I suppose this post could be retitled “DIY camper mod for hosting a dinner party in a camper,” because we are going to show you how you can take your existing camper/RV table and multiply your seating!
Our Keystone Passport bunkhouse comes equipped with a u-shaped dinette that has been a great asset for our family of five. Kristin and I can sit on the sides while the three kiddos share the bench along the back. But … the kiddos are growing and, as Flash likes to say, it is getting “squishy.”
So we began evaluating a few ways we could modify the dining area to make it more comfortable for our little brood. We considered replacing the whole table with something new and even went so far as purchasing an IKEA table. However, when we got it home and put it in the camper we realized that the table legs would make it rather impossible to slide into the booth … so back to the drawing board we went. I finally came up with a DIY solution: a fold up table extension.
- 24″ x 36″ pine, aspen or oak pressed board
- one 1″ x 4″ x 2′
- two 1″ x 2″ x 2′
- one 1″ x 2″ x 4′
- 4 small hinges with 1/2″- 3/4″ screws
- 1 latch hook
- wood glue
- finish nails
- stain/polyurethane or paint (your preference)
- table saw (hand saw will do but it is easier to rip boards on a table saw)
I wanted there to be enough room for a person to be able to walk by the table even when the extension piece was flipped up, so I experimented with different lengths to determine how long the finished board should be. I then traced the curve of the dinette table on the 24″ x 36″ board and used a jigsaw to cut along the arc.
I sanded the board down and smoothed out all the rough edges. I also beveled/rounded the edges to try to match the curvature of the current table edges. Once sanded, I stained and polyurethaned the board with several coats.
I took one of the 1″ x 2″ x 2″ and ripped it down the middle using my table saw.
I used wood glue and clamps to attach these strips to the 1″ x 4″ x 2″.
Once these were dry I used the table saw to cut the piece into four 6″ sections. In each section I pre-drilled holes for the finish nails.
Now it is time to line up your extension supports with the camper table. (This is a critical step! I did make a mistake but caught it in time so that it was a quick fix.)
Use the other two 1″ x 2″ x 2′ to line up the supports. Then use wood glue and finish nails to attach the wood U brackets you made to both the table and the extension.
Tip: The two sliding supports will need to be sanded and very smooth for this to glide well.
With the supports still lined up in place, create a small gap (1/6″) and attach the hinges. Since my extension has a radius these MUST be attached as far out as possible or the table will NOT fold down.
With this complete, test to make sure that the table will hinge down freely.
At this point I thought I was done and installed it in the camper. The extension worked just like I had hoped, but upon final inspection by “the foreman” (a.k.a., Kristin) it was determined that it needed a supporting leg. So here is what I did:
With the table in place and the extension up, take the 1″ x 2″ x 4′ and mark how tall you need the leg and then add about 1/16″. Next take that support and mark the length of the table extension. Cut the leg on both of these lines as you will need to turn it into a two part folding leg. Take a hinge and re-attach the two parts of the leg back together with one hinge. Use the second hinge (on the opposite side) to attach the leg to the underside of the extension. Add the eye hook to hold the leg in place for travel.
There you have it! A nice table extension that Kristin and I can use our $8 IKEA Gunde chairs (which are foldable and very light) to eat at while the kiddos have plenty of room in the dinette.