Introduction: Folding Table

I uploaded this video on YouTube on how to make this Cedar folding table. Here's some more detailed instructions if you would like to build it. It's a pretty easy project, and can be done in a weekend. I chose Cedar for this project, it's a great outdoor wood that holds up well.

Step 1: Choosing Lumber, and Hardware

Picture of Choosing Lumber, and Hardware

I had to resaw the boards I used in the video, but if you use 1/2" lumber it will speed up the build a lot.

You will need,

7' 3" x 3 1/2" x 1/2 lumber for the top, and bottom supports.

11' 10" x 1 5/8" x 1/2" lumber for the legs, and table pot supports.

12" of 3/8" dowel,

7 1/4" of 1" dowel

24 #6 1" screws

Step 2: Cut List

Picture of Cut List

The four top pieces are,

15 1/4" x 3 1/2" x 1/2"

Two bottom supports are,

13" x 3 1/3" x 1/2"

Four legs are,

20 1/2" x 1 5/8" x 1/2"

Supports under the top are,

14" x 1 5/8" x 1/2"

Eight pieces of 3/8" dowel

4 at 1 1/8"

2 at 3/4"

2 at 2"

One piece of 1" dowel

7 1/4"

Step 3: Sanding

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Sand all the pieces to the same thickness.

A surface sander makes this very easy, but not necessary

Step 4: Drilling the Holes

Picture of Drilling the Holes

Using a drill press will make this much easier, and more accurate.

All the 1 5/8" x 1/2" support pieces need a 3/8"drilled 7/8" from one end. The 20 1/2" pieces also need a 7/8" hole drilled 9 1/2" form the opposite end. Two of the 14" x 1 /58" supports also need a hole drilled on the edge, this is the 1/2" side. find center-7" and drill a 5/8" these will be the stops for the top of the table.

Step 5: Rounding the Corners

Picture of Rounding the Corners

I used a bottle cap to mark the corners, this can be done with a compass as well. Mark all the corners on the 1 /58" pieces, and the 13" x 3 1/2". Only two of the 15 1/4" x 3 1/2" pieces have the corners rounded, on one edge. I used a spindle sander, this works well for rounding the corners.

Step 6: Installing the Dowels

Picture of Installing the Dowels

Glue in the 3/4" dowels into the 14" piece you drilled a 5/8 hole on the edge. The 2" dowels, are glued into the 20 1/2" pieces. Glue the 1 1/8" into 14" supports. (Not the ones with the 3/4" dowels) Let the glue dry before assembly. The 20 1/2" legs go on the outside of the 14" supports with the 3/4" stop dowels. The 14" supports go on the outside of the other 20 1/12" leg. The last two 1 1/8" dowels, are glued in to the 20 1/2" piece for the cross brace, glue them on the outside leg.

Step 7: 7 1/4" X 1" Dowel

Picture of 7 1/4" X 1" Dowel

Find center on the dowel, I used a center finder to do this. Drill a 5/8" hole in each end, about 1" deep. Install the dowel/handle into the 2" 5/8" dowels, don't glue them in.

Step 8: Finish

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Put your finish on the legs before assembling the top.

Step 9: Install the Top, and Lower Supports

Picture of Install the Top, and Lower Supports

I used #6 1" screws

Square the two top pieces up. I used a 1/8" spacer between the dowels, and two pieces. Use a tape measure to measure the overhang on each side. Pre drill for the screws, I used a square to lineup with the supports. Screw the 15 1/4" pieces to the inside support with the dowel stops. The lower support is screwed to the inside leg 1 1/5" down from the top piece.

Flip the table over, and repeat this process. The only deference is you screw the pieces to the outside supports, and outside legs.

Step 10: Apply a Finish to the Top

Picture of Apply a Finish to the Top

Slow motion table opening,and closing

Apply a finish to all the remaining pieces, and let dry.


VanderleiS2 (author)2016-08-18

It has the measurements in centimeters?


gsgates (author)2016-07-25

I had one of these tables a long time ago in an RV we had, it was the handiest thing. Very strong, yet very compact to store for travel. Bought a new RV and remembered that table and thanks to youtube I have a table like this again. 4 hours and 3 cedar fence boards later. Thanks for the video.

