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Old 01-19-2014, 07:46 PM   #1
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The 'comfortable' dinette / bed conversion

I've moaned about the dinette table being about an inch or two too high - especially when using the table for sewing or computing. Of course I'm vertically challenged too so... whadda ya expect? At least with the EB I could simply shorten the two pedestals by 1.5 inches.

I swear I saw this mod somewhere - but for the life of me I can't find it on a search. I'm trying to find a local craftsman to do it for me and after I sent this e-mail to a few, I thought I'd submit it to the forum. I also wish I knew how to use a graphics program so I had an illustration to share. And why fold the leaves UP, so that they'll be braced when down and dinner won't slide into my guests laps!

Any comments on how this might work out - or if you know a dealer who would do it well?

Thanks, Paula

I'd like to make a small modification to my dinette table. I lack the tools and while handy, I'm afraid the results will look amateurish if I try to do it myself.


Here's the situation. My Airstream is an "Eddie Bauer" special edition. It has a rear tailgate so I can haul a canoe, kayak or a couple of bikes. To do this I have to fold up the dinette benches, stow the wretched table top under my bed at the opposite end of the trailer and remove and stow two pedestals. Pain in the neck. The table is approximately 40" x 48" and I'd like to do something I saw in a European trailer - give it fold UP leaves. The idea would be to have a 20 inch wide main table with a 10 inch leaf on either side - attached with piano hinges so that the leaves would fold UP on top of the main table. This would make the benches on either side more comfortable for lounging when watching TV, running my sewing machine, or using the computer. Also It would be easier to simply stow the folded table under one of the benches when I AM carrying the bikes or Segways.


Here is a link to Airstream's website with the floor plan of my trailer. The leaves would run parallel to the sides of the trailer. Airstream, Inc :: Eddie Bauer. If you wish there are also lot of pictures of the interior on the website. I actually haven't checked yet, but I think the laminate on the table is on both the top and the bottom (It was on my former trailer.) Naturally, the company's website shows everything BUT the table in detail. Here's a link to the current 2014 Eddie Bauer - with over 25 pictures of the interior including the table and how it is supposed to be stowed. Naturally they don't show the bloody toenails and fingers you get from moving the wretched thing from one end of the trailer to the other. I'll be gracious enough to remove it for you if you can do the job. Eddie Bauer Airstream - 2014 Airstream Eddie Bauer 25FB Front Bedroom


The table in its current configuration is designed to be converted into a semi-comfortable bed by removing the table legs and placing the table top between the two benches... not something I'd need very often. If I decided I did want to retain this option, I'd do it simply by chopping up an old bedframe I have and making 2 or 3 pieces of the angle iron fit between the benches for the table top to rest on. I can also order a second set of shorter legs from Airstream to use as "coffee table" height legs or to keep the bed stable when my newlywed niece and her husband visit. ;-).


So... sort of a piddly "handyman" job, but I'd rather pay a professional to get professional results than trust someone whose work I've never seen.
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Old 01-19-2014, 08:56 PM   #2
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Maybe you could get a lightweight pine table top for your sewing, computing, and everyday use, sized to our needs. Get the folding leg and wall clips like on a conventional FB/rear dinette table to mount it to your EB hatchback when you want it, stow it to the side when not. Bring out the monster table for company.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:53 PM   #3
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Rather than a piano hinge (which will stick up when the table is open) I think what you need is a Soss Hinge.

This is the type of hinge that was used in the '70's Airstream tables. A soss hinge will be invisible when the leaves are down. I think even with a 10" leaf you would want some kind of support under it. I'm not sure what the construction of your current table is, but I'm pretty sure the whole thing will be heavier once it's converted to have leaves. If the current table is solid plywood it might not be much heavier, but if it's hollow core it's going to require more solid wood than you have now in order to support the hinges. In this post you can get an idea of how a hollow core table is constructed (or at least how I did it).

If your main concern is being able to make the table narrower then the leaves might be the way to go.

If the priority is making the table lighter I'd be looking at some way of dividing the table across the trailer (so there would be a front half and back half each with a post under each half) with something to connect them for stability when they're installed. That way you would only be carrying half the table at a time to stow under the bed, but it would still fit in the same slot under the bed and could still be used to create a bed in the dinette. To keep the two pieces lined up you could use dowels and matching holes like are used in tables with leaves, and a couple of spring latches underneath to hold them together.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Maybe you could get a lightweight pine table top for your sewing, computing, and everyday use, sized to our needs. Get the folding leg and wall clips like on a conventional FB/rear dinette table to mount it to your EB hatchback when you want it, stow it to the side when not. Bring out the monster table for company.
I also thought of just making a smaller table top that would sit on the existing pedestals.

