How to Build an Easy DIY Folding Table

Build a solid, durable folding table in a day.

Time

A full day

Complexity

Intermediate

Cost

$51–100

Introduction

Here is an inexpensive way to custom build a sturdy foldable table that will last a lifetime.

Tools Required

  • 18-Gauge Brad Nail Gun
  • Circular saw or table saw
  • Drill bit set
  • Drill/driver - cordless
  • Hearing and eye protection
  • Miter saw
  • Router and bits

Materials Required

  • 1-1/4" finish nails
  • 1/2" x 4' x 4' Baltic birch plywood (1)
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • 3/4" finish nails
  • 3/4" panhead screws
  • 3/4" x 2' x 4' Baltic birch plywood (1)
  • Folding leg brackets
  • Wipe-on polyurethane
  • Wood filler
  • Wood glue

Project step-by-step (14)

Step 1

Cut the Tabletop

  • First, cut 40-1/4-in. from your sheet of plywood using a table saw or circular saw.
  • Next, cut the width and height of your tabletop to 40-in. x 40-in.
    • Pro tip: Make your first cut at least 1/4-in. longer than the finished length, so you have extra to square up the other edge.

Step 2

Cut the Bottom Edge

  • Rip four bottom edge boards at two inches from the remainder of the 1/2-in. plywood.
  • Cut the two-inch boards to length, two at 40 inches and the other two at 36 inches.

Step 3

Cut the legs

  • From the 3/4-in. sheet of plywood, cut the board at 30 inches.
  • Rip eight 2-1/4-in. strips from the board you just cut.

Step 4

Cut the Mounting Blocks

  • Rip one 2-1/4-in. board from the remainder of the 1/2-in. plywood.
  • Cut four three-inch blocks from the board you just cut.

Step 5

 Gluing the Bottom Edge

  • Apply glue to the two 40-in. bottom edge boards and attach them with 3/4-in. finish nails to the underside of the tabletop on opposite edges from each other, keeping them flush with the leading edge and sides.
  • Next, apply glue to the two 36-in. bottom edge boards and attach them with 3/4-in. finish nails to the underside of the tabletop between the two 40-in boards, keeping them flush with the leading edge. (See photo.)

 

Step 6

Gluing the Mounting Blocks

  • Glue and nail the mounting blocks to the underside side of the tabletop. The three-inch side of the block should be flush with the inside of the bottom edge board.
  • Leave a 1-1/2-in. gap between the top of the block and the adjacent bottom edge board. (See photo.)

Step 7

Laminating the Legs

  • Glue two leg boards together to make one 1-1/2-in. x 2-1/4-in. x 30-in. leg.
  • Nail the boards together with 1-1/4-in. finish nails.
  • Repeat this procedure on the remaining three legs.

Step 8

Corner Template (Optional)

  • Cut an 8-in. x 8-in. board from the leftover plywood.
  • Draw a four-inch radius circle in one corner of the board.
  • Cut 1/4 of the radius from the corner of the board using a jigsaw.
  • Sand the radius smooth removing any imperfections with 150-grit sandpaper.

Step 9

Rounding the Corners (Optional)

  • Clamp the template in one corner to the underside of the tabletop, keeping it flush with both edges of the corner.
  • Round off the corner using a router with a bearing flush trim bit or a trim bit and guide collar.
  • Loosen the clamps and remove the template, repeating this procedure on the remaining three corners.
  • You can also round the corners using a jigsaw. Sand the corners smooth with 150-grit sandpaper.

Step 10

Cutting the legs to length

  • Use a table saw to trim 1/8-in. from both sides of the 2-1/4-in. legs, making them two inches wide.
  • Next, trim about 1/4-in. from one end of each leg, then cut the other end to 29-1/2-in.
  • Cut a 45-degree angle off half the end of each leg. (See photo.)

Step 11

Round-over the Edges (Optional)

  • Round over the top and bottom edges of your tabletop with a 1/2-in. round-over router bit.
  • Round over all four edges of each leg with a 1/2-in. round-over router bit.

Step 12

Fill & Sand

  • Fill all the nail holes with wood filler. Let it dry completely.
  • Sand the tabletop and legs smoothly, removing any imperfections with 220-grit sandpaper.

Step 13

Finish

  • Optional: You can stain or dye the table to the desired hue to match your décor.
  • Seal the tabletop and legs with spray, brush, or wipe-on polyurethane.
  • Pro tip: For an extra durable finish, apply three to four coats of polyurethane, sanding with 400 grit sandpaper between each coat.

Step 14

Attach Leg Brackets

  • Flip the tabletop upside down. Insert the end of the leg into the corner, between the block and the inside of the bottom edge, with the angle facing angle out away from the block. (See photo.)
  • Place the leg bracket on the mounting block tight against to leg and mark the holes with a pencil.
  • Predrill the holes with a 3/32-in. drill bit.
  • Attach the leg bracket to the leg, then to the mounting bracket, using 3/4-in. pan head screws.
  • Repeat this procedure on the remaining three legs.