Cutting Table

In October 2010, I built a collapsible cutting table for Dusty to use for her sewing projects. She was shopping for one, and we decided it would be pretty easy to build, and good practice for future projects. The inspiration for this project came from Arrow Sewing Cabinets.

Project cost: ~$50
Open dimensions: 59″ wide x 35″ x long x 42″ tall
Closed dimensions: 13-1/2″ wide x 35″ x long x 42″ tall

cutting table open

This table is used for cutting out patterns while standing up. For storing, it has two leaves that fold down, which are held in place by support legs that swing out from underneath the table. The size of the table is determined by a couple of factors. First, the size of the cutting mat my wife wanted was 35″ x 59″, and the height was dictated by her waist height for optimum comfort.

cutting table closed

As it turns out, this table was pretty easy to design and build. I started with one sheet of 3/4″ classic birch plywood from Menard’s. Using an aluminum straight-edge guide and my circular saw, I cut all the panels from a single sheet (with little left over). Using my router and a roundover bit, I rounded off the exposed edges. For the support legs and the base, I ripped a quality pine 2×4 to size on the table saw, rounded the edges, and cut 3/4″ grooves with the router. Underneath the stationary table top is a 1×4 cross brace. Underneath each of the wings is a small cleat I made to hold the leg when the table is expanded.

Assembly was pretty straightforward. The stationary tabletop, end panels and cross braces are all held together with biscuits (though dowels or other forms of joinery would certainly work as well). The plywood panels are glued into the 3/4″ grooves in the pine legs and bases. Piano hinges connect the moving pieces and keep flexing at the joints to a minimum.

After the building was complete, I removed the hinges and Dusty finished the table with three coats of polyurethane.

Visit the photo gallery to see all of the pictures of the cutting table.

Materials:

  • One 4×8 sheet of a nice plywood. I used a classic birch panel from Menards (on sale for $25) cut to:
    • Middle top: 35″ x 12″
    • Wings: 35″ x 24″ (quantity 2)
    • End uprights: 12″ x 40″ (quantity 2) – the 40″ is adjustable for the overall height
    • Cross brace panel: 12″ x 30″
    • Support leg braces: 18″ x 24″ (quantity 2)
  • Nice clean 2×4’s:
    • Bases: 14″ (quantity 2)
    • Support legs: 40″ (quantity 2) – adjustable for the overall height
  • Nice clean 1×4 cut to 30″ for the cross brace under the table top
  • Two ~30″ piano hinges for the wings
  • Two ~15″ piano hinges for the support legs
  • Wood glue

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