Everyone and their grandma wants or has a farm table. Or maybe you want to have your grandma's farm table, ya know what I mean? It's pretty easy to say that these rustic, low fuss tables are a trend that's here to stay. This particular table is farmhouse inspired and portable for easy storage. Who needs those plastic tables for parties when you can do the same with a beautiful rustic wood table.
My mom really loved a table we made recently and wanted one as well. Her 60th birthday is in February so I thought it was the perfect chance to make her one as a surprise. With 6 adult children and 6 grand kids her current table barely fits half of us. I wanted her to be able to have this table for holidays and get-togethers and be able to easily store it in the garage. Beautiful for parties, small to store, and a amazing one-of-a-kind handmade gift. Win, win, win in my book.
Since I had no clue to start I found similar ideas and worked off of that. I used this folding beer pong table as inspiration and a guide.
Now here's the disclaimer, I am as amateur as it gets. Made with zero expertise and mostly just fooling around. There are countless ways to do some of this better. I'm posting this as inspiration for other people to work off of. Hopefully this does that. :)
Step 1: Plans - Thought Process
I started planing this knowing I wanted the dimensions to be around 36"x72". I chose a chevron pattern so the seam in the middle wouldn't be unusual. I wanted you to look at the table and have no idea it folds. If you don't mind the seam then you can do the traditional straight boards. That would make it easier and so much faster.
Originally I wanted 4x4's for the legs. They would be more stable and I think better visually. Unfortunately folding a 4x4 makes
things harder and heavier. So I opted for 2x4's.
The choice of pine was to keep the project light and kind of true to old farm tables. I used select pine from Home Depot. If you wanted it truly rustic you wouldn't need the select pine and you could nail through the top of the chevron. I personally didn't want any nail holes on the top.
Step 2: Materials
(1)1/4" 4x8 sanded plywood
(9) 1x4x8 select pine
(4) 1x3x6 select pine
(1) 1x6x6 select pine
(4) 3" door hinges
(4) 2.5" barrel bolt
(1) 30" piano hinge
(3) 1/2"x1/16"x36" square tubing
5/8" Nails for nail gun
1 1/4" Kreg screws
Kreg pocket hole jig
Step 3: Cutting the Chevron
CUT THE BASE-
The first thing you do is cut the plywood base for the chevron pieces. Originally I cut our bases at 36"x 36" each. After laying out the chevron and the bread board it made a tiny, tiny triangle at the bottom which I wasn't a fan of(see in pic). So I shortened the length of them by an inch to eliminate that triangle. So... the base plywood dimensions are 36W"x35"L" for each. Draw a line down the middle of each plywood base (parallel to 36"side). This line is the guide for the chevron.
CUT CHEVRON PIECES-
I only had so much wood so I measured each piece of one panel. First make a 45 degree guide line off of the middle. Then measure what the longest board will be and add 2 inches to each board measurement for overhang. Repeat and measure for each board using your wood as a guide.
Using those numbers I organized my cuts of the 1x4x8's. Here are my 1x4x8's cuts:
(9) @ 30"
(4) @ 26"
(4) @ 24"
(4) @ 19"
(4) @ 17"
(4) @ 13"
(4) @ 10"
Cut a 45 degree angle at one end of all of those. Lay them out onto the panels. Make sure the match up nicely. For the bottom boards that end by the bread board you need to draw a line across where they should end and cut those.
*If you have a lot of wood at your disposal then this can be much faster. You could find the measurement of your longest board, add a couple inches to that and cut a ton of pieces at that length. Cut each at a 45 degree angle. Lay them out along the guideline. Measure and cut the bottom pieces by the breadboard (if you have one). Then glue to plywood all pieces to the plywood. Let it dry COMPLETELY, flip over and nail the boards down. Cut the excess of the boards off with a circular saw for a neat straight line
Step 4: Attaching the Chevron
To attach the chevron I glued each piece in place. I pulled one out at a time and applied glue. Make sure to use a straight piece of wood to keep the center end flush. After you got it all nice and neat glue your bread board on and let it all dry.
After it dries you can flip them both onto flat surface. Use a piece of 1x4x8 and draw guidelines onto the wood. Draw a center line and use the raw ends as a guide for the lines.
