Coffee table

Published on July 30th, 2013 | by IH guest


Hemnes Lift-top Coffee Table

Materials: Hemnes Table, lift-top hinge

Description: Lift-top functionality allows your coffee table to raise up and move closer to you, which is useful for eating on your coffee table. I wanted to add this to my new Hemnes.

I ordered a set of lift-top hinges from AliExpress for about $30 shipped from China (~3 weeks to arrive). Similar hinges are available in the US from woodworking suppliers, but they are very expensive for some reason.

The hinges are about 4″ tall when closed, so I had to add some supports to provide an adequate mounting location for the bottom portion of the hinges. I made the supports from 1×5″ board, cut with a jigsaw. To hide them from sight, I cut the supports 45 degrees at one end and ~30 degrees on the other. They are asymmetrical because I wanted to attach the hinge to the center of the tabletop, which required the bottom part of the hinge to mount closer to the edge of the table.

The 1×5 boards were attached to lengths of 3/4″ square dowel, and the whole assembly was screwed into the top rail of the Hemnes. I doubled up the 1×5′s because of the small 3/4″ mounting area – probably overkill, but there was enough wood in a single board to do it.

The lift-top mechanism is surprisingly stable and smooth – the supplied springs make it almost effortless to lift as you pull towards you. It raises about 5.5″ and comes toward you about 8″. I had been concerned that the size of the tabletop would be an issue, but it seems fine so far.

The supports don’t interfere much with the use of the bottom shelf of the Hemnes. You could also add a bottom to make a shelf or hidden storage area out of the supports. While I had the drill out, I also added some screws to stabilize the wobbly lower shelf of the Hemnes.

Total cost is just under $150 – I got the Hemnes on sale for $100.

~ Adam Berson, Hoboken NJ

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12 Responses to Hemnes Lift-top Coffee Table

  1. Marcel says:

    I just saw this hack…It’s too bad the hinges at Ali Express are no longer available. I wonder is specialty places like Rockler would have these. Also I worry about the possibility of it being bumped and the table goes back down accidentally. I found a table made in England by Picture house. David J Free, Managing Director, who makes a Pop Up Coffee Table wrote me this, “No worries about it being bumped, you have to put quite a force to overcome the spring to lower it.” I’m assuming this is the same thinking for all these springs. But I would still like to find one that locks, just for safety… The search for hardware goes on…

  2. swati says:

    Hey this is great. I’ve been looking for a reasonable lift top table but no luck yet.

    I had some more questions about this. is there any way i could contact you directly to get help with this table

  3. Robin says:

    Hey Adam,
    Thanks for posting this. It looks great! Can you tell me about how much weight the table can support in the up position?

  4. Jamie says:

    I noticed that your boards and dowels look very unfinished. Do you have any recommendations to have a more polished look? Could I find something from ikea while I am there grabbing the table?

  5. Walter Franco says:

    I wonder, would this work if you didn’t do the whole middle support and just attached the bottom part of the hinges to the sides of the table?

    • Adam says:

      That was my original plan, and it would probably work OK, however the problem is that when closed the hinges are 4″ tall, which means you need a surface available which is 4″ below the table top to attach them, and unfortunately the side rails of the table are only about 2″.

      I considered stealing the side rails from the lower shelf for this purpose, and mounting them higher up just beneath the upper rails, but that would have made the table a bit less stable. (The lower shelf would still be supported in front and back, just not on the sides.)

  6. Liz says:

    I actually already own this table, so it has been assembled. What are your thoughts on going back and turning it into a lift-top table now?

    • Adam says:

      It’s totally do-able – I had the table assembled for a few weeks before the hinges arrived. All you do is unscrew the top from its support rails.

  7. Dave Dave says:

    How wide are those mechanisms? I wanted to do this on a ramvik table but need to make sure those hinges aren’t too wide.

    • Adam says:

      Hi – I’m the guy who did this hack. I thought I had been subscribed to email comments, but it seems like they changed commenting systems and all the old comments/subscriptions were lost, so I just noticed the new comments now.

      The mechanisms aren’t too wide – in total about 2″. The flange which attaches to the tabletop is a bit more than 1″ wide, and the spring fits beneath that flange. The part which attaches to a vertical portion of the table base sticks out a bit less than inch – you can see in the close-up picture that there are some pretty big bends in it, I guess to accommodate the rivet heads, but it seems like it could be made flatter.

      The bigger issue for me was the height – you need a vertical surface that extends almost 4″ below the bottom edge of the table top in order to mount this correctly. It seems like that wouldn’t be an issue with the Ramvik, but you may have to eliminate the drawer functionality.

      Hopefully that helps.

  8. Christopher says:

    This is fantastic! I had seen a piece like this at West Elm, but it was insanely expensive…can’t wait to make my own….thanks!

    • Adam says:

      yes, my wife saw the same West Elm table, and that’s how I ended up making this one :) The west elm one adds some small storage too, which you could somewhat incorporate here.

      Though honestly this is my 2nd lift top table, the first one was cobbled together from hardware pieces ~13 years ago after I had seen one somewhere and couldn’t find any for sale.

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