Folding card table

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Project by Alan posted 12-21-2008 06:48 AM 5199 views 30 times favorited 36 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a piece I just finished for a client who wanted a folding table to play cards on. He wanted something compact that would open up when in use. It’s built of quilted and quartersawn maple veneer, solid maple, and wenge. It’s 39” square and 30” high.

This design is a contemporary take on an old style of table. The back legs fold in on hinged side aprons so that when the table is not in use, it looks like a console or hall table. To use it as a card table, the back legs swing open on a double hinge and are held in place with a support frame that’s screwed into the sides in 4 places. That stiffens the leg and aprons so the table doesn’t wobble due to all the hinges. There is also a center leg that bolts on to support the table and take stress off the hinges.

Once the legs are opened up and locked in place, the top swings open and rests on the back legs. I used Soss hinges for the top because they don’t show when it’s closed and leaves a very small gap when open. They’re a little involved to install because of the mortises needed and very close tolerences, but you never see them except from the back.

The trickiest part was the veneer. I had to make sure the corner seams lined up with the wenge edges at the corners on both sides of the same piece. I made the top as one piece originally. After I glued the oversized veneer to one side, I drilled tiny holes through the top just beyond where the edge pieces would be. I then used the holes on the other side to line up the veneer. Very scary. Off just a little and the lines wouldn’t line up. Fortunately it came out pretty well, but I had a restless night waiting for the glue to dry. Once the top was veneered on both sides, cut to size, and the edges glued on, I cut it in half- another nerve wracking operation.

The other big challenge was getting the folding side aprons cut to the right length so the back legs could fold in, line up with the front side apron properly and not hit anything. Originally , it was just going to open up and then have top flip over, but it was too wobbly that way, so I built the back support framework to lock the legs and apron in place. That was necessary since the flipped over part of the top couldn’t be fastened down anywhere because each side is visible at some time.

I could probably spend an hour describing the construction challenges and how I addressed them, but hopefully you get the idea. It was a very interesting project that really pushed my skill levels and was a lot of fun, despite the almost constant spector of flop sweat and disaster hanging over me.

-- Alan Carter,

36 comments so far

View Kerux's profile


812 posts in 5339 days

#1 posted 12-21-2008 06:54 AM

Oh, I want one really bad. That is awesome!


View Alan 's profile


51 posts in 5372 days

#2 posted 12-21-2008 06:55 AM

How’d you do that? I posted this like 2 minutes ago.

-- Alan Carter,

View Kerux's profile


812 posts in 5339 days

#3 posted 12-21-2008 07:14 AM

I am a parent… I know things when they happen… LOL


View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5702 days

#4 posted 12-21-2008 07:32 AM

Beautiful table Alan. Love the wood.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4074 posts in 5519 days

#5 posted 12-21-2008 07:41 AM

That’s gorgeous! Flop sweat is a much nicer way to express the concept of pucker factor 10. I’m pleased it all came out so well.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View isetegija's profile


763 posts in 4970 days

#6 posted 12-21-2008 07:42 AM

This is really elegant table.
Thanks for sharing with us.

-- Not my woodworking

View Topapilot's profile


172 posts in 5296 days

#7 posted 12-21-2008 08:14 AM

Thats really nice. Can you post some more pictures of the leg mechanism? I’d really like to better understand how you made that work.

View jft68's profile


23 posts in 5046 days

#8 posted 12-21-2008 11:26 AM

Really gorgeous !
Mays I ask you to post a bigger image of for the second one to see the details better.

-- Jean-Franco

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 5361 days

#9 posted 12-21-2008 03:02 PM

That is beyond cool !

View toyguy's profile


1790 posts in 5292 days

#10 posted 12-21-2008 03:08 PM

looks great, functional, quality built….. What more could someone ask for.

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5417 days

#11 posted 12-21-2008 04:27 PM

Really great work. It was worth all the flop and disaster sweat. Impressive veneer work.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5673 days

#12 posted 12-21-2008 04:31 PM

Not only a great piece of woodworking, but a feat of engineering as well!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View wwnovice's profile


104 posts in 5641 days

#13 posted 12-21-2008 05:12 PM

Beautiful table. Outstanding work!

-- John

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2874 posts in 5047 days

#14 posted 12-21-2008 06:25 PM

Very elegant!!! It has a nice style and richness. Great job.

-- Dennis Zongker

View dustygirl's profile


862 posts in 5184 days

#15 posted 12-21-2008 06:29 PM

What a great folding table.I love it.

-- Dustygirl..Hastings,Ontario.. How much wood can 1 gal chuck if 1 gal can't cut wood?

showing 1 through 15 of 36 comments

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