Small drop-leaf table

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Project by kordwood posted 02-12-2012 02:48 PM 3052 views 7 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It’s particularly gratifying to do something in a medium in which I’m not really comfortable—and in my world, that’s learning advanced woodworking techniques. It forces me to stretch well beyond my comfort zone to dig for solutions to unanticipated problems.

This drop-leaf table, loosely based on a small Stickley end table, is just such a case. The web didn’t offer step-by-step instructions on ways to support the leaves, so I was challenged to come up with a solution on my own. I ended up using a childhood memory of our kitchen table as a starting point … we had a very nice sturdy maple table when I was a kid, and my job prior to dinner was to lift the leaves and fold out the support.

Once the notion of support was designed and the mechanics had been worked out, the next challenge was to craft rather tricky drop-rule joints for the leaves that are both snug and yet loose enough to fold up without rubbing or binding. If they aren’t tidy, the piece fails. I’d never tried something so ambitious … it’s much harder than hanging a door. And it had to be successful twice.

The table stands about 22 inches tall. Fully opened, the top is 24×24. Closed, it’s about 8 inches wide.

Nearly all of this table is made from scraps that we picked up at Keim Lumber in Charm, Ohio. They have bins and bins of endcuts and extras from their cabinet division … like pieces of 8/4 qswo for as little as $1.10. When we drive through Amish country, Susan and I always make a stop and load up. I did have to buy one 4/4 board from Woodcraft to build the top. But when it’s all said and done, this piece has less than $50 of materials, including hinges.

And learning something new was priceless!

-- David in sunny Cleveland, Oh

11 comments so far

View StumpyNubs's profile


6272 posts in 1554 days

#1 posted 02-12-2012 02:54 PM

Very well done! Thanks for posting!

-Jim; aka “Stumpy Nubs”
Blue Collar Woodworking? FINALLY, a woodworking show for us morons! ” -The Hoboken Evening Review

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at:

View gul's profile


400 posts in 1716 days

#2 posted 02-12-2012 02:55 PM

Great project.I’d like to make one for my sister. :)

View Woodbridge's profile


2868 posts in 1172 days

#3 posted 02-12-2012 03:16 PM

great table,nicely constructed. You leaf support solution is well done!

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View a1Jim's profile


112939 posts in 2331 days

#4 posted 02-12-2012 04:58 PM

Very nice table nice crisp details.

-- Custom furniture

View toxicoval56's profile


150 posts in 2257 days

#5 posted 02-12-2012 08:19 PM

Very nice table. I really like this style and the rest of your projects as well.

-- The view only changes for the leading dog.

View pastorglen's profile


260 posts in 1444 days

#6 posted 02-12-2012 08:44 PM

I really like this. I’ve got some wood that may be perfect for this.

You did a great job. Thanks for posting!

-- Glen, Pennsylvania, Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."

View DBoltz's profile


122 posts in 1133 days

#7 posted 02-13-2012 09:09 PM

That is a really nice table! Can you show a little more detail on the leaf supports?

-- Dan, Virginia Beach

View pintodeluxe's profile (online now)


3574 posts in 1567 days

#8 posted 02-13-2012 11:41 PM

Well done! This is a beautiful piece, and should be quite useful as well.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View kordwood's profile


29 posts in 2505 days

#9 posted 02-15-2012 06:33 PM

Hey, dboltz, this b&w might show it a bit more clearly… there are four wings shaped like traditional arts and crafts corbels. They pivot 90 degrees to support the leaves. In the picture, the wings for each side are fully extended. They pivot on simple screws, and are supported top and bottom with little blocks of wood. You can see that the top block has a small stop notched in so that the wings don’t go too far in when the leaves are in the down position.

In the third and sixth picture of the project, you can see the wings in the closed position, although the sixth picture has too much shadow to be super clear (I’ll try to get a better shot there). When they are closed, they form a little arch.

-- David in sunny Cleveland, Oh

View DBoltz's profile


122 posts in 1133 days

#10 posted 02-16-2012 08:49 PM

Thanks for posting that picture. That shows a lot. Again, that is one slick table! Nice work.

-- Dan, Virginia Beach

View Douglas's profile


313 posts in 1314 days

#11 posted 01-08-2014 03:57 AM

Very very, nice. Thanks for posting.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

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