I was looking for a compact table for the balcony (2 seater) to be potentially extended to 4-6 seater.
The options available in the market looked cheap to me. And gateleg tables often end up being uncomfortable as the legs are always in the way while seated (e.g. the ÄPPLARÖ gateleg table).
I decided to hack the big drop leaf ÄPPLARÖ table (taking advantage of the IKEA Family promotion).
You just need a pair of drawer runners and a lot of patience. It took approx. 1 day of work to complete.
The ÄPPLARÖ drop leaf table comes with a handy to hack design. The table top is only screwed to the frame and it is already made in 2 parts.
IKEA items used:
ÄPPLARÖ Drop-leaf table | IKEA.com
Other materials and tools:
ÄPPLARÖ square extendable balcony table
1. Unscrew and disassemble the table top from the frame. (It is lightly glued too). You have now 2 tops of 70 cm and 2 tops of 60 cm (the extensions). This allows you to create either a 70/140, 70/130, 60/120 combinations.
2. Buy a pair of drawer runners. Make sure they are full extension and heavy duty (at least 50 kg). Pick up the dimension according to the table you want to buy. I decided to go for the 70/130 layout and I used 550mm runners.
3. Cut the frame in 2 (according to the layout picked up) and adjust the length of both long parts. You will have to reduce the length of the short part too (according to the depth of the runners you found).
4. Assemble the 2 half frames connecting them with the runners.
5. Connect the two table tops (repositioning the hardware the table comes with them). You will have to create a cut out on the frame to allow the moving legs to slide when opening. (I enlarged the existing drop leaf bar hole.)
6. Paint all the cut parts with a similar varnish.
7. Re-assemble the top on the frame. You will have a “squared” table – with the extension hanging on a side. Lift the extension, slide the moving legs and you will have a rectangular table.
Balcony table in closed position
Balcony table in extended position
My original design was to have the legs all placed at the edges of the frame – but the existing hardware did not allow this. I ended up having the moving legs slightly offset. Therefore, I left the fixed frame aligned to the legs in closed position.
My original design was a “book” opening system (for this you have to use same size main top and extension). Unfortunately the bottom face of the IKEA tops is heavily compromised by holes and lots of hardware. Therefore, I ended up having only 1 side of the extension always visible.)
The main top (70 cm) comes with a hole for a parasol. As a result, you will have this on the final product.
Most of the hardware is preassembled and probably was not meant to be touched ever, hence the thread in the wood is really fragile. (I had to add some glue to 3-4 screws as they were loose).
The extra bit:
Using leftover materials and the existing drop leaf guides, I created 2 sliders and a removable shelf.
This is a nice extension for bottles, serving plates, etc. The shelf (currently a mock-up) fits in some holes drilled in the guides.
I have added a magnet to keep it against the table. The same shelf can then be stored under the main table top.
I am planning to design other “accessories” to slide in the guides and click on the magnet (such as a wooden tray and a wooden crate).
~ by Fabrizio