In many professional van conversions we looked at the table design consisted of a top, a single metal pole, and metal base piece partially sunk into the floor. In some cases two base pieces sunk into the floor in different places to give alternative sitting positions. We didn't care for this design - it would only be a matter of time before one of us tripped on the metal base and wine would go over everything (strangely, we trip a lot when holding a glass of wine...).
In addition, if one wanted to use the same table outside, it either required an additional heavy base piece, or another table altogether.
Other designs had only one folding metal leg and used the sliding door to support the table at one end. Quite what one does with a one-legged table when you want to sit outside is beyond me!
More recently the trend has been to have steel framework legs with a short foot section, the whole lot folding up when not in use. This type of table leg can be got from self-build suppliers.
Reading reports of many new Pro van conversions didn't help much either. If anything comes up regularly for criticism it is the table: it's too big; it's too high; it wobbles; it's too heavy, and so on. So, what to do?
Forty years ago we made a very simple camping table out of scrap wood. We still have it, it's a bit knocked about, but it still works. So, we thought we'll make a simple table based on that design for now whilst we decide on the final table design, and once we've used the temporary table for a while we'll know better what works, and what doesn't.
Table set for dinner. Mad Mumsie sits on the sofa, me on small seat. Table can also be turned 90 degrees and pushed against the closed side door...
...or can be used at night in the 'corridor' between the sofa bed and small seat/bed when beds made up as 'singles'...
...and, of course, used outside!
...and, being very lightweight, it folds up easily and neatly and sits happily in the wardrobe when travelling. Er..., we'll it did in the early days, but not any more!
Over time we've collected items such as a windbreak, winding handles, groundsheet, Silver screen, lounger chairs, etc. that all have to be stored, and putting the table away each time became a nightmare, so it is being moved to a dedicated position on the very back partition.
So, here's a few pics of the temporary table we've now been using for five years...
The top is 12mm ply and edged with strip wood. The pivots are 6mm dia. pan head machine screws cut to length with 6mm washers pushed on then the screw end peened over with a hammer. Note, 'penny' washer trapped between the two legs at pivot screws.
Legs are 33x18mm. If you're looking for longevity, pin the joints in bottom and top rail. One could simplify the construction by using half-lap joints on lower rail and replace top dowel with rectangular rail and beef up design using 44x18mm for legs, etc.
One could, of course, not bother with all this table construction and go and buy a nice lightweight aluminium one - but we are minimalist self-builders and we rather love our deliciously old-fashioned 1960s diy version!