Making a New Salon Table
This is actually a bit of a excerpt from an article I put out in Mainsheet (coming out in May). But I thought I would share a bit of it here with pics.
THis is how to make a cockpit table. We ended up using oak versus teak to test the design (and because teak is $33/foot). But the trick is to make it so that it "looks" like a solid piece of wood. So... here we go...
New Salon Table
I love the size of my salon table, but it REALLY takes up a lot of room. As such, I have made a new table with leaf that can easily be removed or added as necessary. The small table is always mounted, but the leaf can fit under the salon settee. I will say that this process is not “hard”, but may require some special tools or assistance from a wood shop on a few parts of it.
This is my old table:
The first thought that may come to many of your minds is to just cut the table in half and mount the hardware. I did not do that for two reasons: 1) I may one day wish I had the whole table back, 2) I assume Catalina built the table like I have built it, which if you cut it, would expose the plywood core (which looks tacky). As such, here is the process for building an exact duplicate of your salon table and cutting it (or any salon table).
The first step is deciding which wood you are going to use. I finally decided on oak and had a stain made to match the interior teak. Oak is NOT the perfect match for teak (because of its grain), but is vastly less expensive. This will also allow me to see if I like the way the table works without spending a very large sum of money on teak. I suggest you consider doing the same thing. As of the writing of this article, teak was right around $33/board foot. It is also hard to come by. Oak, on the other hand, is readily available and about 1/10 the price of teak. Try it this way first and if you like it, duplicate your process with teak.
If you look at your table, you notice that there are no plywood seams visible around the edges. This is because they outlined the table in solid teak. In the middle of the table, they either put solid teak or plywood. I elected to use plywood for rigidity and because if I replicate this with teak, it will be less expensive.
The things you will need are:
1) About a 15 foot long solid piece of oak. Fifteen feet is approximate because it depends on what width you choose. It should be sufficient to completely outline the edges of the table and the cut you would make through the middle of the table. You will need this planed to the same thickness as your plywood (3/4 inch).
2) A sheet of ¾” plywood. You might as well buy a sheet of this (4X8)
3) A 4X8 sheet of Oak Veneer.
Draw a rough layout of your table on the ¾ inch piece of plywood. Now, using that as your pattern, you will need to outline those edges with the solid wood. This will leave a gap in the middle to which you will add the plywood. An alternative to this is to tongue and groove the entire table instead of using a plywood insert, but this method will not be as strong.
Next, mark and cut your angles. You do not need to make complicated angles and leave yourself some room. These will all be straight edges that you will cut to pattern later. Don’t forget to put a sold piece of stock running down the part of the table where you will be cutting it later. We used 22” back from the galley side of the table as our dividing point (this is a measurement for the C400).
Next you will need to come up with a way to connect these pieces. This may be one of the parts that requires a wood shop. We used a pocket hole cutter. Ours is a commercial grade cutter, but I understand that Lowes and Home Depot may carry a smaller hobby size that would work. Next, lay the rough table on top of your plywood, mark the size you need, cut, and insert it also. Again, we used a pocket cutter.
You will now want to sand both sides so there are no rough, sharp edges. Once this is done, spray both the veneer and rough table with contact adhesive. This is a special adhesive for attaching veneer to wood and is available at Home Depot, Lowes, etc. Follow the directions on the can, but generally you let it sit for several minutes and attach the two pieces. We have a special method for attaching these because if you let the two touch at all, it is VERY hard to move them again. We lay a few strips of wood across the rough table (which will not really stick since they have no adhesive on them), then lay the veneer on top of that. Pull out one of the sticks, then using a block of wood, let the veneer slowly down and smooth it firmly together with the block. Repeat this process until you have attached the veneer. Make sure you do not have any voids in the table. Next, cut the veneer away with a razor blade and repeat for the other side.
The next step is to cut out the table to the exact match as the previous table. Laying the previous table on your new table, mark it out and firmly clamp it. There are more than one options for cutting out the pattern on your table, but we used a router with a cut-off bit. We used the old table as a guide. This is very easy and work very well. Next, you will need to cut the table in half at the previously determined point (which was 22” for us, as discussed previously). One method for doing this (which we used) was to shoot a few short brad nails through the back side of the plywood you drew the outline on in the first step, and into the bottom side of your table. Make sure the nails are not too long! Doing this allows you to have a flat surface to edge/cut by. We used a panel saw to cut the table in half, but you could use a circular or table saw with guard. Next, using a router, round over all the edges of the table just like was done by Catalina. NO SHARP EDGES OR CORNERS ON A BOAT! You will also need to round over the corners where you cut the table in half.
You now have the exact match of the table you started with, but cut in half. All the edges are solid wood and it looks great. You can have some stain made up to match the previous table, then apply multiple coats of Polyurethane.
There are a lot of option for re-connecting the leaf (which fits under the settee, incidentally). We used a tongue-groove latch with the groove on the table that stays out. We also removed the other post mount (in the floor). The table will easily work with only one mount. We are VERY pleased as this has given us a LOT more room in our salon.
Very nice! Now, how do I place an order? ;)
What, no inlaid mother-of pearl Catalina logo???
Very nice CD
BTW, is that your son in the green jacket ???
Nice panel saw you have there. Nice works also.
Has anyone ever made one to double as an emergency rudder. If that possiblity was incorporated into the design it could make life easier if a problem arose.
Isn't the one on the left designed to replace the rudder on a Catalina?
merely another example of talented people with time on their hands......
Great Job however!
Great table CD, I see you or your dad is the owner of a Kreg Jig tool, what a great invention that tool is.
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