Folding Table




About: 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 a friends shop. Some of my fondest memories are...

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

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

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

Sand all the pieces to the same thickness.

A surface sander makes this very easy, but not necessary

Step 4: 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

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

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

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

Put your finish on the legs before assembling the top.

Step 9: 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

Slow motion table opening,and closing

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

5 People Made This Project!


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23 Discussions


25 days ago

And another question to the author. In "step 4 ; Drilling holes" it says - quote: The 20 1/2" pieces also need a 7/8" hole drilled 9 1/2" form the opposite end. - end-quote. My question is.... Which dowels going into this hole? I have according to the instructions a) 3/8" diameter dowels and b) 1" diameter dowel. Neither of them fit into this hole. Maybe I just miss something in the plan :-(.


3 years ago on Introduction

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?

1 reply

Reply 25 days ago

I agree and have the same question.... how do you drill a 5/8" hole in a stock that is only 1/2" (= 4/8") thick? But no comment from the author of the plan.


Question 6 months ago on Introduction

Nice job.If I wanted to make one 24" high. What would the measurements be. Thanks Bobby


Question 11 months ago on Introduction

What is the dimension of this folding table? What if I want to make a tilting table top (like a drafting table top)?


2 years ago

It has the measurements in centimeters?



2 years ago

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.

1 reply
Carl Jacobsongsgates

Reply 2 years ago

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


3 years ago

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

1 reply

3 years ago

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


3 years ago on Introduction

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.


4 years ago on Step 10

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


4 years ago on Introduction

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.


2 replies

4 years ago

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.