Folding dining table

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Forum topic by jrandallg posted 11-21-2016 04:30 PM 835 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1430 days

11-21-2016 04:30 PM

I have a question. I want to make a dining table. I want it to be 5’ x 4’ and I want it to fold in half, lengthwise. I live alone and only require two feet to set up in, usually. Sometimes I have company over and need more room on my table. So what I want to do is have half of the table fold down with legs that fold under. So then, when it’s just me, I have 5’ x 2’ space that I can put up against the wall, with the other 2’ hanging off. Then when I have guests, I can pull the table out, fold out the other part of the table and have 4’ of table space.
I’ve been trying to find that kind of thing to buy, but can’t find it anywhere. So, I guess that means I have to build one. So I looked on Instructables to find one there. They don’t seem to exist. I can’t be the only one that ever wanted something like this.
I’ve never built a table before, and would like to get it right the first time. Can anybody give me ideas about what needs to happen for me to do this?

5 replies so far

View Scottlj's profile


89 posts in 2597 days

#1 posted 11-22-2016 05:08 AM


Well, it sounds like you might have a design issue more than anything else. The way you expressed your goal kind of included how you’d like the table to function. But the real basic goal seems to be just to make something twice as large as usual on occasion. (Not necessarily have legs folding under, etc.)

As well, you say you’ve not built anything like this before, so I’d suggest maybe the easiest means possible. What if you built the table as 5’ long by 2’ wide. That’s it. you’re done with the basic table. But now, add hinges on one of the long sides. Then have a 2’ wide extension. On the bottom of the table, you’d just pull out some supports to hold it up, just like any extension leaf that would go on to a table. The hinges would have to do a full 180 degrees. The legs and base table construction would be super simple. The only skill you’d need to take care with would be mortising the hinges.

There is stuff like this that folds all up into itself.

But there’s no place to put your feet when it’s closed. Drop leaf designs can work as well, but are maybe still knee bangers.

So I’m talking more about something like this. All you have to do is cut or glue up two exactly the same 5’x2’ tops, then hinge them together.

If I’m understanding your goals correctly, this is probably your easiest construction and lowest cost way to do something like this. (Though maybe there’s more creative ideas as well.)

View CaptainSkully's profile


1615 posts in 4437 days

#2 posted 11-24-2016 04:35 AM

How about a gate leg table with a rule joint?

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View jerryminer's profile


960 posts in 2320 days

#3 posted 11-24-2016 08:05 AM

I have a table like that. I didn’t build it (but I did some repair work on it), but it is pretty straight-forward.

It uses Soss-type hidden hinges (exposed but flush in the “folded” position, hidden in the “unfolded” position.

It is a type of gate-leg table, and looks something like the sketch below. It is made from simple rectangular frames hinged together.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View jrandallg's profile


3 posts in 1430 days

#4 posted 11-24-2016 04:12 PM

I think the first two ideas kind of fit what I was trying to come up with. That third one is definitely an idea I hadn’t thought of, but a good one nonetheless.
I wasn’t sure about the terminology. But, yeah, what I was going for was a dropleaf that would hang down and be against the wall when I’m not entertaining guests. Then, I would raise up the leaf and drop the legs when the need exists. It would only one drop leaf that would be hanging opposite the side I would be using anyway, so I won’t have to worry about legroom underneath.
I think the extra legs on the leaf are kind of important because when the leaf is up, it will need to be supported to use that half of the table, so it would function as well as the other half without throwing it off balance.
Anyway, I think that I will make kind of wide legs for the regular table top and then, for the extra 2 feet, I will have a couple legs attached to the leaf, that will fold out and support that part. I kind of like the idea of having a rule joint, but not sure I will have equipment to do that.
Anyway, thanks, guys. I’ll let you know if this works.

View Lazyman's profile


5858 posts in 2266 days

#5 posted 11-24-2016 04:21 PM

Just search for “gate leg table” (on LJ if you want to build one or the internet if you want to buy one). There are tons of them out there. Most of them are designed so you can fold it completely against the wall you want it completely out of the way. You can setup one side when it is just you and both sides when you have guests. There are tons of other designs for drop leaf or expandable tables as well.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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