Carl Jacobson (author)gsgates2016-07-25

Thank you! They're very handy, I use it all the time.

ChrisA209 made it! (author)2016-06-13

I made from a cedar fence post. (Note: Planer required or a ton of sanding). Total cost was $3.50. I had to get the dowels ;)

Carl Jacobson (author)ChrisA2092016-06-13

Very nice Chris, way to recycle :)

DavidC700 made it! (author)2016-06-06

Thanks for the video. Now I have to make another one...only bigger..

Carl Jacobson (author)DavidC7002016-06-06

Thank you! The table looks great. I did a bigger one too, but it was more for the shop.

Han-D-Man made it! (author)2016-03-13

Thanks for the plans Carl. No problems following your plans, but I did improvise with what I had available. I wound up using 3/4" Douglas Fir and just wiping a coat of Boiled Linseed Oil on it. I also misdrilled a couple of holes during assembly of the top slats. My mind wandered and I wasn't paying attention, and had to use a little putty. The only thing I couldn't figure out was the reasoning for the 1/8" space between the dowels and the first top slat, whereas the outer side slats but up against the dowels. Either way, great design and very sturdy. I weight 230 pounds and have no problem using it as a folding chair to support my bulk. Its primary purpose is what you designed it for, a table, to sit between my wife and I at my son's baseball and football games.

Yonatan24 (author)2016-02-05

That's so cool! I need to make one of those too!

Carl Jacobson (author)Yonatan242016-02-06

Thank you!

Muzikji (author)2015-09-27

Thank you so much,well done really.

I'm planing to do it, but first I had to convert to metric for all my tools are so, and numbers came out absolutely crazy!, I don't know if I round it up it will work or not, but I'll give a try

I think there is something not right in this paragraph:

"Two of the 14" x 1 /58" supports also need a hole drilled on the edge, this is the 1/2" side. find center-7" and drill a 5/8" these will be the stops for the top of the table."

drilling a 5/8" into a 1/2" side?

LisaM70 (author)2015-09-16

How do I make the stand, that holds 6 foldable bedside stands?

tazisaspaz made it! (author)2015-08-11

Thanks for the plans, I made it and it came out excellent. Only issue I had was the cut list on the pictures specified 2 14" x 1 5/8" x 1/2" top supports. It should be 4, 2 for each side. After I looked at the pictures it was easy to figure out and came out great.

Carl Jacobson (author)tazisaspaz2015-08-11

Great job! Thanks for the heads up, I'll fix it.

Oops, I can't fix that :(

repairguy03 (author)2015-08-08

I built a very similar table in high school back in the 60's. It was made from Douglas Fir for durability,I like the looks of Cedar but find it to be too soft to stand up to heavy abuse. The project looks good nice job.

firechildc (author)2015-07-28

Could this be used as a stool? Any idea of how much weight it would hold? Excellent build, btw!

Carl Jacobson (author)firechildc2015-07-28

I use it as a stool too, and I'm 180

NarayanK (author)2015-07-10

Thank you so much to share the brilliant idea to make the folding table

acheide (author)2015-07-07

Very rare to find instructions to build this table. Thanks for showing how it is built. It would be nice to see a slow fold and unfold.


Carl Jacobson (author)acheide2015-07-07

Thank you, I just added a slow-mo video in the final step.

acheide (author)Carl Jacobson2015-07-07

Thanks for the video, and thanks again.

mazzinga (author)2015-07-07

This looks great. I'd love an instructable for foldable chairs similar to this (just in case that's your next project). If not, I may adapt these guidelines.

Carl Jacobson (author)mazzinga2015-07-07

Thank you, I don't have plans for a chair. If you make one I'd like to see it.

crank_girl (author)2015-07-07

just what i'm after - perfect for my summerhouse and the stacks of pallets i have lying around.

Carl Jacobson (author)crank_girl2015-07-07

Thank you, this is a great recycling project. I'd love to see some pictures when you're done.

About This Instructable




Bio: I started woodworking with my grandfather as a young boy. I continued woodworking through high school, and started woodturning after seeing a turned project in ... More »
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