Folding Table

Since I have very little room on the "Widget", it was very unlikely I could build a permanent table for my boat.
I needed something that I could store easily but would give me
plenty of room for my dishes.

I found the plans for this table many years ago. I liked
how it folded up out of the way when not in use
, but provided me with plenty of table top surface for eating.


Part Way Up

Before I started building my table, I needed to determine some measurements first. I knew I wanted to use it in my cockpit on nice days, so I measured the distance between my cockpit seats (line a). In my case it is 18 " between the seats.

Then I decided what the proper height should be for the table top when eating (line b). I wanted it to be 25" high.

In my case, I also wanted to use it in the cabin. The distance between the seats is shorter in the cabin than in the cockpit, so I made the width between the legs this length (w). It is 16 " between my seats in the cabin.

With my original table on my boat, I made the top the same length as the distance between my cockpit seats (18 "). To determine the length of the top, I cut the top braces to be 18 " each. In the table I am showing here, I extended the top another 5" on both sides (length o), thus giving me a larger top (23 "), but keeping the distance between the legs at 18 ".

Knowing the basic measurements, it was now time to determine the length of the actual legs. A little grammar school math ( c2 = a 2 + b 2 ) determined the length of my legs to be 31.1 " (length c). I used 1 x 2 inch fir strips for the legs and braces, either plywood for the top or 1 x 4 inch spaced boards and a " hardwood dowel.

Now that I had my materials, it is time to start cutting. The following is my cutting list:

Some comments on the measurements: The finished fir strips are actually " x 1 ". Therefore the long dowel is 5 " shorter than the width. The short dowels are inch longer to allow for the washers to go between the legs and the braces.

Building process: First I rounded off both ends of all of the 4 legs and one side of the 4 top braces. I then drilled a inch hole in one end of each leg and each top brace. In the middle of each leg I also drilled a inch hole.

Assembly Process: The first step is to attach 2 top braces to the one of the two tops of the table along the outside edge of the top with wood screws. On the other top I attached the top braces 2 inches from the outside edge of the top. If you are not making a solid top but are using 1 x 4 inch boards, I would use 2 and boards to make one side of the top. This allows for space between the board and the center boards make up the width of a full board when the table is set up.

Now take a short dowel and glue it into the center hole of two of the legs. These two legs will be the inside legs. Next take the top with the braces attached at the outside edge and glue a short dowel into the end hole of each brace.

Place a washer on each of the short dowels. Then take the two legs without the short dowels in the center hole and put the short dowel on the top braces through the hole in the end of the leg. Next take the two legs with the short dowels in the center of the legs and place a washer on each dowel and then put the short dowel in the center of the leg into the hole of each of the legs connected to the top brace.

For the final attachment, slide the long dowel through the hole in one braces of the other top, place a washer on the dowel then through the top hole in each of the last two legs then add another washer and then through the hole in the brace on the other side of the top. Before I glue the long dowel in place, I check to make sure that the table will set up properly (once I did have one top turned the wrong way).

Once I am sure the table will set up properly, I then glue the ends of the long dowels to the two top braces (not the legs).

The final step is to fold the table up and make sure the legs are straight. Then attach a leg brace near the bottom of each pair of legs. You need to fold the table up prior to attaching the leg braces so that they do not interfere with the tops when folded. (Happened to me once).

Now you can either varnish or paint your table.