Japanese traditional low dining table (Chabu-Dai)

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Project by Junji posted 02-24-2009 07:39 AM 48382 views 6 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I always wanted to make one of these Chabu-Dai, a traditional Japanese dining table. The structure is really from long time experience of Japanese carpenters, so I thought there must be a lot to learn building this table.
To know the structure of it well, I referenced this site, but all in Japanese (sorry), but even only with photos, you can get some ideas.
How to make Chabu-dai

Chabu-dai is usually a round shape table, that’s because even a little kid can move it by standing and roll it. But for me, it is more important to put it away in a small space, so I made a square one.
Actually this is “re-produce” from a normal low table from a store. I found this as clearance goods, which they were selling it at 800 yen (about $7). I think this is rubber wood.

Most difficult part is the head of the legs. It is round, but not symmetry. When you open the legs, the legs head has to touch the table top and friezes by as much plane as possible, not by a line or a point. And when you move the legs, either open or close, the leg shouldn’t touch the table top or friezes. To check it, I made friezes and legs first set.
The legs can be take away, using pins and springs. There are tiny little hole in friezes where pins are, so if you push the pins with fine needle, you can push out the pin from friezes.

I used some screws for friezes, but in old days, I believe they did it any bolts or screws.

I told you this is a dinig table in ancient days in Japan, some people still use as a dinig table, but we don’t. I feel more comfortable sitting in chair, not on the floor. We use this table in kids room. But you know, Japanese houses are really really small, so we have to put away what we don’t need.

-- Junji Sugita from Japan,

13 comments so far

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3466 days

#1 posted 02-24-2009 12:08 PM

neat design, it,s alot like western “campaign” furniture that has to fold up for transportation. I checked your blog site and although I could not read it your children look very happy with the study desk you built. You do very nice work from such a simple workshop.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View Junji's profile


698 posts in 3406 days

#2 posted 02-24-2009 01:13 PM

Thanks Daryl,
Wow you saw my workshop! Actually it’s not a workshop, but it’s a garage. I have only small space that I can put a small work desk, and every time I do woodworking, I have to move my our outside… Oh well, someday, I will buy a bigger house with a HUGE workshop! Anyway, It’s very nice to meet somebody from Asia.

-- Junji Sugita from Japan,

View Todd Thomas 's profile

Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 3473 days

#3 posted 02-24-2009 01:29 PM

Nice/smart design…looks good …..good job

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3769 days

#4 posted 02-25-2009 12:17 AM

Very nice job, on this table and all of the other pieces you have posted on your website. I like the design elements of this table. It may be an answer to a stow away shop table that I’ve been trying to get ideas for. Of course, I would make the legs longer. The round table on your site has a very nice design to it. Thanks for the post

View Junji's profile


698 posts in 3406 days

#5 posted 02-25-2009 02:00 AM

Glad to know you get some inspiration from my post. The longer legs you need, the wider table top you have to have. Good luck.

-- Junji Sugita from Japan,

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4324 days

#6 posted 02-28-2009 08:54 PM

I really like the table, it’s nice to see things made with the Asian influence.

The joinery is something special, & very interesting.

I also enjoyed your music. I sent a link to your music to my musician sons.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Dan Hux's profile

Dan Hux

577 posts in 3398 days

#7 posted 04-12-2009 06:06 PM

great table.. Great table for small spaces. has a website can just copy and paste any URL in the translator and it will translate for you..

-- Dan Hux,,,,Raleigh, NC

View Dan Hux's profile

Dan Hux

577 posts in 3398 days

#8 posted 04-12-2009 06:07 PM

View Junji's profile


698 posts in 3406 days

#9 posted 04-13-2009 01:13 AM

Thank you for your useful information. I never thought about it, because I never had any trouble reading Japanese, but for those who can’t, it is great. Thanks for the link.

-- Junji Sugita from Japan,

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4425 days

#10 posted 04-13-2009 01:28 AM

A nice table. Congratulations on the construction.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Junji's profile


698 posts in 3406 days

#11 posted 04-13-2009 01:45 AM

Dick & Barb,
I can’t believe I forgot to reply to your message. Sorry.
Thank you for the comment, and thank you also for listening to my music. I hope your sons enjoy them too.

-- Junji Sugita from Japan,

View Junji's profile


698 posts in 3406 days

#12 posted 05-18-2010 01:01 AM

There are so much ideas for small houses in Japanese old culture. Futon may be the most greatest idea, we just use the mattress at night, and put away every morning. Being organized and use the space efficient has been what we all needed to do anyway, but I think there is beauty in it.

-- Junji Sugita from Japan,

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#13 posted 05-29-2010 07:56 PM

Unique table . At least to me thanks for sharing.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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