How to Make a Portable Table

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Portable tables provide the ease and convenience of a regular table, but with the option of folding it up to save precious floor space. Ever wonder how to build one yourself? It is simpler than you think.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand saw
  • Power drill
  • Sand paper
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • 4 card table hinges and 32 screws fit to hinges
  • Four 2 x 4 inch oak beams of equal length
  • One 4 x 4 foot x 1/2 inch oak sheet
  • Paint or cloth for aesthetic purpose

Wood Preparation

  • Cut oak beams using your hand saw. All four beams should be an equal length, which will be 1/2 an inch less than the height of your table. If desired, cut the table top to size. The legs of the table must be at least 4 inches shorter than the lesser of the table top width and length.

  • Using your sand paper sand all the edges and faces of the legs and table top. Sand until smooth.

  • If you would like to have your table painted, now is the time to do so. Fully coat the table top and legs, allow to dry, finish with a second coat of paint, and again allow to dry. Other options besides paint are wood stain or lacquer. Again allow any finish to dry completely before continuing.

Putting the Table Together

  • Insert the Phillips head bit into the chuck on your power drill. Place the first hinge on the top on one of the legs. The bearing of the hinge (the rounded part at which the two portions of the hinge join) should hang over the edge of the leg. Center the hinge so that it is equidistant from both sides. Mark two of the holes in the hinge plate with your pencil. Using your power drill screw the hinge to the leg so that the screw lines up with your pencil marks. Repeat for the other three legs.

  • Place the table top, top side down. Place one of the legs in the corner so that the hinge lays on the bottom of the table top to the right of the leg. Use your pencil to mark the hinge holes. Using your power drill attach the second part of the hinge to the table top bottom. The leg will now fold down. Rotate the table 90 degrees counterclockwise and repeat. Do so until all four legs are attached.

  • Flip the table upside down, open the legs and enjoy your new portable table.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure to measure and mark your wood before cutting. Remember the old adage, measure twice, cut once.
  • Use an extension cord with your power drill to allow for better mobility.
  • All painting, staining, finishing, and sanding should be done outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
  • If you are unfamiliar with power tools, ask a buddy to help you. If you’re under 18 ask a parent.

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