In Projects, Questions And Answers, Techniques

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Instant Surface


In my compact shop, everything has to be portable and stowable, including my work surfaces. Whenever I need tabletop space for processing parts, milling boards or even assembling a project, I whip out this little gem. It’s easy to maneuver because it folds flat for storage and weighs less than 25 lbs. It sets up in seconds and is surprisingly rigid.


I used half-lap joints on the base and heavy-duty 270-degree hinges on the top (see Sources, below). When the table is folded, cleats extending from the back rail hold the hinged legs, and hand holes in the top and back rail align to form a comfortable grip. When the table is set up, the swing-leg assemblies butt against the back rail and are firmly captured by cleats attached to the bottom of the top. 







Build It


1. Cut the legs (A) and rails (B and C) to size.


2. Cut the hand hole and mortises for the 270-degree hinges in the back rail.


3. Cut half-lap joints in the legs and rails.


4. Lay the back assembly on your bench and clamp the swing-leg assemblies on top of it in the open position. Make sure the top edges and outside faces of the swing-leg rails (C) are flush with the top and outside edges of the back rail (B).


5. Screw on the butt hinges.


6. Install the 270-degree hinges and fasten the top (D).


7. Transfer the location of the hand hole from the back rail to the top and cut it out.


8. Turn the table upside down, swing the legs wide open (so they bear against the back rail) and fasten the cleats (E and F). 












Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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