Small Folding Table [UPDATED]




About: I'm an Italian freelance structural engineer, graphic designer and photographer, and I'm teaching physics in Waldorf high-schools. I always investigate electronics, robotics and science in general, I'm a pas...

Although this is not an original project I assume there is some reader which doesn't know this great table design.
I made a small table/large stool, but of course you can modify the project to obtain a real table.

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Step 1: Design and Material

I drew the side views of the table in a small scale so to determine proportions and size.
In the image I modeled in 3D for this instructable you can see proportions and some dimensions, although they're not exactly the ones I used, but you can keep same proportions and change size.

Measure the boards, cut them and make holes at the right height.

Step 2: Boards Position

To choose the right position for the platform boards the best way is to place everything on a flat table, centre each piece and glue all pieces with right coupling.
Use some spacers where you will place some washers between rods.

Step 3: Dowels

To reinforce the table we will insert wood dowels on every connection we already had glued.
In my other projects I tried to hide dowels inside the boards and rods but in this case I suppose they will be nice, and undoubtedly this way is much more fast and simple.
Just drill holes of the right size (8mm diameter and 3-4cm length in my case) on the axis of the rods from above the boards.
You can wait to insert dowels and glue until every board is in place.

Step 4: Cut Feet and Insert Nuts

Now you have to proceed with some details. Drill not too deep holes where to insert nuts. Then cut the feet in diagonal with the right angle. The best way to determine the angle is to place assembled table on a surface and use a goniometer.

Step 5: Last Boards

I decided to place the lower boards directly against the floor. This way makes the table much more stable.
So you have to pay attention that the lower edge of the boards makes contact with the floor surface before gluing them.
Use clamps to keep everything compressed until glue is dried.

Step 6: Glue Dowels

Time to drip glue into the holes, insert the dowels, and cut with a Japanese saw the protruding pieces.

Step 7: Assembling

Assembling the pieces is very simple,. I used a pair of long nuts for the inside connections, so to insert a bamboo cylinder to act as an handle to transport the piece of furniture.
To avoid the bolts to unscrew you can add cyanoacrylic glue or some special product.

Step 8: Finishing

Complete your work with some finishing painting. I added shellac and wax, to obtain a nice appearance.

Step 9: Test and Enjoy

The table/stood is ready! You can test it or ask friends to do that ;-)

Step 10: Improved Handle

I added a rope around the handle to improve grip and appearance. just place a layer of glue on the cylinder surface and wrap it with the rope.

4 People Made This Project!


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38 Discussions


2 years ago

How tall does this stand once it's completed?


3 years ago

de marabilla, sus publicaciones son de gran ayuda, son algo asi como sonidos de paz y progreso y Presencia de Dios (sin religion)


4 years ago

I was looking for something like this. Think I'll use pallets, rethink the design for a 22inch stool and 36 inch table. Thanks for posting this.

1 reply

4 years ago on Step 9

I've been making and selling something very similar for years. The major difference is that they are made from PT deck boards, stainless deck screws, and finished with deck be used as patio furniture. I have also made them from TREX composite deck boards.....heavy, but totally weatherproof.

1 reply
andrea bifficshepard

Reply 4 years ago

cool! do you have a picture or a link of the product? thanks!


4 years ago on Step 2

I used this pattern to make my wife a small step stool, she has used it for years, it is very strong, owing to use of oak lumber in the project. It easily held my 270 pound frame (before I lost 50 pounds) so the pattern is very strong and easy to make. Thanks for posting it once again, as I had lost my plans. I need to modify to make a folding coffee table for our motor home.

1 reply

4 years ago on Introduction

Nice!! I've been looking for some dimensional plans for these for some time.

I made one a year or so back but it was a bit off & I never took the time to figure out where I went wrong..

Bookmarked this one for the woodshop 'puter... Thanx

1 reply

4 years ago on Introduction

I been making the same project as a chair for years. But my design uses just wood. Even so they have lasted for years and I wiegh over 400 lbs. Very good design, for a very good chair. And it's easy to make.

2 replies

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

@tandjbartels - do you have a picture or schematic of that, showing how the wood connections are made?


4 years ago on Introduction

Nice drawing, yet you need to add a parts list and thickness of the boards used. and how did you affix the the pivot joints. a closer up photo of that would be helpful.

1 reply