I had a plan that 'he who builds' doubted from the start to hinge my caravan table to increase my ability to reach the overhead cupboards from either side, not being squished between the table and seats. As the whole thing drops down to fill the gap and form and extra bed, the panels needed to be 720mm wide. No single timber panel would match this, so I was lucky enough to find @specritepro beech timber 1.2m×600×16mm on sale @Bunnings as I needed to create a longline kitchen benchtop that hinged over the gas stove - small panels were perfect to cut to lengthand hinge along the join.
Only issue I had was the joinery method used by 'he who builds' was to attach the back panel to the wall mount, tip it up and vertically attach the second panel with a piano hinge from underneath. This created a gap we were trying to bolster from below so the table didn't dip in the middle once the leg was reattached. The only solution was a 3mm strip of timber ply (we had no 720mm panel left that wouldn't split along the joins) which 'he who builds' proceeded to glue and flat head nail. Totally visible when table is halved. Oh well. If that's my only complaint....I'm still happy with the end result.
Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @missemou. It's wonderful to have you join us and thank you for sharing your project of creating more space around the dinner table in your caravan.
What an ingenious way to increase your space in the caravan. The specrite beech timber 1.2m×600×16mm looks perfect and blends right in with the interior. Did you paint the timber with a sealer? How long did it take to build? I'm sorry for the many questions. I'm sure our members would be keen to know more details about the build. Any tips or advice you can share for those wanting to duplicate this project would be much appreciated. We look forward to seeing your next project.
Again, thank you so much for sharing this fantastic caravan upgrade.
In answer to your questions:
I did seal the timber with food grade oil (Bondall Monocel Timber Benchtop Oil) according to the instructions - 3 coats if I remember correctly.
I really love a raw timber look and finish so the was no clear coat or varnish. It's all one giant chopping board!
Assembly was a little fiddly as the original fittings on the caravan wall, I took off to repaint. And a second pair of hands was needed for the 'he who builds' vertical joining at the hinge. I guess he went this route because once we had attached half to the wall, it was too much work or hassle to take it off, move it outside to the workshop for the hinging, and bring back in to assemble.
If I did this again I would definitely recommend connecting the two timbers on a large flat surface with the 'folding' edges hard up against each other and screwing the hinge in on both sides at each end first before all the rest. You may need a second pair of hands or very wide clamps to hold tight together. This might eliminate the need for the extra 3mm piece of trim in between the two panels to keep the table flat and level and not bowing at the hinge point.
I do have some chocks that fit on the seat edge from the wall side when the table is down.
I was never very good at trigonometry and did not bother to work out the triangle shape the table would form when in the half down position using the timber measurements.
These chocks keep the top section flat and level when in half table size, and were measured in situ as the last thing to be done.
All in all it was actually less than an hour for assembly!
A side problem we found was that some of the Prestige continuous piano hinge screws broke their heads off during assembly. Not too many, it is thoroughly secure!
I've yet to have a meal at the table as the kitchen sink in en route from interstate!
The makeover continues on Instatgram @kennexandannexe
Many thanks for the additional details on your project @missemou. The table and caravan look sensational. I really love your styling. I'm sure all our other caravan enthusiasts will be keen to incorporate your clever table design in their own builds.
Please keep us updated on all your projects and plans around the house and garden. I look forward to seeing what you contribute next.
Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community. We're looking forward to seeing more of your handiwork soon. Please let me know if you ever need a hand getting the most from the site.