Nesting Kitchen Ping Pong Table

Interactive Installation + Woodworking

Our family has a long standing love for the game of Ping Pong. Living in dense urban cities has also deepened our curiosity of multi-use and adaptive spaces and furniture. The confluence of these two interests was the perfect opportunity to experiment with the custom design and implementation of a kitchen table that could expand to a ping pong table and collapse into a smaller footprint depending on the need. The ping pong table mode can also be leveraged as a large dining table that serves about a dozen guests on special occasions.

  • Skogerboe Yust Residence
  • Furniture
  • Woodworker, Designer
  • Natasha Skogerboe
  • 2020
  • Cedar, 1" Plywood, Stainless Steel Rods, Casters

The images above show the final version of the table. The nested configuration is on the left and the expanded ping pong is on the right.

The final design concept was executed in 3D. We then did a deep dive on sourcing materials and components for lumber, stainless steel rods the table tops use to slide, and casters to move the table around. We explored a number of finishes to find the right smooth surface for easy cleaning and hardness for bouncing ping pong balls. The chosen surface approach was many coats of sprayed enamel.

The images above show the woodworking and early assembly of the prototype. This early fit test helped prove what was working and what wasn’t while preparing for a Thanksgiving event to test the prototype in full usage. The image on the left shows the stainless steel rods that support the weight of the surface while inserting into the side rail guides.

The Thanksgiving prototype test was a success in that the table didn’t collapse during the dinner and later we were able to play some initial ping pong games without the final finish. Some of the takeaways included the need for additional stability and bracing for the legs additional width for the table surface to slide back and forth and the stainless steel rails needed to be filed down to allow the table tops to slide back and forth with less friction.

After the prototype test, extra leg bracing needed to be added to strengthen the table. The upper left image shows the lower diagonal braces that were added resulting in minimal impact to leg room while still being able to accommodate a future suspended cabinet. The next image shows the dark stain on the support structure and the upper right shows the result of the many coats of spray enamel. The bottom row shows the ping pong service line application. I learned a technique for masking perfect lines from my uncle and artist, David Yust – after masking the line with tape, one should paint the color that is already on the surface first, then paint then new color. This will ensure that none of the new color bleeds under the tape.

The table has definitely lived up to the multi-use expectations we had at the outset of the project. It was already helped us entertain many guests, serves as a more general play surface and allows us to play ping pong whenever we like among other use cases.