This way you can avoid hitting the seams of the wood. It also helps later. Nail every couple inches. I did two rows on each board.
Mark your table edge lines on the chevron overhanging pieces. Make sure you are even and square. Clamp it down well and use a guide to keep straight. Cut the line you marked. Make sure that the edges is flat.
Do the same thing to the front centers just to make sure it's perfectly straight and flat.
Step 5: Framing the Top
CUT AND MITER-
For the frame of the table top I chose 1x3 select pine. Frame the 3 outer sides of the table top. Cut to size and miter the corners. Keep the center of the table blank.
To attach the frame to the table top I used a pocket hole Kreg jig. First mark where the screws will go using the guidelines you drew earlier on the back of the table. I put a screw at the end of each board. Make sure to avoid nails and seams.
I recommend practicing on scrap wood before making the holes in your table. I screwed the Kreg in so it wouldn't move when drilling holes. I also covered the second hole of the Kreg so I wouldn't accidentally use the wrong side. Drill your Kreg holes on all your marked spots.
After the holes are made you can screw the frame on. You will need help with this part. Make sure that the frame top stays flush with the table while you're screwing it in. Have someone hold it steady and flush. Do the two sides and finish with the ends. Add a little wood glue to the corners before the end cap is screwed down.
Step 6: Center Support and Hinge
So obviously the hardest part about a folding table is making sure it is supported. To do this I chose metal tubing. I figured it was strong but also light weight and small. It was a, 'see if it works' kinda thing.
CENTER PIECE NOTCHES-
First you need to cut four 2x2 crosspieces for the center of the table. There will be one on each end and two spaced around them. Measure in between the frame, and cut. Make 3 notches for the tubing. Mark in the center of the table then the other two will be 9" away from that on each side. Outline the width of the tubing on each mark. Using a circular saw cut little notches inside of those marks. Break out the pieces of the wood and sand if needed.
Using your Kreg make holes to attach on each end of the cross pieces so they attach to the frame edges. For the rest of the piece you will Pre-drill holes and then screw down. You can see the picture for reference.I used a piece of tape to mark so it only went down so far. Make sure to test your depths on scrap pieces of wood. Now slide in the tubing before you attach the next two pieces.
The metal tubing needs to be short enough to fit in the table while folded but also long enough that it doesn't slip out and move around. Measure from the bottom of the frame to the center of the table and subtract 1/4". Cut and then slide them in BEFORE you attach the outer cross pieces. Double check and make sure they aren't too long.
OUTER SUPPORT PIECES-
Take the two other notched pieces and cut 6" off each end. These will be shorter to accommodate the folded legs. I did them all the same length to start to make sure the notches matched perfectly. I placed these about 8.5" from center ones. To install you need to pre drill holes, then screw down into place.
Screw your piano hinge on the center crosspieces. Test it out and make sure it folds properly.
Step 7: Legs and Closure
First cut (4) 2x4's to 29". Sand and smooth the corners a little. To lay flat you need to notch out the space for the hinge. Trace the hinge. Make slices and then chisel out. I tested the depths on one before finishing the rest. Attach to the table with the hinges.
To lock the legs in place I attached barrel bolts to the side of each leg. While the leg is extended mark where the bolt hits. Drill a hole to fit the bolt. When opening the table leg simply slide in the bolt to secure.
CLOSING MECHANISM -
So I wanted it to close without any parts on the outer frame. That kind of limited options. And also my budget haha. So I settled on cabinet closures. They close enough to keep it shut but it is still easy to open. You screw these into the edges of the end frame pieces. One side will need to be attached to a piece of wood. See picture for reference. The other side will attach to the edge of the frame.
Step 8: Portable Farm Table
The table is so awesome. It's pretty to look at and folds up like a charm. It will barely take up space in her garage. I'm not sure what finish my mom would want and don't want to ruin the surprise by dropping hints so I'm going to let her choose after I give it to her.
The table turned out better than expected considering I barely know what I'm doing. I learned a lot a long the way. The next one I make will be even better! Most importantly, I hope it serves as inspiration for people out there.