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Old 08-28-2007, 12:31 PM   #1
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Side Tables?

Not sure if such an animal exists - but we are on a search for something like the tables you find in the First Class seats on a plane. The ones that pull up and lay over your lap - we would like something like this for our SMB gaucho couch (maybe one on each side). Has anyone ever done this or seen it anywhere? We have seen the collapsing cup holders that are attached to a cabinet wall and we are definitely getting those - but no luck on the tables.
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Old 08-28-2007, 01:11 PM   #2
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They have fold out tables that hinge at the top when folded flat against a cabinet and you could probably pick up a real airplane folding seat table or two from a graveyard, but other than that I don't know.
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Old 08-28-2007, 03:21 PM   #3
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I think I remember seeing such a table in an earthroamer as well, not that that helps you any...
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:16 PM   #4
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Funny you should mention that. The mod shown below is our number one favorite, and most used modification. We use it multiple times/day that we're in the van, cook on it almost exclusively, and, because of it, have completely removed the "portable table" from the van. That thing is a real pain in the butt to get out and put away. This is way easier, faster, etc. and creates the same total surface area.

I was gonna do a thing on this in the how-to section, but here are the pics anyway. If I were going to do it again, there are some other changes I'd make as well to make it even better. The changes I'm thinking of should be just as easy, so let me know if you're about to do something like this and I might be able to help.

As far as the other side (next to the sink), am planning on changing the large cabinet door which is on hinges to one that is on take apart hinges, and that would then rest on top of the pull out drawer above it, to create a new table surface on that side. Should be easy.


How it was made and how the support functions (it's a flip-up shelf bracket from Home Depot):



Top flipped over:



In use:



PS- Collapsing cup holders? Really? Cool. Pics please...
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Old 08-28-2007, 09:16 PM   #5
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That is an awesome mod. I sit in the passenger seat with the cabinet swung out and use the top door as a shelf/mini table but your topper would be better.



Does the support bracket allow you to open the small door with the table out? I would think something (support) that folds around from the side might be in order...
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Old 08-29-2007, 09:47 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by jage
I would think something (support) that folds around from the side might be in order...
That is exactly change order #1. When I did it, I thought I wanted the folding top to be the same size as the original top, thus a side mounted bracket wouldn't have worked. Have changed my mind on that. The main changes I'd make would be:

1. Put the shelf bracket on the side near the rear of the vehicle.
2. Change the size of BOTH the table top component (thus removing the original). I'd make them both extend about 1-2" more towards the gaucho (must make sure the bed still folds out and that you don't bang your head on the extended top when sleeping), 1-2" more towards the sink counter (for every inch you add, the opened size increases by 2"), and perhaps .5-1" more towards the front of the van.
3. Consider making at least the flip out part out of bamboo or that solid polyethylene cutting board material, so that you have an integrated cutting board. Right now we keep a thin cutting board under the folding top so it's always there. Advantage is we can move the cutting board to the sink to wash it I guess.
4. Consider making the table top surface, when exposed, be both a chess set top and a backgammon top. The ultimate would be to have those out of bamboo, so it would be a game board and cutting surface and table top.

Now, you seem to like the passenger chair. A couple of notes:

A. You realize that the swing out cabinet lifts off so you can move it closer to you, don't you? It's kinda hard to get back on, so I cut down the length of the top hinge connect so that it's now much easier to put back on. Basically, now you put the bottom hinge together and then slide it down till the top hinge is connected instead of having to align both of them simultaneously.

B. You could easily put a second fold up table on the side door nearest your seat. You'd cover the speaker that's on that door, but it would basically be a table top piece that is folded down with one of those folding supports under it... you lift it up and it locks in place in front of you. You could make one that's large, but it would cover that lower door compartment, and you wouldn't be able to open the side door when the table was down if it's that long.
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Old 08-30-2007, 04:26 PM   #7
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yep! That is kinda what we are looking for. I think with that in mind I am coming up with some ideas myself. I am a "I see it - I can do it" kind of person. Since we have decided against a stove inside the cabin we now have extra counter space so having that flip down top is nice. Also we could mount something like that on the cabinet next to the couch and secure it up top so it won't flop down on someone while sitting on the couch. - I would have to see if that would work!

Great pics and Thanks everyone! (And thanks Jage - I realized I put this in the wrong place)

Hmmmm can't find any pics on the folding cup holders- I'll keep lookin' though.
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Old 08-30-2007, 05:02 PM   #8
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If you added two pieces that were smaller than the top in one direction, you could match materials, make them as thick or thin as desired (or as you can find hinges for). Your end result would be smaller than 2x the original, but it would eliminate the need for a side bracket...

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Old 08-31-2007, 01:41 PM   #9
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In my van which is a 01 RB-50, the side door cabinet has the upper 'door' that opens to form a table that is level w/ the top of the cabinet. It uses a pretty slick hinge that is sorta like the hinges on the folding 6 ft tables you see at home depot etc...

I can try to get a pic or two taken once I get some fresh batteries for the camera

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Old 08-31-2007, 04:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jage

Now that's an interesting idea. Only drawbacks (minor) would be the added height to the table when closed (is that even a drawback???) and that the more support you want on the extended piece, the shorter the overall extended table will be as you'd need to minimize the leverage.

Personally, I'm going to keep playing around with the folding support, as I want to try to make the table even longer on the next try.

However, this would be a pretty easy option to both make and install.

As for matching the materials, we "matched" the original top as you can see from the pics by simply adding shelf paper to each. We went with a granite-y surface that was as close to the one-piece countertop as we could get. As the shelf paper wears out, you just reapply. Too easy, and you can change the table color anytime you want....
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