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Old 10-13-2020, 09:50 AM   #1
RFP
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Construction of a folding dinette table

Some time ago, I built a folding dinette table for our 2014 International Serenity 23D. The purpose was to provide for a smaller table for 'morning coffee' or 'afternoon tea,' yet be easily - and instantly - convertible to the full-size table for meals. We love how this project turned out!

Earlier, I had posted about this table in the Forum's 23D thread, and several asked for more information. After visiting with several about this propject, it seemed a good idea for me to start a thread on how I built our table with a few measurements and more photos. So, here 'tis!

This is not intended to be a comprehensive 'how to' post, but more of a 'get you started' post. Anyone considering this project would likely already we well-experienced and have the tools needed.

The table top was made from 18mm Baltic birch (3/4" nominal). I used clear white ash for the hinge-side edges, using a half-lap joint. Installing the SOSS hinges into the edge of ray plywood, even Baltic birch plywood, is certainly not best practice; the ash provides the proper screw-holding characteristics for the hinges. A dimensioned sketch of the table top(s) is shown below. These dimensions allow folding without interference with the front curtains.

The table's leg is made from ash, several pieces assembled according to the 'look' I wanted. The leg is a slip-fit into a pocket in the sliding support mechanism, with a single 1/4"-20 machine screw keeping it in the pocket. The leg is easily removable, if desired.

The 'sliding support' uses 4 full-extension drawer sides. The 4 slides are identical and are off-the-shelf 18" length. Two slides are oriented vertically (providing 'up and down' rigidity), and two slides are oriented horizontally (providing 'side to side' rigidity. The entire sliding support is very sturdy; the table is completely secure.

The aluminum "L" shape is 1" X 2" mill-finish aluminum angle that I bought from Orange Aluminum. I recessed "T Nuts" under the laminate for mounting the aluminum angle.

The hinges used are SOSS mortise mount invisible hinges. These are what I used: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The SOSS routing jig is required to properly rout the recesses needed for the hinges. This part of the project requires considerable care to be sure everything lines up as you want it.

To complete the project, I laminated the underside of the stationary part of the table top with basic white melamine. The top surfaces were all laminated with Wilsonart laminate; the same as used by Airstream. I also laminated the edges of the table tops. While it turned out good, I wouldn't do it again. The laminations of the Baltic birch have a nice enough look and the edge lamination was really a pain!

Just being the two of us, we will never convert the dinette table for use as a bed, however, that feature is retained in this design.

i don't know if I've done a very good job of explaining this, but is anyone has questions, please send me a PM, and I will get back to you.

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2014 23D International Serenity - "Fortune Cookie"
2015 Ford F150 3.5 EcoBoost, Max Tow - "Cookie Monster"
And some stuff

Fortune Cookie: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57663633667345

"The Black Swan": https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57648991024725
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Old 10-13-2020, 11:36 AM   #2
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FEI -- Post #147 [hot link in blue] in the 23D thread started the project off, for some background reading.

Happy trails,
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Old 10-13-2020, 01:19 PM   #3
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Wow, Peter, you digging up that 2017 post of mine reminds me of how much thought and effort I spent (!) on this.

Actually, here in my "construction" thread is my second folding table. Although my first design was perfectly workable, I thought the sliding platform could be made a little less "clunky" and I thought a curved front would be nice. This second table takes care of both. Thanks for the history reminder.
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And some stuff

Fortune Cookie: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57663633667345

"The Black Swan": https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57648991024725
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Old 10-13-2020, 01:42 PM   #4
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This would almost be enough to get me to drive to Texas and pay you to build one for me. INCREDIBLE work.
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Old 10-13-2020, 04:44 PM   #5
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This would almost be enough to get me to drive to Texas and pay you to build one for me. INCREDIBLE work.
Thanks, Peter, for your generous compliment!

So, start saving your lunch money... Texas isn't all that far...
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2015 Ford F150 3.5 EcoBoost, Max Tow - "Cookie Monster"
And some stuff

Fortune Cookie: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57663633667345

"The Black Swan": https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57648991024725
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Old 10-13-2020, 05:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RFP View Post
Thanks, Peter, for your generous compliment!

So, start saving your lunch money... Texas isn't all that far...
Better save dinner money too because if I ever showed up for this there would be other projects too! The storage bolster at dinette, storage behind lounge replacing those support cushions, and...I'll think of others!!!
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Old 10-13-2020, 06:13 PM   #7
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Beautifully done!

Baltic birch is wonderful for Airstream modifications (I have used it for many things in our trailer). I did get a chuckle out of the joys of laminating the edges.

Tim
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Old 10-13-2020, 07:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
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< snip >I did get a chuckle out of the joys of laminating the edges.

