A table, a table, my kingdom for a table!

Projects & Maintenance

In owning San Patricio for over 3 years now we’ve come to discover many of the “gifts” the previous owner passed down to us – none of them good. Perhaps the most noticeable however, was the lack of the original drop-down folding leaf salon table. Thankfully, MOST of the pieces were still accounted for, but certain key pieces had been altered to render the table incomplete to perform its task as intended. Simply put, the previous owner decided to remove the table and use it to fashion a shelf over the galley sink…for a microwave.

Now, a normal person, such as you or me would have considered the purchase of new lumber for such an imbecilic project. I could easily forgive such wanton table-cide if it was done in the event of an emergency at sea, to perhaps bolster a window against boarding waves or to shield a volley of flaming viking arrows – I would applaud it! But NOT for a f@%king microwave shelf thrown together at the dock. Release the hounds!!!

TABLE

Yet all was not lost. It was salvageable with a little reverse engineering motivated by too many dinners enjoyed from our laps. While the table pieces lay in waiting I began by looking for images on the internet of similar tables. With luck I found one good picture from which I could gauge the original inventory, proportions and assembly. This what I had to go from:

Forgive the lack of photo credit...I forgot where I found this.

Forgive the lack of photo credit…I forgot where I found this.

The primary tabletop section to be secured to the salon bulkhead by a piano hinge was about 2″ too short. To restore its functionality I milled a piece of mahogany and fixed it to the business end with wood glue and countersunk screws and bunged the holes. Then with a router I did my best to match the decorative edges from the other unmolested corners. A replacement hinge cut to size aligned perfectly with the original screw holes. We were getting somewhere!

TABLE1

Similarly, the collapsible table leg had also been cut shorter to serve as a support for the travesty that became the galley microwave shelf. It was not salvageable in terms of a table leg so a new piece had to be cut, shaped accordingly and given a clean, routed edge. Not all that difficult really, and I found working with the hand router very enjoyable. The original piece will make fine stock for some pieces of the overhead cabin trim.

As you can see the original piece was way too short to be reused. The new piece is a near perfect match.

As you can see the original piece was way too short to be reused. The new piece is a near perfect match.

The other half to the table seemed to have escaped the sacrilege that befell the other table pieces, but like its counterpart it too had woefully dated formica laminate that was begging for a renovation. I had planned to use real wood veneer, but the expense and durability thereof swayed me toward a fake “Cherry” wood laminate that matched our wood interior pretty well. And that also meant less sanding & varnishing!

Glueing up the new laminate and trimming the excess

Glueing up the new laminate and trimming the excess

Once the laminate was adhered to the table tops I used a few different router bits to trim the excess material and clean up all the edges. Add to that a few hinges and we had something that resembled a working table. The side rails and bottom face can use a coat or two of varnish, but for now I’m calling the job DONE! Goodbye lap breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Plus, the table will provide Jackie with a nice surface for some sewing projects. Winning!

From the stored position the table unlatches, folds down and folds out. It can seat 6 people Jackie's size or 4 people my size. Not bad.

From the stored position the table unlatches, folds down and folds out. It can seat 6 people Jackie’s size or 4 people my size. Not bad.

In closing, I’d like to think the previous owner didn’t fully comprehend the idiocy of her decision to desecrate the original table…but then this is the same person who failed to mention she left 60 gallons of bad fuel in the tank at the time of purchase.  It turned a simple one day boat delivery into nearly 5 days and added expenses and repairs for weeks to come. After all that, she called us a few days later to ask if we could return her $20 boat hook she had left aboard. Ha!

Bless her heart.