DIY Camping Table

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Camping is a fun outdoor activity that can be enjoyed with friends, family, and almost anyone you know. While the first thing that might pop up in your mind when you think of camping may be a tent, there is a long list of other essentials you will also need.

One of the things that you will always need when on a camping trip is a camping table. A camping table ensures your food preparation goes smoothly. But that’s not all it can do. You can use the table to play some games and store certain items.

While you’ll easily find multiple camping tables on the market, building one is always possible. The advantage of a DIY camping table is that you can customize it according to your camping needs.

If you’re interested in learning how to make a foldable camping table, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn how to make a custom table for your next camping trip in this step-by-step guide.

Things You’ll Need:

Here is a list of all the things you will need:

  • Hemlock (1×2 4 foot, 1×2 5 foot, double bull-nosed stop molding 7/16”x1-1/2”x7’)
  • Birch dowel (5/8”x3’)
  • Carriage bolts (1/4”x2’)
  • Flat washers (3/16”)
  • Stop nuts (1/4”)
  • Screen door pull
  • Teak oil
  • Neodymium magnets
  • Screw (3/4”)
  • Flathead wood screws (1-1/4”)
  • Hand saw
  • Miter box
  • Power drill
  • Spacers (5/32”)
  • Drill bit (1/4”, 5/8”, 5/16”)
  • Glue
  • Foam brush
  • Speed square

Once you have gathered all the supplies listed above, you can start working on your DIY camping table.

Step 1: Cut the Lumber

Take the double bull-nosed stop molding and cut it using a hand saw into 17 pieces that are20 3/4” long. Use the miter box to keep your cuts straight.

Now cut two more pieces that are 17 3/4” long. Once you’re done, smoothen out the cuts using sanding paper.

Next, use the 1×2 lumber and cut it into 2 pieces that are 28 1/4” long. These will be used for the table railings. Now cut 4 more pieces from the same lumber that are 11” long for the table legs. Do not sand these cuttings.

Step 2: Prepare the Rails and Legs

To prepare the rails, measure the halfway point on both sides and mark them. A bevel cut will be made, so use a miter square to mark a small triangle measuring 45 degrees. Now use a hand saw to cut.

As for the legs, they will also be prepared in the same way. Cut off the edge from one end and drill holes on the other end. This will remain the same for all 4 legs.

The cuts will give a dog-eared look to the top of the legs, allowing them to move freely, which is perfect for a foldable camping table.

The bottom of the legs will be drilled to make space for the magnets and dowel cross brace. These will help keep your custom camping table in a folded position.

The dowel cross base will be positioned at 1 1/2” from the center and will require a hole of 5/8” drilled all the way through. On the other hand, the magnets will be placed 2 1/2” from the center of the legs with a hole of 5/16” diameter drilled to a depth of 3/16”.

Step 3: Pre-Drilling Slats

Now you’ll be left with 19 slats, with 15 of them being identical. It is a good idea to pre-drill them at this stage.

For the 15 identical slats, drill one hole at a distance of 1 7/8” from the ends on both sides. For the two longer slats, make two holes at the same distance.

Now you’ll be left with two shorter slats. For these, you will drill two holes at a distance of 3/8” from the ends on both sides.

Step 4: Attach the Slats to the Rails

Use the two longer slats with four holes and attach them to the rail ends using screws, with the slats overhanging by 1 ½.”. Next, fasten the remaining slats in a similar manner and use 5/32” spacers to maintain consistent gaps in between.

Once done, flip the table over and screw the remaining two shorter slats to the rails. Use four screws to secure each slat into place at the far ends.

At this stage, you should smooth out any sharp edges or holes with sanding paper.

Step 5: Attach the Legs

Position the legs by placing them on the inner side of the rails. Make sure the partial hole made in the legs is against the legs.

The square ends of the legs should be placed at the center point of the table with a gap of ¾”. Now clamp the legs in position and drill a hole with a ¼” diameter. The hole will pass through the rail and the leg. Now secure the leg in place with bolts, nuts, and washers. Repeat the same procedure for the remaining 3 legs.

Step 6: Install the Dowel Cross Brace

Cut the dowels to a length of 16 ¼” and smooth the ends with sanding paper. Insert the dowels in the holes made in the legs.

Use glue to secure them in place.

Step 7: Add Magnets

Apply glue into the holes made for the magnets. Now add magnets to the holes in all four legs. Now fold the legs and find a spot on the rails where the other magnet can be mounted. Once you have a spot, mark it and drill a hole of 5/16” in diameter. Apply glue and insert magnets in the new holes.

Step 8: Apply Teak Oil

To finish your DIY camping table, use teak oil to give it a nice, oiled look. Apply a coat with a brush or any other applicator.

Slightly sand the table while the coat is still wet. Wipe off the excess oil using a lint-free rag and repeat 2 to 3 times.

Our Final Thoughts

By following these 8 steps, your DIY camping table will be ready to use. The lightweight table will stay put when folded with the help of magnets. When in a standing position, it will store all your items and make food preparation at campsites smooth.

You can always adjust the parameters to make the custom camping table better fit your camping requirements.

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