May 2008 -
Here's a very old picture, from when I first bought Stella Blue. The original main cabin table was huge, and was constantly in the way. I took it out within the first month, and used one of the leaves as a counter top for the U Shaped Galley counter.
I added a small leaf to the new counter,
which has served as a very functional table
for the last few years, and which always stays up.
But one does occasionally need
a real table in the main cabin.
This started out as a
Teak Cockpit table,
purchased through Defender.
By starting with a ready made table, I had hoped to save some time on this job.
the pieces are all held together with pieces of piano hinge.
A hunk of teak swivels out to
hold the leaves up.
It can unfold
to make a full size table, for dinner and stuff.
First, the mounting bracket for the mast. The entire table is supported by this thing, so it must be strong.
I epoxied three scraps of prefab fiberglass (from McMaster-Carr) into a rough frame, and taped waxed paper all over the mast and cabin sole.
Then I slowly filled in the gap with a super extra thick putty
of epoxy and
The three sections were slowly worked down using a router table. This will leave a good sharp edge.
Then the battens were glued on using Titebond
II wood glue. They're also reinforced with screws,
covered with bungs.
This actually went much faster than one might think, because the mast acts like a huge heat sink. It's about 50 degrees outside, and the mast is a good conductor. With three good goopy layers over the course of a day, the entire cavity filled up without ever getting warm.
That's important, because normally this much epoxy would kick off really hot, start smoking and get bubbly and brittle. It would probably also melt the waxed paper and leave a scar in the finish on the sole.
So I was careful.
Then it was cleaned up and squared up using a belt sander.
On top, there's a little fiddle,
so that it can be used a a shelf to hold stuff. Salt and Pepper shakers, perhaps.
That red piece is just a different grade of FRP.
This whole thing could have been made from wood, but I had the scraps in the garage and this was really fast and easy.
After a few coats of paint, I stopped to think.
Since the table is going to fold around this thing, it's important that the fiddles clear the bracket. Otherwise the table will be sticking out too far and look weird.
It clearly has to be cut down a bit.
Cleaned up for painting.
There's enough surface area there
to hold it firmly against the mast.
With the bracket ready, it was time to modify the table, so that it would wrap around the mast.
I took the hinges off. That's good thick veneer, and I'd like to know who supplied the raw material.
I wouldn't put this in a cockpit,
exposed to weather,
without some serious weatherproofing.
If outside, I'd soak it all with penetrating epoxy before putting a UV resistant finish on.
This is the bottom piece, which will be cut into three sections.
I'm going to use leftover teak battens from
the helm seat project
to cover the cuts.
I cut the battens down,
then put a sharp edge on them using a router table.
This is a cheap router table, and the guide is a piece of scrap angle iron.
When I cut the table up, I was really surprised to see voids in the plywood, directly under the veneer.
I would think twice about using this as an outdoor table. In fact, I would recommend against it.
The voids are all on the bottom side of the base section. So I won't worried about a ding in the table accidentally busting through.
Of course, the top leaves will be used on both sides,
so I wonder
about voids there.
So this was my big idea, to make deployment quick and easy.
A big screw eye is goes through the table top, and is buried deep into the brace on the back side.
That brace is shaped to rest against the mast, to hold the table secure when it's put away.
The bolt is recessed into the brace, so that it
doesn't extend too far out.
I didn't want it to hit
the mast and nick the paint,
when the table is put away.
The red is Loktite.
I drilled a bunch of extra holes in the piano hinge for both table top and the mast mount.
This will spread the load out among a lot of screws. The entire table is supported by this six inch strip, so I wanted it extra strong.
The screws going into the mast brace are sunk in epoxy, so the threads have a good grip.
The idea here is to make it easy and quick to swing the table up and use it.
The snap shackles are old, left over from the halyards that were on the boat when I bought it.
It snaps up to
the teak trim in
the cabin top.
The first two coats of varnish were brushed on, using Minwax Spar Urethane thinned 25 per cent. I wanted it to soak in really well.
With the leaves fully extended, it was really clear that this wouldn't work.
There's just too much leverage on the hinge
at the mast end.
One really couldn't safely rest
elbows on the table.
So it's back to plan A. Fortunately, I had a perfect piece of teak in the garage. I used rabbet joints to make one end about 12 inches wide, and shaped it to fit against the bottom of the table.
When not in use, this will have to live behind one of the bench backs.
The scallop in the bottom fits around the base of the mast.
The idea works fairly well when the table is folded small.
After using it for a couple of days, though, I realized
that it needed
It was clear that if I fell on it,
or against it,
I'd probably rip it
right off the mast.
This works nicely.
It's big enough to use, but small enough that you can move around the cabin easily.
With the brace underneath, it's good and strong, and could be used when underway.
It can handle dinner for four, but it will be a tight fit.
Heck, when four people are down below, it's crowded even with no table at all.
Here's how it fits under the table. It's rock solid, and supports it well.
At this point, the swinging brace is irrelevant, but what the heck. It's still useful when the table is just supported by the rope, which will probably be the only thing used for short term deployment.
Here's how it looks when put away.
It folds up tight against the mast,
and you barely notice that it's there.
Most of the time, though, I'm still using
the little mini table.
It's really convenient,
but stays out of the way.
The brass pegs slide through holes in the table brace, and
fit into small holes drilled in the
trim over the mast step.
Here's a view from underneath, when the table is up.
To support the brass pegs,
I used two small thin brass plates, folded over the pegs.
All this brass stuff came from Home Depot
and cost a total of seven dollars. The thin brass plates were originally designed
to wrap around glass
cabinet door edges.
Gee, I wasn't paying attention when I screwed them into the table, and they don't quite match. So what.
The leaves need to be well secured against the mast. I spent
a few weeks searching for the right kind of latch,
and finally settled on a
classic lever snap.
Whew. After seven years of thinking about it, it's good to have it done.
To hold the table secure when it's put away,
I took a little piece of brass stock
and made two sliding pegs.