Table Backstory

“Why” is a common question on many of my projects. If you’ve found your way here, you probably hear it too.

I built the table because I wasn’t sure what else to do with myself. I stuck it out through engineering school because I felt it would pay off later. It has, in many ways, but not as a “professional career.” Construction work slows considerably in the winter and I found myself wanting something I could use as a portfolio piece. I had seen tables on YouTube several times over the years and it caught my attention again. I realized the basic motion wasn’t all that complicated and that the elegant shapes really made an impression. Time for a prototype of the basic expansion:

01 Table Story

OSB and scrap plywood are functional and cheap, great for getting through the “error” part of trial and error.


Now that the expansion part was under control, it was time for raising and lowering. I’m still fond of this parallelogram lifting design, but it was too difficult to coordinate four at once and drawer slides have too much vertical flexibility.

02 Table Story


The tails were pushed out by the “bracket” below them and in by the pieces on the lower level. The next attempt is in this same video. Ramps in the center were promising, but had far too much friction and any unevenness near the center is amplified at the outer edges.

Parelellogram Closeup

Click for the video


Ramp Lift

Looks promising, works poorly.


The next version used ball bearing rollers to lift from ramps in the center circle, but was still noisy and a bit uneven.

Table 03 Top View

Click for video


Now I had a firm grip on most of the issues and by shifting the rollers to the table’s perimeter and solidifying everything a viable product was beginning to take shape.

Solid Table



The main problem was the thickness, all those layers and movement were fun to look at, but they didn’t nest and each required it’s own vertical space.

Table Thickness View

The hours count begins to make sense.


Finally, after 350 hours, $1200 in materials and another complete overhaul (three total) to reduce the thickness . . . . I arrived at the current version.


You can also see a time-lapse of it’s assembly.

After many requests through YouTube and another 50 – 60 hrs, I completed a full set of multi-view, (iso, top, side, etc) dimensioned plans with notes on parts, materials assembly and other relevant topics. Past purchasers will receive future updates for free, in fact on 9-23-14 I sent out the first major update to the first 37 customers across the world! This has been followed up with three additional updates, the most recent on 12-18-15.