Instant Surface

Overall Dimensions: 18-1/4" x 28-3/4"x 39" (set up), 3-5/16" x 29" x 39" (folded)

In my compact shop, everything has to be portable and stowable, including my work surfaces. Whenever I need tabletop space for processing parts, milling boards or even assembling a project, I whip out this little gem. It's easy to maneuver because it folds flat for storage , and weighs less than 25 lbs. It sets up in seconds and is surprisingly rigid.

I used half-lap joints on the base and heavy-duty 270-degree hinges on the top (see Sources, below). When the table is folded, cleats extending from the back rail hold the hinged legs, and hand holes in the top and back rail align to form a comfortable grip. When the table is set up, the swing-leg assemblies butt against the back rail and are firmly captured by cleats attached to the bottom of the top.

Tim Johnson

Build It

2. Cut the hand hole and mortises for the 270-degree hinges in the back rail. 2

3. Cut half-lap joints in the legs and rails.

4. Lay the back assembly on your bench and clamp the swing-leg assemblies on top of it in the open position. Make sure the top edges and outside faces of the swing-leg rails (C) are flush with the top and outside edges of the back rail (B).

5. Screw on the butt hinges.

6. Install the 270-degree hinges and fasten the top (D).

7. Transfer the location of the hand hole from the back rail to the top and cut it out.

8. Turn the table upside down, swing the legs wide open (so they bear against the back rail) and fasten the cleats (E and F).

Expandable Parts Rack

When I worked on a big project, every surface in my shop used to get covered with stacks of parts. While visiting a small production shop, I saw an expanding metal rack in the finish room, loaded with kitchen cabinet doors.

A light bulb went on in my head and this wooden version now graces my shop. It's just over 1 ft. wide when closed and expands to just under 7 ft. Wing nuts make it easy to lock in any position. I've used my rack to hold everything from 12-in.-long shelves to 12-ft.-long baseboard moldings. I built my rack of poplar for strength, but straight 2x4s would also work.

I used hardwood dowels as support arms and paid $8 apiece for good-quality office-chair-style swivel casters. My total cost, including 48 support arms, was about $100.

Jock Holman

This rack consists of two identical assemblies. The sliding brackets (F and G) on one assembly are captured by the cleats (D) on the opposite assembly.


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