A Drop Leaf "Breakfast Table"

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Project by Tom posted 01-21-2020 02:19 PM 555 views 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I really enjoy the drop leaf table. This type and size of table has many names such as the Breakfast Table, Pembroke, Drop Leaf, Flap, etc. This particular version is very useful in a breakfast nook, a studio apartment or as a living room side table. It is small enough to move around and you can open it up for eating or entertaining. They often have small casters on the legs. They also have 1 or 2 drawers. This is a timeless design in my opinion.

This is my first attempt to build a table with hand tools. I based it on a table that I bought at an antique fair that was hand made. It is a fairly simple version with rotating swing arms to support the leaves. Many of these tables were typically made from mahogany with inlays and curves. Mine is made from oak boards from the home center. I think this is a really great project for the novice hand tool woodworker. The material cost is not too high, I bought all my wood for less than $200. I used the most basic tools from the period which was from late 1700s to mid 1800s. It is also typical that they have some sort of brass pull, but I decided to turn a knob for fun.

I also documented the build in a blog that highlights the hand tool methods that I used. It is a nice project for hand tools because it has several joints including the mortise and tenon, lap dovetail, tongue and groove, rule joint and dovetail drawer construction.

I hope that others try building this table. Either with power tools or hand tools, it is a fun and useful project. I plan to make another version with turned legs and more interesting wood such as cherry. Brass casters would also be nice on a fancier table.

-- Tom

11 comments so far

View teetomterrific's profile


96 posts in 1001 days

#1 posted 01-21-2020 02:30 PM

Beautiful work. Did you use swing arms on the leaf support like the antique one you disassembled?

I would love to see some assembly photos showing the leaf mechanism and support. Do you have dimensions you can share? A Sketchup drawing?

-- Tom, Adams, TN

View Tom's profile


109 posts in 531 days

#2 posted 01-21-2020 02:36 PM

Here are a couple photos for the swing arms. They are slightly offset so that they can be perpendicular.

I did a basic drawing at the end of the blog. no guarantees on the dimensions, but you may want to adjust to suit your needs.

-- Tom

View recycle1943's profile


3684 posts in 2262 days

#3 posted 01-21-2020 02:38 PM

beautiful table – looks exactly like one you could find in the farm house kitchen 50 years ago

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View swirt's profile


4769 posts in 3612 days

#4 posted 01-21-2020 02:43 PM

I like the size and style. Nicely done.

-- Galootish log blog,

View PaxJen's profile


97 posts in 1296 days

#5 posted 01-21-2020 05:16 PM

Well done. Classic design with nice joinery. Very useful piece.

-- Pax - Maryland

View therealSteveN's profile


4906 posts in 1214 days

#6 posted 01-21-2020 10:15 PM

Such a pleasant piece. You’ve incorporated some of my favorite bits. You just don’t see a turning support arm so much anymore. Nice job.

Enjoyed the blog.

-- Think safe, be safe

View David's profile


214 posts in 4355 days

#7 posted 01-22-2020 03:24 AM

Sweet! Nice rule joint: Don’t see that much any more or swing arms either. I did one like it out of cherry years ago.
Keep up the good work

-- [email protected]

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3483 posts in 4352 days

#8 posted 01-23-2020 06:45 AM


Your table turned out great!


P. S. We’ve got a set of those same antique chairs, but with four spindles for the back.

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View mafe's profile


12386 posts in 3729 days

#9 posted 01-23-2020 01:25 PM

Love the structure and simplicity of this table.
You did a really fine job.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Tom's profile


109 posts in 531 days

#10 posted 01-23-2020 05:44 PM

Thank you all for the nice comments and advice! Nice to see woodworkers come together on Lumberjocks.

-- Tom

View GR8HUNTER's profile


6968 posts in 1352 days

#11 posted 01-23-2020 06:05 PM

beautifuly crafted table GREAT JOB :<)) GRATZ TOP 3

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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