Folding Table to Shelves

  • Advertise with us
Project by Jim Jakosh posted 10-30-2021 03:21 PM 1676 views 2 times favorited 46 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was inspired to make this table by my woodworking hero, Izzy Swan!! I made it to take to Art and Craft shows for extra display space. The goal was to have it foldable and as light as possible yet be durable.

The shelf surfaces are 5/8” x12” x30” maple plywood that has been hollowed out in back to reduce their weight by 11 #.
The frame work is solid walnut. The moveable frame that the shelves are mounted to is made from aluminum angle and box elder rails- all painted satin black. All the fasteners are machine screws into threaded inserts in the wood ( with the exception of the screws that hold the shelves on). I used shoulder bolts for the shelf pivots so they can be fully tightened and yet swivel. There are headed Delrin pins for the pivots of the folding frame sections.

I added a lock block on each side to hold the unit vertical or horizontal. I originally had only one block , but it twisted in the horizontal position so the other one fixed that. There was a lot of tweaking once it was assembled.

It has 4 lockable casters that are screwed into inserts in the base.

The shelves are finished with Satin Poly and all the walnut pieces are finished with boiled linseed oil and buffed and waxed.The top is 30” x 60” and the whole unit is 34” wide and 30” high and the base is 30” long and the whole unit came in at 39#. I oiled and buffed the walnut so it did not have any “build” on the surface that would have made it tighter to fold.

Thanks to LJ defrosted for the idea about staggering the shelves for a display look. I posted the 6th shot of the unit like that with new pin locations to lock it in that position!!

I have added some process shots below….....................Cheers, Jim

The first three are tools to prove the concept and how it will work..

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

46 comments so far

View JRsgarage's profile


475 posts in 1843 days

#1 posted 10-30-2021 03:27 PM

Jim, That is simply awesome. Amazing build! How long did this project take you?

-- “Facts don't care about your feelings.” ..., Ben Shapiro

View Ivan's profile


17135 posts in 4201 days

#2 posted 10-30-2021 03:27 PM

This is realy art of craftmanship…..extraordinary!!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View luv2learn's profile


3148 posts in 3636 days

#3 posted 10-30-2021 03:28 PM

Wow Jim, that was one ambitious project. Nicely done. I also am a big fan of Issy Swan.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View Eric's profile


2832 posts in 1207 days

#4 posted 10-30-2021 03:31 PM

That’s an interesting project Jim, and the outcome is wonderful.

-- Eric, building the dream

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1668 posts in 2626 days

#5 posted 10-30-2021 03:35 PM

Great job Jim. You will probably get orders for it if you show how it works.

-- James E McIntyre

View therealSteveN's profile


9383 posts in 1908 days

#6 posted 10-30-2021 03:51 PM

Assuming the “bottom” of each shelf with the cut outs can be flipped over to use for putting items that may want to roll off a flat surface?

If it’s easy to roll to your display area, and set it up, it’s a winner simply from a choice of more table space, or shelf space.

I think you ought to put the price tag of one on it, and bring along more of them than merchandise. You would make customers of your past competition.

For display if you had a few of them, you could set them up as table, and a shelf.

-- Think safe, be safe

View gdaveg's profile


461 posts in 536 days

#7 posted 10-30-2021 04:06 PM


Unique and very useful project. I am sure it took many hours to build. You took a lot of effort to lighten the final total weight.

I will look up Izzy Swan.

-- Dave, Vancouver, WA & Tucson, AZ

View mtnwild's profile


4735 posts in 4861 days

#8 posted 10-30-2021 04:07 PM

That is amazing!

One, to design that in the first place!

Two, to find someone tallented enough to pull the design off…

Totally cool…SUPER…

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View sras's profile


6515 posts in 4463 days

#9 posted 10-30-2021 04:33 PM

Wow! That’s an impressive table/shelf unit. Well engineered and a beautiful rendition of it!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View defrosted's profile


46 posts in 214 days

#10 posted 10-30-2021 05:01 PM

can it be used in partial shelf mode? Horizontal shelves but each shelf a couple or a few inches back from the shelf below? Sort of but not really a ladder shelf…

View rtbrmb's profile


853 posts in 3722 days

#11 posted 10-30-2021 05:13 PM

Wow – that is an impressive project!

Outstanding design and execution.

Thanks for posting.

Bill in MI

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9319 posts in 1916 days

#12 posted 10-30-2021 05:18 PM

Cool, Jim! Well done!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8450 posts in 4686 days

#13 posted 10-30-2021 06:26 PM

Wow! And what everyone above said! Great work Jim!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View 987Ron's profile (online now)


2682 posts in 650 days

#14 posted 10-30-2021 06:44 PM

Great and all the above also.

-- Ron

View Peteybadboy's profile


4327 posts in 3283 days

#15 posted 10-30-2021 06:50 PM

Ingenious! Maybe think patent?

-- Petey

showing 1 through 15 of 46 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics