Let’s Table This Discussion

I’ve now learned I prefer vehicles with rear hatches, but there are certainly benefits to having a rig with a rear door.  Having the spare mounted to it from the factory is the most obvious plus, but it also allows for a table to be installed.

I was largely unimpressed with what I was finding that was FJ-specific.  The rear cargo area is already tight, and I didn’t like the idea of mounting anything thick to the door that would further limit cargo space. That pushed me to craft something on my own.

I never planned on splitting wood or driving u-joints out of driveshafts with this table.  It’s just for making a cup of coffee or doing some simple cooking during a quick stop.  This lightweight design has led me to call it a sandwich table.

Construction was pretty straightforward. I started with a small piece of 1/8″ aluminum I had laying around.  I sized it to clear my paper towels and charging ports.

This had the advantage of also allowing it to clear the ladder for the rooftop tent.

The aluminum swings on a continuous hinge.  I was originally going to buy a new hinge, but my dad had an ancient brass section laying around.  It was really cool to me to be able to use something he’d just happened to have been hanging on to all these years. The hinge is riveted to the aluminum and secured to the interior panel with coarse-thread wood screws.

To support the table, I punched holes in the outer corners and used some 550 cord running from the door panel out to the table at about 45°.  The right side is tied off at a set length to allow the table to fold down 90°.  The left side remains adjustable so that the table can be secured when in the up position.  Adjustments are made with cord locks.  I happened to have a set that came with a pair of Keen shoes.  They were terrible at keeping my laces tight, but they’ve worked great for this table.  Comparable locks are available in a variety of colors for less than $1 each.

Behind the interior panel, the 550 cord is run through a fender washer and knotted up securely (by my buddy, Jay).  The washers are glued to the interior panel to keep the rattles down.

It’s not the prettiest or the most durable option, but for throwing together a PBJ or slicing up some limes for our Pacifico, it has been exactly what we needed!

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