Originally Posted by Griff
That's really nice, Eric! One question though, where does the other half of the table go? I've been trying to figure out a simple method of having one fold into the wall, but that was the whole table. I'm intrigued at how 1/2 of your table disappears.
I'm happy with it!
Well, it's over 1/2 of the table, actually. 14" drops down beside the wall, and 24" remains as a 2 person table. It almost became half, early in the design process, but then I realized that half of the 38" width would only be 19", and that didn't seem wide enough for a comfortable mini-table. Plus, it turned out that 19" was too long to drop down against the wall because of the seat rail sticking out. The 14" width of the drop leaf was arrived at more because that is what could be accomodated with the seat rail structure.
To understand how it drops, you have to look at the pictures.
I think you understand the drop leaf (just a hinged section) concept, but here's the tricky part:
The mounting cleat along the wall is offset from the wall by the thickness of the table-top (1 1/4"), plus the thickness of the trim pieces that hold the wall panels in place (1/2"), plus an allowance for the hinge barrel (I allowed 1/4", but should have allowed 1/8" extra, as it's a tight fit, and rubs the tabletop some against the trim pieces).
The dropped leaf slides down behind that cleat, and then the edge of the table section that moves over toward the wall has a similar groove in it which fits over the cleat.
To be honest, I mis-measured some how, and the dropped leaf actually comes into contact with the seat rail before the grove in the other leaf seats completely onto the cleat. There is about 1/2" difference in the table height from wall side to passageway side....so....I just slip a 1/2" board under the table leg to make it higher and even things out. When the table is fully extended, the extra board is not needed.
Here are the grooves on the bottom of the leaves:
Since the cleat stands off from the wall, the grove on the first leaf is located inward from the edge of the table by a distance that allows the edge of the table to butt up against the wall. There is only a 1/2" gap between the wall and the edge of the table in the full-size configuration, and that is because of the trim pieces on the wall that are 1/2" thick. If you have a flat wall, you could butt the table edge right against it. The groove on the wider leaf is not similarly offset, because the way the hinge is situated, the thickness of the dropped leaf prevents that kind of arrangement. There is about a 1 1/2" gap between the edge of the table and the wall in the half-table configuration, but it isn't inconvenient in any way.
There are more pictures in the Dinette Table-Bed album in the Walls and Cabinetry album. http://www.skoolie.net/gallery2/album32
Things I would do differently:
Maybe make the top a little thinner. Being used for a bed, it needs some strength, but at 1 1/4" thick, its pretty heavy. 1" probably would be adequate, and 3/4" might be adequate if strong enough wood was used to frame the edges. My edges are framed in Southern Yellow Pine, which is pretty strong.
Not use butt joints on the framing. The framing should be rabbeted or dadoed to accomodate the table top material. Mine came out okay, but proper carpentry would: A) look better; and B) allow the use of a thinner top.
The important design considerations (from the folding aspect) are the thickness of the table top, the offset distance of the top cleat from the wall, and the distance between the tabletop and the seat-rail (which governs the width of the dropleaf).
The bottom is attached directly to the trim wood on top of my seat rail, and only enough offset to match up with the groove in the tabletop, since the table is only used fully extended as a bed in the lower position.
Note. One thing you could do, is have the entire thing fold up against the wall. It would cover the windows, but it would give you a mostly un-obstructed dinette area. I considered this but did not want to spend the time to do it. Here's how it would work:
Put the table in the drop-leaf position, and then simply raise the remaining part of the table against the wall and windows. The hinge in the table would allow for this, and you could put a latch on a window column that would hold the table in the upright position.
What about the big leg assembly? Wouldn't it stick straight out into the dinette area in this position? No, because instead of screwing it directly to the bottom of the table, you could hinge it to the bottom of the table so that it would fold flat against the table's underside when the table was raised to the upright position against the windows.
If I find that would be useful, I can always go back and do it later, as it would only amount to unscrewing the leg assembly from the table, and then reattching it with some hinges. And adding some kind of latch to keep it from folding up accidentally when the table was in use.