Tuesday, June 30, 2015


In a previous post, "ELEVATE YOUR WOOD - TOYOTA FJ CRUISER CARGO STORAGE SOLUTION", I built a raised platform to help utilize the cargo storage area in our Toyota FJ Cruiser.  Recently, I came up with an addition to that platform by adding a lightweight, yet sturdy hideaway table.  Here's how I did it.

The material list:
1 - 3' x 2', 3/4" plywood
1 - can Krylon stone course texture spray paint
black spray paint
adjustable shelf bracket
wood screws
1" schedule 80 pvc pipe
rubber tips
mule tape
D rings

First, I modified the brackets for which the table would slide on underneath the shelf.

Here is the bracket that I found at the hardware store.  It was   originally for an adjustable shelving system.  I cut it in half with our metal bandsaw to make the two sides for the sliding brackets, each about 19" long.

I then set the bracket up sideways on the drill press in order to drill straight holes through both sides.  Each bracket had six equally distanced holes.  I drilled through both sides so that I could easily install the screws through the bracket and into the plywood. 

Completed holes

After the 12 holes were drilled into each bracket,  I cleaned them up by sanding the sharp edges and spray painted them with a flat black paint.

With the shelf upside down, I figured out where I wanted to place the brackets for the table placement under the shelf.

I then proceeded to install six, 3/4" wood screws in each bracket.

One side of the brackets installed. 

After the brackets were completed, I cut the 3/4" plywood to size, 3' x 2'.  Using a router, I used a bit that rounds off the edges for an easier fit and nicer feel.  Next, I sanded both sides of the plywood piece very smooth with an orbital sander with 180 grit sand paper.

After removing and cleaning the fine saw dust from the plywood, I coated the bare plywood with a primer base using flat black spray paint.

I used this to add protection and texture to the plywood.
The result of the textured paint.

Because the table is tight against the shelf, it was very difficult to pull it out with my fingers. I needed a handle to pull out the table for use.  I thought about buying some regular drawer hardware but came up with my own.  This is leftover mule tape from my hammock suspension ("HANGING IN THERE HAMMOCK CAMPING SERIES: THE BASICS OF THE HAMMOCK") and I was able to find a couple of D-rings in our garage hardware stash. 

Using a hand stapler with heavy duty staples, I attached the mule tape to the plywood and then further secured them by pounding them in with a hammer.

Homemade drawer pull.

Because I knew that the shelf was going to rattle ruthlessly in the brackets while traveling, I installed this rubberized edging.  The middle has metal on the inside which helps it form perfectly over your desired edge.

On each bracket, I ran 14" of the edging down the length of the it.  It works perfectly to keep the rattling at bay and it keeps the table from sliding back and forth while traveling.

Although the rubber edging certainly stopped the rattling, it also made the sliding clearance too tight causing the textured paint to rub off.

So to resolve this issue, I used an orbital sander and worked the edges down a bit until they slid comfortably.

To keep the clearance where I needed it and give it a finished look, I opted to cover the bare edges of the plywood with a black spray paint instead of the thicker textured paint.

Next, I needed to add more support and stability to the table when it was pulled out for use.  I decided to use two legs made out of schedule 80 PVC pipe that would secure under the table and rest on the edge of the bumper of the Toyota.

The pipe is sturdy and lightweight.

To give the legs a sturdier footprint on the bumper, I found these 1" rubber tips.

They fit perfectly over the end of the legs.

While using the table, I needed an attachment of some sort to insert the legs into underneath the table to keep the legs in place and steady the table.  At first I wanted to use a schedule 80 pvc pipe flange but it turned out to be too thick and I wouldn't have been able to slide my JIC totes ("DON'T GET YOUR PANTIES IN A WAD - JIC BOX FOR YOUR RIG") in and out from under the shelf.  After some thought, I opted to make my own flange for free by using 4" x 4", 1/2" plywood.

By finding the estimated middle of the pieces, I simply drew corner to corner lines creating an 'X'.  I then placed the pvc pipe about in the middle of the 'X' and traced a circle around the pvc pipe.

Using a router with a small bit gave me more control and detail ability to cut the circle.

With a small work piece, I couldn't use regular clamps to hold it in place because the router plate was too big.  Instead, I used two wood screws and screwed the work piece down to a piece of scrap wood to hold it in place while I cut the hole out with the router.

Very carefully, I made my way around the penciled circle mark to make a clean cut.

After routing out the hole, I turned the table upside down to figure out where I wanted my flanges installed.  

Each piece was attached with four small wood screws.

Here are the legs installed and resting on the bumper with the table pulled out and in use.

The flanges work perfectly to hold the legs in place.

I wanted to keep the legs stored up and out of the way when the table was not being used.  While at the sportsman's outdoor show this past spring, I ran across these ingenious little items called Stable Solutions.
(I would love to give the website information but the inventor informed me that he was in the process of changing the name of his company.  I no longer see the website available that was provided to me at the time.  I have emailed him and will insert the information as soon as possible if/when it is provided to me.) 

Each Stable Solution clip is attached with a simple wood screw.

The legs are easily stored into the clips.

The legs are stored up and out of the way but yet still easy to access.

I removed one side of the smaller side clips with a jig saw.  This gave me a little more room for the JIC totes underneath.
Here is the completed table in its storage position.
The table is large enough to house a two burner camp stove with counter space to work on.

Putting the totes on the ground, I can use them as additional work space.  In foul weather, an attached rear awning, a quick set up canopy, or a pitched tarp will cover this space nicely.

Being resourceful and using materials on hand, the entire project cost less than $15.

"We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us."  
-- Unknown

#dirtyfingernails #treadoutdoors #outdoorwomen #centraloregon #bendoregon #outdoors #fjcruiser #carcamping #toyotatrd


  1. however while not the right table, your router isn't nearly as effective. Since you are already a craftsman, rather than allotting huge bucks to shop for a table, you'll simply build your own exploitation router table plans.