Make a Collapsable Table for Concerts in the Park!

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Introduction: Make a Collapsable Table for Concerts in the Park!

About: I'm an environmentally conscious experimenter who loves to bring people together, build things, and when possible...blow things up! See us on YouTube too! https://youtube.com/WildmanTech

We saw this table, currently offered by Crate & Barrel, at concert in the park. We couldn't resist cloning it.
UPDATE! I've written another Instructable for a carry bag for this table here.

Step 1: Bill of Materials

1 ea. 48" x 7/8" wooden dowel
3 ea. 2" x 1/4" x 8' hardwood lattice
1 ea. 1" x 1/4" x 8' hardwood lattice
4 ea. 1/4-20 x 1" Carriage bolts
4 ea. 1/4-20 brass threaded insert nuts
4' x 1" nylon web belt
1/4" staples

Step 2: Cut the Dowel

Begin by cutting the dowel into four equal length pieces. Notice that I didn't say 12" pieces. This is because I have not seen a 48" dowel that was actually 48" long in recent years.

Step 3: Cut the Lattice

Cut the 2" lattice into 24" pieces. You'll need ten of them. I suggest trimming the whole stack at once to make sure they are all of equal length. Be very careful doing this. I used a chop saw and clamped the whole stack to the fence to keep it from shifting.
You'll need two 24" pieces of the 1" lattice too.

Step 4: Sand the Ends

Sand the ends of the dowels and planks.

Step 5: Burn the Nylon Belt

Cut two 24" pieces of nylon web belt and burn the ends with a lighter to keep it from fraying. This is a handy tip when working with nylon cloth too.

Step 6: Line Up the Planks

Line up the planks using a scrap of the lattice as a spacer to make sure they are spaced evenly. If one side is nicer than the other, place the nicer side down at this point because we are looking at the bottom.

Step 7: Staple the Belt to the Planks

Make sure the staples are shorter than the thickness of the wood and staple. My stapler isn't very strong so I had to assist it a little...with a hammer. Also pay attention to the surface you are working on because when I tapped the staples with the hammer it marred the other side a little.

Step 8: Continue Installing Planks

Continue installing planks making sure to move your spacers and keep the web belting pulled snug.

Step 9: Drill Some Holes

Lay the 1" planks across the table top and drill 1/4" holes in the corners. These 1" planks are spreaders to keep the nylon web belting taut. Enlarge the holes in the tabletop to receive the square head of the carriage bolts.

Step 10: Install the Spreaders

The table top should look something like this.

Step 11: Make the Legs

Using a straight edge and a scribe, mark one end of each dowel in the center. Clamp the dowel into a vise and drill a 5/16" hole 1" deep into the end. Note the cardboard wrapped around the wood to protect it from the vise jaws.
DO NOT HOLD THE WOOD IN YOUR HAND WHILE DRILLING!
I suspect there may be a jig for this, but I didn't have one so my holes may not have been perfectly centered.

Step 12: Install the Threaded Inserts

These brass threaded inserts are very delicate and difficult to install squarely. A couple of mine broke, but the inside thread was still good so I didn't have to make new ones. I suspect there's a special tool for this too.

Step 13: Put It All Together

From here, just screw the legs onto the carriage bolts and filp it over.
When you take it apart it rolls up into a handy little bundle.
You can apply a finish if you like. I often use olive oil or brown Kiwi Brand wax shoe polish.
Don't forget to make the Carry Bag too!

5 People Made This Project!

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63 Comments

This gives me some great ideas for both my boat and my RV (places where space saving is an art). Thanks.

Gonna try this for a collapsible bridge for our girl scouts bridging ceremony.

This is great! I had the idea to build one of these after I went on a week long canoe trip down the Mississippi river with a professional guide. Then I found these great instructions! Way more economical than what I was originally considering (http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?pfid=2717).


I did find one very helpful improvement to the original instructions. I believe the object in this picture is called a locking blind T-nut. It is much easier to install than threaded inserts and will definitely go on straight. They can be found at Lowes in the Hardwear > Furniture Parts section. Less than $1 each. Pre-drill a hole in each leg, put a few drops of gorilla glue around the pre-drilled hole, then hammer one of these nuts on top your hole (gently, so your leg doesn't split).


The only thing to double check is that the size of your dowel leg is big enough to hold the T-nut, because the locking teeth on the nut need some extra room to bite down.


Good luck and happy tinkering!

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3 replies

Just one warning about these t-nuts. I use them for lots of things and do love them, but they are designed to be put in on the opposite side of the wood from where the bolt enters. In that configuration the pressure of the bolt actually holds the t-nut into the wood.

In this case the t-nut would be on the top of the leg and the tension would be pulling the nut out of the wood. You are also gluing against end grain which doesn't have much strength.

The best solution in this case would probably be a bolt with a barrel nut. They are inserted in a hole drilled perpendicular to the bolt and provide an extremely solid connection in these situations. You find these on furniture all the time and they can be bought at most hardware stores for little cost. Examples below;

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_5_10?url=se...

I love the project and you gave me some great inspiration for something similar. Great job.

We've now built over 100 of these in workshops held by the People Who REALLY Build Things! The design is proven, easy to build and cheap!

I happen to really build things and I was just trying to share some of my experience also. Your reply seems a bit defensive and I am sorry if you took what I was suggesting as an attack on your design, but I do believe that for a few extra dollars you would have a connection that is stronger and will last longer.

Your choice is cheaper and that is great, but it is also good to have alternatives and that is all I was offering.

You have a great design that I got some excellent ideas from. I enjoy learning from good project and other peoples thoughts.

About how much did this cost you to make? Just want to compare the cost here to the Amazon cost of $40.00.

1 reply

When I hold a workshop, they're about $13 each. The prototype was like $26

The legs come off and the spreaders and legs all roll into a bundle with the top. Build one and you'll see exactly what I mean.

Lovely! Thank you!

can this be made bigger...like a 8' by 3' table with say 6 legs? only i'm wondering about the surpport slats...how long can they be made?

2 replies

My friend mad one 3' x 6' out of aluminum slats. It tuned out pretty nice. Sorry, no pix.

Thanks...so would it be able to carry weight if i use 2x2 say 4 feet for legs? and say 1/2" thick wood for slats?...would love to make a easy table as this so i can set it up and lay my food when i have a party.

Great description! Once I figure out how to support longer legs I may make a few for camping. Our car is too small for most folding tables.

Love this 'ible!

I'd like to make the legs a bit longer to use as a taller side table. Any suggestions on how to stabilize the legs to minimize wobble?

Thanks!! :-)

this agreat table for many uses. A short piece of webbing looped and stapled to the bottom of an end slat makes for a fine handle.

cool idea. a friend gave me the roll up top to a camp table he broke the legs on. i'm half way done!! lol

 I've been wanting to get one of those collapsable camping tables to use when I'm out with my telescope. Instead of buying one, I'll just modify the dimensions a little on this one.

Nice project. Scrounge up some fancy turned or tapered legs, and you maybe permitted to make camp in the upscale, uppity section of the park. :)