Tim
Oh, Tim, it was a real pain! I made "mandrels" from MDF and used a heat gut to kind of pre-form the edge pieces prior to getting on with the contact cement. It turned out quite nice, but dang.....
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2014 23D International Serenity - "Fortune Cookie"
2015 Ford F150 3.5 EcoBoost, Max Tow - "Cookie Monster"
And some stuff

Fortune Cookie: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57663633667345

"The Black Swan": https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57648991024725
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Old 10-14-2020, 10:14 AM   #9
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Nice job!

You should be a consultant to Airstream ... they should incorporate your design.

Looks like it belongs.
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Old 10-14-2020, 11:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Nice job!

You should be a consultant to Airstream ... they should incorporate your design.

Looks like it belongs.
Thanks, WS!

Not long ago, I was at DFW Airstream (our local dealer) talking with Trish, their parts person (dang, she's good... an Airstream national treasure). I showed her photos of the table ('phone photos). She really liked the table, and, as it happened, there was an Airstream rep there that day. Trish got the rep and I got to show him the photos, too. He was either really impressed or he was really good at humoring an old geezer!
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2014 23D International Serenity - "Fortune Cookie"
2015 Ford F150 3.5 EcoBoost, Max Tow - "Cookie Monster"
And some stuff

Fortune Cookie: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57663633667345

"The Black Swan": https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57648991024725
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Old 10-14-2020, 02:41 PM   #11
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Great YouTube videos!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtE...Nukl4Iwt6dOZCg

A reminder to all . . . that you can click on the URL at the top of any YouTube frame [like the one in the OP here], and your browser will usually open the video in a new window or tab, giving one the ability to toggle on the "Full Screen" viewing option, which is very handy for picking up all the details.

Nice work Robert!
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Old 10-14-2020, 02:46 PM   #12
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Great YouTube videos!
< snip >
Thanks. You know, in my mind, my voice is just like James Earl Jones, but in my videos, it's more like Pee Wee Herman!!
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2014 23D International Serenity - "Fortune Cookie"
2015 Ford F150 3.5 EcoBoost, Max Tow - "Cookie Monster"
And some stuff

Fortune Cookie: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57663633667345

"The Black Swan": https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57648991024725
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Old 10-14-2020, 02:53 PM   #13
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Maybe somewhere in the middle? Your tone of clarity and authority is comforting IMO.

Per JEJ:

". . . The Force is with you . . ."

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Old 11-08-2020, 04:46 PM   #14
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Thank you!!

Rob,

Thank you for starting this thread with all the additional images and information. I am one of the requesters for additional information on the original thread. We have been on travel and in-between involved with home projects too, so I could not respond earlier.

Your table is truly an amazing design of imagination and engineering excellence. Now that I see more of the details, I can see why you described this as an "ambitious" project!

I think you said it still works to be converted to a bed too. I would probably never use it for that purpose either, but it is really cool that your design has been able to retain that feature.

Seeing more of the details I was surprised to see the leg is made from wood, you are truly a Craftsman of incomparable talent!

We leave again tomorrow for two weeks, when we get back I will probably pester you with a question or two :-)

Thanks again for sharing your considerable skill and creativity with all of us!

Gary
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Old 11-09-2020, 07:55 AM   #15
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Rob,

Thank you for starting this thread with all the additional images and information. I am one of the requesters for additional information on the original thread. We have been on travel and in-between involved with home projects too, so I could not respond earlier.
[ snip ]

Gary
Thanks so much, Gary for your generous compliments. I really enjoy fiddling with this stuff... Linda says she thinks I enjoy 'working on the trailer' than I do camping. I wouldn't go that far, but I love the challenges it presents to my 81 year old mind and arthritic hands.

Anyway, I'm PM'ing my phone number; if you ever want to talk about this - or any other project - I'll be happy to hear from you! And, of course, Lewisville isn't that far from Hurst, and I've got plenty of masks ;-)

Have a great trip!

Rob
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2014 23D International Serenity - "Fortune Cookie"
2015 Ford F150 3.5 EcoBoost, Max Tow - "Cookie Monster"
And some stuff

Fortune Cookie: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57663633667345

"The Black Swan": https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57648991024725
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Old 11-09-2020, 11:37 AM   #16
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Rob, I sure understand working on the trailer between trips. I would blame it on age (I am only 4 years behind you), but I started on ours 18 years ago and I am still at it. When we are in it on a trip, I greatly enjoy using and contemplating my latest, as well as all the older, improvements. Are they all really improvements? Who cares, most are and all were fun to do, at least after finishing what might have been a somewhat gnarly project.

Your table is a wonder!

Tim
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Old 11-27-2020, 01:41 PM   #17
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Rob, I finally got your PM and have replied.
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