|Project by Alan||posted 12-21-2008 06:48 AM||4200 views||28 times favorited||36 comments|
This is a piece I just finished for a client who wanted a folding table to play cards on. He wanted something compact that would open up when in use. It’s built of quilted and quartersawn maple veneer, solid maple, and wenge. It’s 39” square and 30” high.
This design is a contemporary take on an old style of table. The back legs fold in on hinged side aprons so that when the table is not in use, it looks like a console or hall table. To use it as a card table, the back legs swing open on a double hinge and are held in place with a support frame that’s screwed into the sides in 4 places. That stiffens the leg and aprons so the table doesn’t wobble due to all the hinges. There is also a center leg that bolts on to support the table and take stress off the hinges.
Once the legs are opened up and locked in place, the top swings open and rests on the back legs. I used Soss hinges for the top because they don’t show when it’s closed and leaves a very small gap when open. They’re a little involved to install because of the mortises needed and very close tolerences, but you never see them except from the back.
The trickiest part was the veneer. I had to make sure the corner seams lined up with the wenge edges at the corners on both sides of the same piece. I made the top as one piece originally. After I glued the oversized veneer to one side, I drilled tiny holes through the top just beyond where the edge pieces would be. I then used the holes on the other side to line up the veneer. Very scary. Off just a little and the lines wouldn’t line up. Fortunately it came out pretty well, but I had a restless night waiting for the glue to dry. Once the top was veneered on both sides, cut to size, and the edges glued on, I cut it in half- another nerve wracking operation.
The other big challenge was getting the folding side aprons cut to the right length so the back legs could fold in, line up with the front side apron properly and not hit anything. Originally , it was just going to open up and then have top flip over, but it was too wobbly that way, so I built the back support framework to lock the legs and apron in place. That was necessary since the flipped over part of the top couldn’t be fastened down anywhere because each side is visible at some time.
I could probably spend an hour describing the construction challenges and how I addressed them, but hopefully you get the idea. It was a very interesting project that really pushed my skill levels and was a lot of fun, despite the almost constant spector of flop sweat and disaster hanging over me.
-- Alan Carter, www.alancarterstudio.com