I own a janky old wooden desk, and have been using it for 20 years. Before that it was someone's kitchen table, and its at least 50 years old and has had many modifications - its not an antique despite being old.

I'd like to move it into a small sewing room, but it won't get around the corners. To resolve this, can I cut the legs off and reattach them firmly once in the room?

The four legs are 55mm square ( 2 1/16 inch). The front legs are exposed on three sides, and the rear legs are exposed on two adjacent sides.

Option 1. Cut the legs, and use some kind of threaded wooden dowel or big metal coach bolt with threadded ends to wind the legs back together.
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Option 2. Use one of those toolbox closure clasps to tension the leg, peraps with a slip-fit center dowel.
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Option 3. a fancy hinge somehow, combined with a latch - there's a bunch of them for card tables but they are supposed to sit right under the desk's top.

Option 4. Remove the legs and support completely, and make new folding legs for the old tabletop.

Option 5. Remove the stringer at the back, and make each pair of legs fold in toward the center, like a cheap plastic buffet table.

Other ?

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I'm contemplating cutting the legs right under the stringer board and having 4 legs that fold at 80% of their length, or removing the top and making both sides fold on a pair of long piano hinges. Locking the sides open might use a couple of wooden dropper plates also hinged.

  • Sorry no photo easily available - phone packed up today, and the only photo I have is old and doesn't show the details, so not inlining with question criggie.org.nz/crap/chair-small.jpg
    – Criggie
    Jul 7, 2020 at 9:11
  • 1
    Desk can't fit around the corners by flipping it up on its long edge or short edge?
    – Huesmann
    Jul 7, 2020 at 14:08
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    Warning: The fancy hinges allow quite a bit of wobble. I used them to make am occasional desk, but retired it quite quickly.
    – SiHa
    Jul 7, 2020 at 15:39
  • The triangular brace visible was added by me.
    – Criggie
    Jul 12, 2020 at 4:48
  • Desk has been dismantled - leading to a new question which I will ask in the next couple of days, whether its possible to restore flatness to a tabletop that is cupped.
    – Criggie
    Jul 19, 2020 at 11:13

1 Answer 1


Adding closure, - I sat on this project for over a year. Then these hinges came up in a random search, so I bought four, fitted them, and the table works well. Its a little wobbly than when it was completely dowelled and screwed together, but the legs fold and I can stow it easier.




Stock photo from linked website

I reinforced the top to reduce the cupping and while table is really heavy, one person can still set it up or carry it about.

Hinges needed some minor filing+deburring to make them easier to unlock, and some lubrication.

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    I call this process "repair through benign neglect". You let a broken thing sit long enough it'll just start working again on its own. In your case, ignoring it long enough gave it time for the right solution to appear in your in-box. :D Thanks for the wrap up. To help steady the table, you might consider connecting the long back-side legs with a cross brace. Presuming that side goes against a wall and the brace won't be in the way of knees. I'm also trying to envision a way of simply inserting the skirt board back in to provide bracing, but haven't come up with anything yet. More coffee...
    – FreeMan
    Feb 23, 2022 at 13:08

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