A folding table in a camper van is a convenient way to add more space for work, eat, etc. Then it can be folded away when not needed. Our folding table was installed a few years after our van life started because we initially didn’t plan our van interior layout for work. Now that we both have to use our laptops simultaneously, the folding table makes our van a bit more ergonomic and practical!
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|Bamboo table||We discarded the legs and used the table top only. Easy way to get some cheap bamboo plywood!||1||Amazon|
|Folding brackets||18in (pack of 2)||1||Amazon|
|Drill & bits||1||Amazon|
|Drill bit extension||Because the folding mechanism gets in the way, a normal drill bit won’t work.||1||Amazon|
|Saw blade||60T precision blade.||1||Amazon|
You can purchase the folding brackets in different lengths (from 8in up to 24in). For a very heavy duty folding table (i.e. to support heavy weight), it is recommended to purchase brackets that match the table length. However, in our case, we consider our application to be “light-duty”, so we chose brackets shorter than the table by a few inches.
The folding brackets, taken individually, rattle like crazy when not installed… We almost returned them when we realized that because rattling sound drives me absolutely INSANE (Antoine). But we managed to prevent rattling by installing them slightly unparallel, refer to step 3 below.
Bamboo Table Top
We couldn’t source bamboo plywood, so we ordered this bamboo table from Amazon. It was a cheap way to procure the right amount of bamboo plywood that’s already finished and ready to install. When we unpackaged it, we realized the bamboo table had slightly warped, which was disappointing… But, we knew it would straightened up when we would screw it to the brackets, and indeed it did. So it’s all good!
Drill Bit Extension
A drill bit extension will make your life easier when screwing to the table top (a normal drill bit by itself won’t make it all the way down):
You’ll notice our folding table is quite small… this is to make sure it clears the fire extinguisher and the stuff packed in the storage net (see on Amazon) when we fold/unfold the table. That storage net is quite practical, and we didn’t want to have to put the stuff away each time we need to use the table.
1- Cut The Table TOp
We used a circular saw to cut the bamboo table top to 9.5″ x 22″. By total chance, the bamboo we purchased was exactly the length we needed, so only 1 cut was required 🙂
2- Install the folding brackets on the table top
The two brackets must be parallel, otherwise the folding table won’t fold… So we first marked the location of each bracket and made sure the distance along the two lines is equal (D1 = D2); this ensured the brackets were installed parallel to each other. Then we screwed the brackets to the table.
3- Install the Folding Table to the Wall
Once again, the folding brackets should be installed parallel to each other to make sure the mechanism works. BUT, that being said, installing them slightly not-parallel adds restriction into the mechanism when the table is folded… this will help to prevent rattling when the table is in closed position (driving position)!
So, similarly to the previous step, we marked the location of the brackets so they’re perfectly parallel. But at the moment of screwing, we made them slightly not-parallel. SLIGHTLY is the keyword here (it’s not even noticeable in the photos below)! Too much and the table won’t fold.
4- Check that the folding Table is working smoothly
In the opened position, the folding table rattles like crazy… but that’s OK, we don’t drive with the table in that position. In the closed position, the folding table does not rattle… nice. We won’t lie, we expected some rattling noise!
We made it! As we often say, repetitive tasks should be made easy and this is a step in that direction! Nice!
Folding Table: On Second Thought
Huh, not much to say here. With the tips provided above, the installation of the folding table went smoothly and we’re happy with it!