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I want to build an outdoor coffee table that can easily convert to a dining table. This table will be under cover and I plan to build it from C24 treated pine. I am a relatively new woodworker and I have made a plan on Sketchup, roughly using this design as inspiration (https://www.familyhandyman.com/project/diy-desk-adjustable/), but using 2x6s instead of 2x4s as the legs.

I plan to use four removable 25 mm dowel pins to secure the table in the coffee or dining table positions. There is 16 cm insertion of the legs when in dining table mode. Finally, I am going to use two 200N 550mm gas springs (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0B7SJJKP8/ref=ox_sc_act_image_3?smid=AG2W5Z7O03ZBI&th=1) inside the table legs to help raise and lower the table. I calculated that the table top and legs should weigh about 42kg, so these springs should be strong enough. I will attach them top and bottom with 150mm carriage bolts.

The table will be 51 cm in coffee mode (a little high, I know) and 76 cm in dining mode. The tabletop is 75 X 150cm. The tabletop will be five 150cm pieces of 2x6. There will be 5mm gaps between them and they will be attached to the cross braces by 70mm decking screws inserted from underneath. These will not be glued.

The table will be made primarily of 2x6s, with the feet made from screwed and glued 2x2s (with a gap to allow legs to insert into base in coffee mode, and the leg boxes will be 10x6s and 2x2s. I will mostly use 70mm decking screws with pocket holes and glue. Note from the image the brace is split in the middle, but this is just so I could show the two modes. It will be a solid 2x6 brace.

Do you think this is going to wobble too much, and any recommendations for making this stronger? Thanks!

enter image description here enter image description here

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  • Welcome to WSE. In addition to the concerns in your question you should also address how the tabletop attaches to the crossbars. Note that if the tabletop is glued together, it will expand and contract while the crossbars do not (along their length). Any attachment must allow for the potential differences in size over time. There are other questions on this site that address this problem, and you can ask another question if needed once you check them out.
    – Ashlar
    Oct 2, 2023 at 22:25
  • Thanks Ashlar, you make a good point. I have edited my post to describe how the staves will be attached to the cross braces with decking screws and small gaps in between. Oct 2, 2023 at 22:39
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    We get these sorts of queries fairly often, and as with most of the previous (which I think you should hunt down for some context) bear in mind these are not generally something where anyone can give you a concrete Answer. What you'll get instead is educated ('educated') guesswork, which amounts to gut feelings. Now here however, I think this is so beefily constructed that (assuming good construction throughout) there's absolutely nothing to concern you. And FWIW I've seen similar rise/fall tables which had nothing to aid raising the top, with of course the assumption that [contd]
    – Graphus
    Oct 3, 2023 at 8:13
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    I suppose this should be put into an answer, but it's terribly incomplete, so I will just leave it here. If, hypothetically, there was wobble, you could counteract that by having threaded rod press in on the leg in either 2 or 4 places per leg. In my imagination, this is a threaded insert set into the outer piece, with a threaded rod on a rosette handle to quickly spin it tight. This means you don't have to kill yourself with machine shop like tolerances. (Which is good, because wood never sleeps.) Oct 4, 2023 at 0:44
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    Hi @AloysiusDefenestrate, that's a great idea. I think I'll try to integrate both. Once I finish building it I'll answer my own question and upload a few photos. Oct 8, 2023 at 18:24

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I finally got around to building this over the weekend. Turned out just as I had planned. Took forever to get the holes for the dowels right but I'm glad I took my time. The key was to set one dowel while I drilled the other so the positioning was perfect.

There is only a slight wobble in raised mode, but it's not enough to be a problem and honestly it's barely noticeable. Looking forward to spending a lot more time in the back garden now.

enter image description here

enter image description here

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    Excellent, so glad it worked out as hoped! And bravo on the follow-through.
    – Graphus
    Oct 22, 2023 at 23:31
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    Very nice work! Kudos!
    – gnicko
    Oct 23, 2023 at 22:23

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