How to Build a Folding Leaf Dining Table

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Do you and your family have frequent get-togethers or dinner parties but don't want a huge table taking up your dining room all the time? This article walks you through step-by-step instructions on building a folding leaf dining room table 8 feet long and 4 feet wide with an old-fashioned look. All that is required in accomplishing this task are a few carpentry tools, lumber, wood stain or paint of your choice and hardware.

Things You'll Need

  • 3/4-inch high-quality smooth-finish 8-by-4-foot plywood Two 6-foot 4-by-4s Eight 6-foot 2-by-4s Measuring tape Circular saw Sander Wood stain or paint of your choice 1½-inch wood screws 2½-inch wood screws 5/8-inch wood screws 4 heavy-duty hinges Screwdriver

Cutting the Pieces for Your Folding Leaf Dining Table

  • Divide the plywood into three sections. Draw parallel lines 1 foot in from both 4-foot sides so you have a 4-by-1-foot rectangle on each end of the plywood. Cut these sections with the circular saw for the folding leaves of your table.

  • Cut both 4-by-4s in half. You now have four sections that are 3 feet long each. These are the table legs.

  • Cut the 2-by-4 into 4-foot sections.

  • Cut two 3-foot-9-inch sections of 2-by-4.

  • Cut two 4-foot-6-inch sections of 2-by-4 for part of the support frame that holds up the leaves.

  • Cut two 6-foot sections of 2-by-4. These are removable sections that hold up the leaves.

  • Sand all rough edges off the cut pieces. Apply wood stain or paint of your choice and allow to dry.

Constructing Your Table

  • Lay the three sections of plywood on a hard surface to form the original 8-by-4-foot sheet. Place a short section on each side of the large section. Attach two hinges directly over each cut with 5/8-inch screws to combine all three sections. Screw the hinges 6 inches in from each edge.

  • Gather the four 2-by-4s and construct a square frame for the table. Lay the 4-foot sections with the short sides on the floor parallel to each other about 4 feet apart. Place the shorter sections in between them to form a square. Build the frame by driving two 2½-inch screws through both ends of the longer sections into the shorter ones.

  • Place the table top over the frame with the hinges on the bottom, toward the floor. Center the frame below the middle section so it extends over the frame 1 foot on all sides. Attach the table top to the frame by driving a screw every 6 inches through the top into the frame all the way around.

  • Turn the completed section over on the table top. Attach the four 3-foot pieces 4-by-4 into each inside corner of the frame for the legs. Sit one 4-by-4 on end against each inside corner and drive two screws through the frame into them. Screw from both sides of the frame that each leg touches.

  • Screw each 4-foot-6-inch section of 2-by-4 on the bottom of the frame against each pair of legs parallel to the hinge lines. Attach them with the wide edge against the frame and centered so that equal parts extend past the frame on both sides. Use three 2½-inch screws on both points on each board to attach them to the frame. The purpose of these two pieces is to hold up the two 6-foot pieces supporting the leaves.

  • Turn over your table and stand it on the legs. Drive a 1½-inch screw through the top into each leg.

Tips & Warnings

  • The leaves will stay closed when folded underneath the table because the edges fit snug against the outside frame. Insert each 6-foot removable piece between the bottom of the table and the portions of 4-foot-6-inch sections that extend past the frame to support the leaves.
  • Be cautious when using power tools.

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