After months of spending too-damn-much money on projects to post them here, I finally have a low-buck project I can offer.
Among the many upgrades I wished to make to my old Endeavour 32 was a cockpit table. Being even cheaper than BLJones, there was no way I could justify the cost of an Edson or Lewmar teak table, and those starboard plastic ones just don't do it for me. I had read all the threads here about finishing a table with varnish, and here's what I came up with:
Here's a shot of its very early life.
Edit to add: whoops, I just realized that's another piece I made up for stern rail seats. The method is exactly the same, however.
As wide planks of full dimension teak are now worth a kings ransom, I epoxy laminated the table together out of strips of 1x3. The epoxy adhesive was thickened with two parts teak sanding flour to one part colloidal silica, this made a strong glue that comes out just about the right colour. For alignment purposes the strips are joined with biscuits as well. I made one main piece per evening over several evenings. The three main pieces were then sent through a planer, the knives of which they made short order of. Then the main pieces were sanded, and the rest of the detail pieces were epoxied on afterwards using similar methods.
What follows is an awful lot of sanding, filleting joints, more sanding, then 14 or 15 coats of Minwax Spar Urethane, tempered with an awful lot more sanding between coats. The final couple of coats were completely wet sanded to achieve the truest flattest finish I could manage. The wet sanding alone was probably four or five hours. The last coat provides the gloss, with just the lightest wet sand with 2000 grit to knock off any tiny and inevitable dust pimples.
If you look carefully, there are many flaws in the finished product, but most of them will never be noticed by anybody but me. I figure these flaws make it real. I also learned a great deal about this kind of woodworking, something I had never done before.
I started this project in January, and have worked on it as I have had time between my other boat projects this spring. I finished it just an hour ago, and I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome, so quickly logged in here to show it off.
So the tally?
About $50 or 60 in teak, a few bucks worth of epoxy and thickener, maybe 15 bucks in various sandpapers, $15 in varnish, $10 in foam brushes, maybe $18 in hardware. I guess I slipped over the $100 threshold.
Well nevermind then. Move along.
So the real cost? If you took my hours invested at my regular billing rate, the table is worth somewhere in the neighbourhood of $6000. Perhaps I should have just bought the damned thing after all. I wouldn't be as proud of a store-bought table, but am I $6000 proud?