from these and the large strecher. The legs will be 16 x 1 1/2 and the stretcher will be 16 x 2 1/2.

  • Last cut two 10 inch sections. These will be the table top supports and the small stretchers. Cut the supports 10 x 1 3/4 and cut the small stretchers 10 x 1 1/4.

    cutting diagram

    Assemble the top:

    table top

    After sanding the pieces on all four sides, lay them out flat and square (best side down). You can use your table saw top and fence to square up the four pieces. Use small pieces of 1/4 inch plywood or something like it between the boards to get the spacing even. Screw the 3 table support pieces to the table top. Use two screws in each of the middle top boards and one in each of the outer top pieces. Countersink the screws.

    The outer table supports should be set such that the outer edges are 16 inches apart (about 1 inch from the edges).

    Offset the center support board so that one edge lines up with the center of the top. This will allow the legs to be in the center, and the support will extend far enough to allow mounting the magnetic catch.

    top

    Assemble the legs:

    leg mortises

    I used mortise and tenons to connect the legs and stretchers. If you aren't good with mortise and tenons, use an overlap joint. The cutting demensions are long enough to allow making an overlap joint.

    Wide legs:
    If you make mortise and tenons, the distance between legs should be 13 inches. Connect the stretcher just a hair more than 1 1/4 from the top of the legs.

    Narrow legs:
    Distance between the narrow legs should be 7 inches. Connect the top stretcher at the very top of the legs, and the lower stretcher 3 7/8 inches from the top. (That will be 1 1/4 for the top stretcher and 2 1/2 for the long stretcher of the wide legs and 1/8 inch for clearance.)

    Cut a small notch in the center/top of the top stretcher and bottom center of the bottom stretcher. The top notch should be 3/4 inches wide and 3/16 deep. The lower notch will be 3/4 wide by 5/16 deep.

    top overlap


    Drill a 1/4 inch hole vertically through down through the two stretchers on the narrow legs and through the middle of the long stretcher on the wide legs.

    Before you glue the two pairs of legs up, trial fit them together and make sure the wide legs will fit into the narrow legs between the two stretchers on the narrow legs. Mine fit ok, and was able to assemble them seperately and put the together after.

    Assembly:

    legs

    Assemble the legs, allow the glue to dry and then use a 1/4 x 5" bolt and a nylock nut to hold the pairs of legs together. Use washers as necessary only to take up any space between stretchers. If the legs fit fairly tight, no washers will be necessary.

    Trial fit the legs to the table top. I found that a small amount of filing of the inside edge of the narrow legs where they met the wide stretcher was necessary to get the legs to fold relatively flat. You can assemble the table and try it out first.

    assembly

    Attach the legs to the two outer table supports using hinges. Center the legs on the supports.

    Attach the magnetic catch to the center table support where it will meet the narrow legs and hold them centered on the table.



    Finish the Table:

    I used Australian Timber Oil because it will protect the wood and bring out the cedar's color. Any finish you like and is appropriate for your table's use is fine.
  • Enjoy...

    If you like our plans, and want to send a picture of the table(s) you build using our plans, email them to me, and I will post them here.

    Shopping List

    Cedar (or your choice)
    1. (1) - 8 ft 1x6 Cedar
    2. (2) - brass hinges ~ 1 1/2 x 1 1/2
    3. (1) - 5" x 1/4 stainless steel bolt
    4. (1) - 1/4" nylock nut
    5. (18) - 1" #8 brass screws (buy a couple extra)
    6. titebond waterproof glue or equivalent

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