How to Build a Drop Leaf Table

Written by mary jane
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How to Build a Drop Leaf Table
(Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

A drop leaf table is a table that can become twice as large, using attachable pieces that often hang on the table’s sides. This type of table is an ideal choice for those who want the option of having both a larger table for dinner parties and a smaller table for daily activities. A drop leaf table can be quite expensive if bought in stores, so making one from scratch is definitely a cheaper and much easier alternative.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 4 metal table sliders with small installation screws
  • Hinges
  • ½ inch thick piece of plywood
  • Lumber
  • Wood stain or paint
  • ¼ inch screws
  • 2 ¼ inch long screws
  • 3 inch long screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Pencil

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  1. 1

    Use a pencil to make each of the measurements below. Measure the lumber to create four identical table legs. Each leg should measure 30 inches in height, 2 inches in width and 2 inches in depth.

  2. 2

    Measure the lumber to create two supportive pieces that will stabilise the table and make it sturdy. The supportive pieces should measure 26 inches in length and the same width and depth measurements as above.

  3. 3

    Measure the plywood to create a table top. The table top should measure 30 inches in length and 30 inches in depth. The standard thickness should be ½ inch.

  4. 4

    Measure the additional side pieces. They should each measure 15 inches in length and 30 inches in depth to line up with the sides of the table top. Again, the standard thickness should be ½ inch.

  5. 5

    Cut each of the pieces using a saw and sandpaper each piece, along with their edges, to avoid splinters and cracks.

  6. 6

    Paint or stain each piece of lumber and plywood, until the desired shade of colour has been obtained. If you have used several coats of paint, let the pieces dry overnight in a well ventilated area.

  7. 7

    Drill two holes in each of the supportive pieces, making sure the holes are spread out evenly, so the table top can be attached in a later step. This should be done through the 2 inch thickness.

  8. 8

    Take one table leg and one supportive piece. Place the leg on its end, so it is standing straight up in the air and place the supportive leg beside it, but perpendicular to the leg. The two pieces should now create an L-shape. Place another leg at the opposite end of the supportive piece, creating a mechanical U-shape.

  9. 9

    Make two marks on the side legs to indicate where the screws will be inserted to connect the side piece. Make one mark ½ inch from the bottom and the other 1 ½ inch from the bottom. Drill the two holes in the side pieces. Connect by using 4 of the 3 inch long screws. Repeat this step for the remaining two legs and one side piece.

  10. 10

    Turn the table top upside down and place one of the leg-supportive piece structures on top of it. Line it up to the border of the table top, leaving 3 inches on each end. Connect the piece to the table top by screwing in the 2 ¼ inch long screws through the holes drilled in the supportive pieces in step 7. Do this with the secondary leg-supportive piece structure, but on the opposite side of the table top.

  11. 11

    Install the four metal table sliders. Line them up in between the legs of the table, so they can easily slide out beyond the table top. There should be two installed on each end of the table, parallel to the supportive pieces, but spaced evenly apart to support the drop leaf sides. Install the metal table sliders using the small screws that come with them.

  12. 12

    Attach two of the hinges to one of the side pieces on the 30 inch length side. Place the hinges evenly apart, but make sure they will not interfere with the metal table sliders installed underneath the table top. Use ¼ inch screws to secure them. Repeat this step on the other side piece as well.

  13. 13

    Attach the hinges to the table top by using the ¼ inch screws. Install the hinges correctly by placing the side pieces flat next to the table top and attaching them to the table top with screws. When done, flip the table right side up and let the drop leaf sides hang down. To use, flip the sides up until they are horizontal with the table top and pull the metal sliders out underneath the drop leaf sides for support.

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