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the dream of dawn

The Incredible Shrinking Table

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When Arcturus came to me, it had parts of two different tables on board, but nothing really functional. A few years back, I built and installed a centerline table with two drop-leaves. Just like the big boats have. Ish. Hey, the boat "Sleeps Six!" so it ought to be able to feed six, right? Well, as it turns out, the table almost never got used. The port leaf would block access to the chart table. The starboard leaf would block the path forward. And the thirty seconds or so required to deploy a leaf rarely seemed to be worth it. In five years, I think I fed six people one time. And they mostly sat in the cockpit. It did make a fine footrest, when lounging on a settee.
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So I chopped it up and made a "Feeds One!" table that is more convenient to use and takes up less space. I had been planning to make a pipe-leg table, using a piece of 2.5" conduit with a 90 curve that I have in my "resource pile." But I had seen these "Lagun" table legs from Sweden. A ready-made solution that would avoid solving several problems required to turn the conduit into a functional table. To me, they looked like they'd be kind of flimsy and wobbly. And they cost a bit. But I saw pictures of them in more and more places. Then a YouTube vlogger that I sometimes watch reviewed one and gave it a big thumbs-up. And I found that some sources offer it cheaper than others. I was sold. Ish.

I used a piece of the old table as a temporary "proof-of-concept" table top. It's 24 x 19 inches, which seems like plenty of real estate to hold a meal or a laptop. If this seems to work out, I may make a new one with leaves that double the width for the occasions when I need to "Feed Two!" or even "Four!" It rotates around the vertical leg and the table pivots around its mount, which you can center, or place off-center for various effects. Tension can be adjusted so that the table moves when deliberately pushed, or locked in place. And obviously, it goes up and down on the mounting bracket. I've put reference marks on it for three standard heights: Dining/desk height, work bench height, and coffee table height.
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I had originally planned on putting it on the port side, so it could be rotated and raised to form an extension to the galley. But some fiddling on the computer plan convinced me that it would not fit well. The rotation would be restricted, largely wasting the potential of the table. But it can always be tested there, at the cost of drilling more holes in the boat. I also bought an extra mounting bracket, so the whole thing can be quickly moved to a second location, such as the cockpit. The best default storage position seems to be rotated back over the settee. But the whole thing can also be quickly removed and stashed away in the sail locker or someplace - the table mount has a built-in bracket to hold the leg during storage.
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So, the verdict? I'll have to use it a bunch more to decide, but I think I like it. So far this location seems to work well. No matter what position it's in, there is room to walk around it and access any part of the boat. It is surprisingly sturdy, but it will wobble a bit if pushed. Plenty stiff enough to hold dinner or a laptop. Maybe even a sewing machine. But probably not a workshop vice or, you know, anything that you're pounding on. I think my pipe-leg table would have been sturdier - if it ever got built - but bulkier.

Hmm... come to think of it, I haven't yet tested it with a meal and a book (or iPad). Maybe I need to add a clip-on book holder to one edge? I did have a snack tonight, while reading from my phone, and there was plenty of room for that, plus my elbow.

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Updated 08-20-2018 at 10:19 PM by toddster

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  1. Loren Beach's Avatar
    Your table and support mechanism looks great!
    I had to reinforce the table on our prior 26 footer to keep the coffee in the cup when someone hit it with a knee. The Olson table assembly was much sturdier but still benefited greatly from securing the central cabinet portion to the mast.
    As for how many can comfortably sit around ours, four is fine. Six is rather crowded. I have also heard the old saying about how many people a boat should "drink, eat, and sleep"....
    Perhaps mariners were shorter and thinner in ye olden days?
    Updated 08-21-2018 at 11:47 AM by Loren Beach
  2. toddster's Avatar
    We had some fairly "spirited" sailing this week, with some episodes of extreme heel that led to a few objects sliding around the boat. Maybe even a hurtle or two. The table, left on "half brake" tension, didn't budge.