Modify Sauder SmartCenter table and merge with small side table
convert the sliding top to fixed with drawer underneath, hinge the fixed rear lid.
Sauder 'Carson Forge Smartcenter table #413350 / Sauder 'Carson Forge #414675' side tables:
Wont go into a lot of detail. Its a fairly easy modification, that and few would have reason to pursue, but felt worth offering the option.
Prelude...Our Living room carpet replacement included replacing our old corner sectional with small couch and 2 recliners. In turn our old mish-mash collection of tables just didn't work. We ordered 2 small Sauder 'Carson Forge 414675' side tables, end of couch and beside the recliner.
That didn't work. Ended up with empty 3' square in corner of room. Was going to add another table in corner but then we'd have 3 tables next to each other, goofy. Decided to order the Smartcenter table 413350 as its a bit larger, move small side table to my chair. Better but still a large unoccupied space. The SmartCenter table is kinda nice, holds charging stuff, phones, laptop etc. Has sliding top, but it would be more functional between the 2 recliners. Could move the tv sub woofer box onto its lower shelf also. So back to looking for something to fill corner. In the same set of Sauder is a larger single table (TV stand 412921) that would work as end table for sofa and completely fill corner. Now were on track. Move the smart table, just end up with extra unused small end table.
The Smart table nice-but because of jog in living room wall it sets quite a ways from wall, back to funny unused space. Decided could stick unused end table there...works but looks like 2 tables stored. Meantime I had already modified the smart table, hinging the rear fixed top section. Tables intent is to slide the 'drawer' to access space inside. Its not really a drawer, the front & top slides out exposing inside of cabinet, the 'drawer' has no bottom. Works but proved to be inconvenient- I could not see a reason to not hinge back lid, so I did. Easier for simple access to plugs, stuff can set in the front section. Can still open the front section if needed.
Getting the sub-woofer onto smart center shelf proved a project in itself detailed on seperate page. 1- it wont fit, 1/4" too tall, 2- if it did couldn't access switches located on rear, 3- simply took up to much shelf space. So cut off rear section of S/W box housing its self contained amplifier, moving and attaching to back of table. Disassemble sub woofer, shorten box 1/4" and set on shelf. Nice. I no more than finished sub woofer modification and realized I could join the 2 tables, make one big table! Seems often its in the midst of doing a project that ideas pop up that leads to ideas for what would really work. So that's the convoluted story and how we got here....
The merge, The whole point. I didn't document this morph, couple of pictures though. The smart table went thru a couple of changes prior so this is after the fact. I will mention I joined 2 assembled tables. If starting with 2 unassembled tables, the side legs and panel from the Side table could be eliminated-saving some weight and doubled legs in middle of table.
Sounds simple. Took both tables outside to see what's involved to join. Small end table is about same depth as smart table is wide, same height. Top of both units over hang legs a bit so one will need to be cut. Also the metal trim pieces of legs will need to be removed so legs of both table butt to each other. But looks easy.
Removed the modified rear hinged lid from smart table. Removed the trim pieces from both tables legs to be joined. Slid together- perfect. Legs butt together, top of small table overhangs & reaches top of legs of large table, flush with smart table top. So its just drilling thru holes in legs of small table, use screws to attach to large table legs. Also adding 2 screws thru top of small table into top of legs. My previous hinging of smart table lid will need to be changed.
Removed back from small table to drill legs and for clamping. Drilled 5 thru holes in 2 legs of small table. With perfuse amount of wood glue (not really gluing as its vinyl but for added surface friction). clamped and screwed tables to together.
Then added 2 black bugle screws thru small table top into legs of large table.
Removed previously installed hinges, cut off about 3/4" off lid so it goes back where it was. (NOTE: IF considering converting sliding top to fixed and making drawer don't cut the rear lid, cut the top instead. Reason is larger access to inside rear area, top is longer than drawer will be so its length uneeded. ).. Only critical part, making sure its front edge is in the same place because it acts as sliding top stop, and allowing for thickness of piano hinge. Re-hinged the lid to the edge of top on small table top. Re attached added strap that holds hinged lid in open position-Wale! Joined. A lot easier than first thought. Bored several large holes to pass cords wherever might be needed. One is charge cord for my laptop passes thru & out back as it will now set on small table. I've since stained exposed raw areas.
Attach modified speaker amplifier to back of small cabinet. Again this is separate project but done at same time. Ended up adding a remote switch as its switch now too far back.
Some details-trimming decorative trim pieces to fit. Leg caps trimmed to butt up to each other-small stuff. But his ended up so much more functional. Almost a mini desk/charging station /end table. I like it.
Anyway Stoked-nothing planned just one thing led to another. It came out very functional and 'fits' the area/usage better.
