Folding Furniture

After testing the waters and learning the ropes at a few craft fairs last year, it was time to ramp up for 2015.  Beyond signing up for more fairs, the top priority was revamping the booth setup.  

The initial booth was a humble affair: an old kitchen table, a folding table, and an IKEA stool.  It was a starting point.  As Krakatoa expands into the furniture realm it was time to create some displays that are representative of both Krakatoa's style and capabilities.  

Designing a fair booth presented an interesting design prompt: make something that’s beautiful, can stand up to abuse (both at the show and in transport), and break down for easy moving.  

Setting up at West Coast Craft.  Roll-top table is on the left

Setting up at West Coast Craft.  Roll-top table is on the left

Ultimately I built three new displays for the booth: two tables, and a standing screen.  All were built with MIG-welded steel frames, and hinges to facilitate transport.  Both of the tables featured wooden tops.  For this post, I'll stick to the 'Roll-top Table.'  

To make the table as portable as possible, I focused on developing a design that breaks down the frame and shelves into smaller components.  I ultimately accomplished this by seperating the design into three elements

  • A hinged frame
  • Shelves made from a series of oak slats 
  • C-channel (the horizontal members) that connects the base and holds the shelving slats 

The c-channel is the real hero here; it's the tie that binds the entire design together.  The channels lock the hinged frame into place AND hold the wooden slats secure.  

Frame

The frame consists of four hinged segments (those are the angled segments that form a 'W').  On it's own, the frame can move freely and fold up into a compact footprint, or stretch out flat.  

The hinges make the frame a dream to move around, but they require an  additional component to lock them into position.  That's where the c-channel comes into play. By attaching the hinged segments to the channel they can no longer move, turning the frame into a solid base.  The channel is the backbone of the frame, connecting all the components and providing stability. 

Shelving

The shelving is composed of tongue-and-groove oak slats sandwiched in between two c-channels.  

Similar to the frame, the independent slats are great for transport, but worthless as a shelf without an additional component to keep them all together  Again, the c-channel saves the day. With a bit of trimming the oak slats can easily slide within the channel, but can only come in/out at the ends of the channel.  Once the slats are placed in between the channels they function as a unified slab.


To assemble, I unfold the base, connect the channels with a handful of screws, slide the oak slats into place, and then lock the slats into place by securing the end pieces with a couple more screws. Done!

As with all initial designs, I've already identified a few ways to make it better next time around, but it's a huge step in the right direction and functioned wonderfully as a booth display.  

-Jeff