DIY Tutorials, Furniture Building, House / Sewing Studio

Studio Update, Part 14: Converting My Sewing Table to Drop-Leaf

For months I’ve wanted to convert my handmade 7 x 4 foot sewing table into a drop-leaf table, simply because its massive size is sometimes more than I need in my 10 x 10 sewing studio.

Convert Table to Drop Leaf

Because the table was built from a thick sheet of plywood, trim molding, and screw-on Ikea desk legs, it was easy to modify.

Supplies needed:

  • 4 packs of Narrow Utility Hinges
  • 8 table legs

Process:

  1. I measured the height between the table top and the floor, because the two drop-leaves needed to be shorter than that distance so that they did not bump the floor when folded down.
  2. I used painter’s tape and a ruler to mark the cut lines.  Make the leaves at least 2″ shorter than the height of the table. IMG_0669
  3. Ryan made the two cuts using a circular saw while I held the table.  (His arms were longer.)IMG_0678
  4. I flipped the pieces upside-down when we were done, and then joined the pieces back together with hinges.  IMG_0679

    Attach Hinges to Drop Leaf Table

    Above you see one table leaf attached with two hinges. I decided to add 2 more, for a total of 4, just for better stability.

  5. I had to get Ryan’s help again to flip the table right-side up because it was super awkward now that the leaves were attached by hinges.

Voila! With one leaf extended and one leaf dropped down, the table is the right size for my large cutting mat but small enough that I have a lot more room in the sewing studio.

DSC_0051

In the spirit of total transparency, I will admit my frustration that the veneer top layer of the table splintered so much along each cut line.

DSC_0055

I sanded the rough edges, and I need to stain them to match.  The only problem? I mixed two stain colors when I made the table, and I have no idea what they were.  This weekend I’ll play around with stains and hopefully find a good match.

For now, however, I’m happy with the result.  The table is sturdy, functional, and most importantly – flexible!

DSC_0083

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11 Comments

  • Reply JB at 12:42 pm

    Jane,
    Given the picture of the tearout at the cut line I’m guessing you did the cut on the top side of the table. Check how the underside looks. I’m guessing it will look better. Unlike table saws, skil saws rotate in a ccw direction causing tearout as the teeth move upward thru the venner. Cheers, JB

    • Reply Jane at 12:35 pm

      Shoot. Thanks for the tip – that’s exactly what I did, I cut on the top side. I did notice the underside looked fine. Figures. Good to know for future projects!! Thanks!

      • Reply Karen at 7:08 pm

        If you can’t turn it upside down, sometimes cutting “on” the tape instead of “beside” the tape helps!

  • Reply Renee Beaucage at 8:17 am

    Let me tell you, this is a WICKED COOL idea!! I have a small office as well and it is CLUTTERED! We moved in two months ago and I still have yet to fully organize it. Anyway, I think this is a phenomenal way to maximize space without restricting yourself to what you can do on your work surface. My desk was made out of a sheet of melamine and some folding legs… I’d have to figure out a way to add other legs to support the leaf if I tried this… it would be a fun project!

    • Reply Jane at 6:41 am

      Renee – Ooh, I’m so glad this idea helped you! I used legs from Ikea – not sure if that is an option for you. Alternately, Home Depot has some wooden legs in the lumber section, in various lengths. They also sell metal plates that the legs screw into. Maybe that would help.

  • Reply 2014 Project Status: February / MarchThe Borrowed Abode | The Borrowed Abode at 7:19 am

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  • Reply Michelle at 9:04 pm

    I love the idea and its something i’m thinking of doing as well but i’m confused. are the legs on the extensions not attached? do you have to re-attach them every time you open the table?

    • Reply Jane at 9:16 pm

      Hi! Yes, I do have to re-attach them every time I open the table leaf, but that is easy to do. they are Ikea legs, so they screw into a little bracket that remains attached to the bottom side of the table. Also, I primarily use it in just one position, and only occasionally need it a different size, so it’s not like I have to attach and remove them daily. Hope this makes sense!

      • Reply Karen at 7:13 pm

        If you want to leave the legs on, you can attach the base of the leg onto a hinged square of wood so that they fold over the short underside of the leaf. (Think store bought card table.) They will have to be slightly offset so they don’t hit each other and the legs would have to be shortened by the height of the square of wood (or the others lengthened that amount. It might be a pain, but so might the reattaching every time. Just a thought. I’d draw you a pic, but…well, not possible in comment. 🙂

        • Reply Jane at 8:10 pm

          Oh yeah, that makes sense! The Ikea legs are easy to screw in and out of the mounting plates, but if I used other legs this would be an ideal solution. Thanks!

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