But I don't want to carry extra weight... (and once I got started I'd want another that was an ironing board and another with a scrabble board embedded and...)

Thanks though. P
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:31 PM   #5
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THANK YOU DavidsonOverlander

Those SOSS hinges are a great idea!

It isn't the weight of the table that's ungainly, its the size. The weight however IS enough to make me believe the table top is solid, not hollow. I just thought it would be a whole lot faster and easier fold up the leaves, lift it off of the pedestals, flip it, and put it on the floor under the curbside bench, but your idea is certainly viable. Now it's a very tight fit to stow the table top in the slots under the crossways queen. It's got to be easier with the 27'.

Cutting the table sideways - if you only use half the table and one pedestal what's to keep the table from spinning or turning freely?

I'm also guilty of putting my feet up on a coffee table if the furniture is utilitarian (and mine!) A second set of pedestal legs cut to coffee table height - only weigh about 5 lbs.

The dinette seats aren't super comfortable for me - they're a bit too high, but when you use a couple of pillows up against the wall and put your feet up, it's almost like a recliner. A great place to watch Downton Abbey!

I will think about extra bracing. Wouldn't want someone leaning heavily against a leaf and having the hinges pull out. I had an old oak kitchen table with big folding leaves and simple wood bracing.

Again, thank you for showing me these hinges. Paula

........Let's hope Airstream is still reading this forum and adopts one of these options in next year's model.
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:46 AM   #6
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The "comfortable" dinette/bed conversion

Greetings Paula!

I am not certain whether Symsonia, Kentucky would be too far to travel to find a craftsman to create the tabletop you describe, but if it isn't, I can recommend Fowler RV Interiors of Symsonia. Arlene and Henry Fowler have been restoring/refurbishing/modifying Airstream interiors for the better part of three decades. Henry is an excellent craftsman, and created new oak tops for the drop-leaf table in my Overlander as well as the Credenza Table in my Minuet. I have been using these tables for more than six years, and am very pleased with the results . . . and the solid wood tops actually weigh less than the Formica that was on a particle board material.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 01-20-2014, 08:10 AM   #7
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flip up breakfast bar

Aloha;

We did a flip up table, on just one side, to replace the dinette in our 28 footer. You can see how we worked it out here:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f345...uts-99279.html
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Old 01-20-2014, 02:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Cutting the table sideways - if you only use half the table and one pedestal what's to keep the table from spinning or turning freely?
I wasn't thinking that you would use only one half of the table at a time, I was thinking of dividing it just to make moving it easier, but to always use both halves. I'm not sure what the pedestals are like, but I think there would be a way to lock it in if you wanted to just use half.

Grant
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Old 01-20-2014, 09:31 PM   #9
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Rats I had another post with a link to a table that might work for you that got eaten by the squirrels:

Amazon.com - Magnussen Bali Wood Sofa Table

It's 50 x 30 I think but it's plenty big. We have one in our vacation cottage and it seats two on each side comfortably. The little knobs you see below the folded table top pull out support rods for the leaves.

Since our camper interior is Al, we used metal support rods like these:

Metal Drop Leaf Support - Pair - Rockler Woodworking Tools
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:53 AM   #10
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Rats I had another post with a link to a table that might work for you that got eaten by the squirrels:

Amazon.com - Magnussen Bali Wood Sofa Table

It's 50 x 30 I think but it's plenty big. We have one in our vacation cottage and it seats two on each side comfortably. The little knobs you see below the folded table top pull out support rods for the leaves.

Since our camper interior is Al, we used metal support rods like these:

Metal Drop Leaf Support - Pair - Rockler Woodworking Tools
Perfect example of the tabletop I want - something I can show a handyman. And the Rockler Drop Leaf Suppor - ordering 2 pair immediately. You rock, this forum rocks. Kudos & good Karma to you.

Paula
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:55 PM   #11
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Happy trails. Hope to meet up with you on the road some day
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Old 02-06-2014, 09:41 PM   #12
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Did you ever get your table made? I am also looking into a "fold up" or "cockpit" table as a replacement. I think I am going with a custom build.
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Old 02-06-2014, 10:46 PM   #13
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Did you ever get your table made? I am also looking into a "fold up" or "cockpit" table as a replacement. I think I am going with a custom build.
There's a local shop that's been recommended by several friends. I stopped down there on Monday and they'd closed for two weeks to go to Key West for their annual vacation. Good time to miss our blizzard! So I left a note and will see them when they get back on the 26th I believe.

I'll be so glad when it gets warm again! Paula
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Old 06-14-2014, 06:22 PM   #14
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So do you do it?

Did you ever have the work done to your table Paula? I would love to see pics.
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