One thing though is the sliding top. Front 3/4 of top moves. More than once has been a problem. Glass of water/ laptop and inadvertently moving top, plus just so much area that needs to be kept clear of stuff. I am going to convert the sliding front top into an actual drawer, fix top. The SmartCenter table as built has some nice features, the sliding top one, but for our use an actual drawer would be better.
Should be fairly easy, remove 'drawer intact. Attach back and bottom to existing side rail( after extending sides an inch or so to utilize full dept). Then remove the top.This will keep sides and rails in relative position so wont need mess with slides. Attach top to cabinet, I have leftover cams from hinging the rear lid but will likely glue/screw blocking. To the inside of cabinet install false wall dividing space from open area of hinged lid and back of drawer. End up with hinged lid access to charging stuff, have a drawer for storing and a fixed top to put stuff without an accident waiting to happen. Round to it..Likely some details, like the drawer face will need flipping due to unfinished edges. Haven't really looked. IF the drawer side and attached slides were centered/symmetrical could just replace 'top' with 'bottom' and install upside down-be way too easy. Probably not, just need to see. Small shelf molding will need to be moved from top of shelf to bottom to utilize full depth drawer---hmmm-
And done-converted sliding top to actual drawer.
The reworked & merged Smart table / side table only lasted a week unmolested. Sliding top just didn't work . If you stored laptops etc inside be nice but this serves more as my table. The hinged rear lid nice for access to plugs but the sliding top not so much.
Pulled the sliding top off and took to shop.
This is the sliding top, Its setting upside down. 'Drawer' face & sides are attached to table top. TO convert to an actual drawer I'm building with top still attached to maintain exact dimensional relationship of the sides and rails, Here I pulled the drawer face, cut a slot for new bottom board and reinstalled. In a hurry I cut the slot all the way to edge, minor but it will show, mistake 1. Should have cut with router and stopped short of edge.
Cut side 1x2's to length, ran thru saw for bottom slot. Added corner braces to inside corner between face and sides. Once top removed only the single 'cam' holding face. Normally I would have cut a false front, attach between sides, attach face to it but I think this will work. Also see where edges to be reglued I sanded thru vinyl.
Cut the back piece
Cut the bottom. Fit all the pieces to check. Pre drilled all holes. Bottom notched where screws pass. Hmm occurred to me attaching the back I couldn't get inside to release the top..really I almost did. Glued and screwed cube, oh boy.
With face, sides and bottom glued/screwed proceeded to detach from the tables top.
Then glued and screwed back piece. Drawer!
Note the back is a bit shorter. Originally I was going to run finished drawer thru saw and re cut sides and face to the height for clearance. The drawer no longer attached to top needs clearance to slide under it.
Checking finished drawer fit realized trimming wouldn't resolve clearance need, and big Gotcha, well the other issue. Previously sliding top sat above table sides on drawer sides to clear. To compensate factory used thicker material for the rear lid so tops ended up flush. If I attach top directly to cabinet the rear lid would be higher, creating a ledge between. Looking around I had some 3/16 lattice. Simple, raise top to clear drawer and will end up flush to rear lid. Glued & nailed strips to cabinet under top. Perfect. What I didn't get picture of was attaching the top..
I drilled the edges of cabinet with several1/4" holes for dowels. Then "Very carefully" match drilled the top. Used (3)- 1/4x 1 1/4 dowels each side under top. Fully glued top down. None of these tables can be lifted by the tops but confident this one is the strongest of the set.
Stained the top edges of drawer for now but need to address. 1" dowel or something will fill the unused cam holes, may need to band the edge though-looks pretty bad. Update found some 1" black plastic push in caps Trimmed the black felt to fit drawer, remainder for rear section, remount power strip to rear.
Other thing I didn't get a picture of was divider. Ok I went & took picture..
At the rear of drawer I placed a piece of 1/8" luan paneling glued to 1x1 blocks. To the side that faces the drawer I added several felt bump pads as this now acts as stop for drawer. Also keeps stuff from falling into drawer area. Painted white to get a bit more reflected light in rear space. Thinking I might later add small lid actuated light, possibly replace the black felt.
Kinda fun, much more practical for our use. A few minor details and round to its, clean up drawer, stain inside, bung unused holes etc. But done & useable.
Spent a bit of time, more than planned but happy with it.
On to the next project....
Which came up pretty quick. We had a floor lamp that was used between chairs. No longer room for it, ended up modifying, converting to cieling light. Since we have power in the new table ran cord to it. Added dimmer switch on table side to turn on lamp. The switch plugs into tables power strip, it feeds short extension that lamp is plugged into. Replaces the in line switch that was on cord. A bit more detail on switch & lamp conversion on its own page.