At a recent tour of our studio, I was asked if I could make a shaker style coffee table that could be converted to a dining room table. I did some research and couldn't find anything that resembled a shaker style table with adjustable legs. My original thought was to make the legs out of two pieces; a hollow leg with a solid leg inside with dowels that would adjust the height. I had also considered a scissor type of adjustable legs but couldn't see how it could look shaker style.
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Step 1: The Top.
At a recent tour of our studio, I was asked if I could make a shaker style coffee table that could be converted to a dining room table. I did some research and couldn't find anything that resembled a shaker style table with adjustable legs. My original thought was to make the legs out of two pieces; a hollow leg with a solid leg inside with dowels that would adjust the height. I had also considered a scissor type of adjustable legs but couldn't see how it could look shaker style. Eventually, I went to LumberJocks website and posed the question in a forum. A few ideas were presented and the best one was from the member, CFrye (Candy) who provided me with this picture (3rd picture).
The board I used for the top was a 12-1/2" X 9' long red oak cut in half. My issue with the design was the space. The reason for the dual purposed table was to save space and based on measurements, the coffee table needed to be 17"-18" high while the dining room table should be at least 29" high. So, the minimum length of the table would had to be 58" long. Measuring the width was based on arm room, a plate and a cup side by side.
Step 2: Chop, Chop.
First picture is my very simple tapering jig used to taper two sides of each leg. Table saw was used to cut the tongues on the dining room parts of the legs and the grooves on the coffee table section.
Step 3: Figuring It Out.
Trying to create a bit of contrast, White oak was utilized for the shorter legs and apron. Everything at this point has been only dry fit in order to come up with the next steps of execution. Obviously, one side of the legs would had to fold inside the other side for this to work. My decision was to make one end smaller than the other instead of alternating each leg.
Picture 3 shows the position of the dining table and picture 4, the coffee table. I had to find a pivot point for the legs to rotate without creating a distance between the leg base and tabletop. It also had to be positioned correctly when it unfolded.
Step 4: Bottom Finishing.
Before going any further with the project, 2 coats of Watco Teak Oil was applied to the table bottom and let dry for a few days before applying a final coat of polyurethane. To install the aprons, I used 12 gauge figure 8 table top fasteners. These work fantastic when applied correctly.
Four 90 degree braces were cut to strengthen the legs. Last picture demonstrate how one side of the legs fold inside the other.
Step 5: Goofed and Moved-on
The end of the legs were cut for the "apron" insert which help to stabilize the structure. The last picture shows the "aprons" and corner braces being glued together.
OOOPS! Can you see what I did wrong?
Minor issues arise every now and then when one tries to make something similar to a picture at hand. Incase you missed it, the right side legs on the last picture should have had the "apron" not at the end but rather further in. The existing "apron" interferes with the folding process and block the left side legs from completely folding to a 90 degree angle.
Step 6: Final Result.
I spare you from the sanding and scraping process. The project was stained with walnut oil stain and two coats of polyurethane on top of the stain.
After staining the top, it was covered with saw dust overnight to collect any bleeding that may occur.
As you can see, the table proved to be pretty strong and stable enduring my daughter's weight.