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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

5/12/2010 - Table project

Unfortunately I can't find any "before" pictures of the table base on Siempre Sabado, although you can see a little of it in this picture. However, if you've ever been in a camper, you've seen something similar. It was just a metal tube that fit into a socket on the floor and another on the bottom of the table, creating one leg. It had a big T-handled clamping system that was supposed to crimp the sockets securely around the table leg. But it never worked very well. In spite of shoving shims made out of tin cans in between the socket and the leg, I could never get it tight enough to not tip a little. So, when one of us was leaning on the table doing a crossword for instance, as soon as we got up, the weight of the other person leaning on the table would cause it to rock. Every time. It got very annoying.

Besides the annoyance, we knew we were going to want to use a big heavy Sailrite sewing machine and we would have to put it on the table. Clearly some sort of change was needed.

I knew the new leg needed to be more solidly attached both to the floor and to the table. But I still wanted it to be removable just in case we wanted to make up a bed or just needed more room or something. The best way I know of to accomplish both of these tasks is by means of nuts and bolts. There are undoubtedly fancier, more expensive, and more elegant solutions but nuts and bolts are readily available and don't cost an arm and a leg.

To mount the base to the floor I put some threaded inserts into the floor and then used machine screws to fasten the base down:

To fasten the table top to the base, I just thru-bolted it. This isn't all that elegant as it leaves flush-mounted machine screw heads showing but so far it hasn't been an issue.

Because the table was supposed to bear the weight of the Sailrite sewing machine, it would be nice if the leg could be placed in the center. But that would make scooting around the settee very difficult. So, since the leg was off center, I needed to make the top of the base larger to distribute the weight better:
So now, if we want to remove the table we need to unbolt 6 machine screws on the top and 8 on the bottom. This takes maybe 5 minutes and about the same amount of time to reassemble.

Always on the lookout for more storage, I decided to make the table leg square and put a few little drawers in it. I also hung 2 drawers from under the ends of the table to store kitchen implements, pencils, pens, erasers, etc.

A note about all the different woods in the table:

The top and pedestal are made from pine. This is a reminder of all the furniture I built in our house and is still our favorite wood, visually. The fiddles on the table are made from a piece of maple that a logger gave me when I was buying a bunch of white oak strips to build a structure to house the boat I never built. We needed to put some kind of support on my truck to help hold all these oak strips and he had this piece of maple and used it. He said there was no charge for the maple but if he ever found out that I'd cut it up and burned it he'd hunt me down like a dog. Guess he didn't know me very well because I've always been hard-pressed to burn anything I could make something out of. The pedestal base is teak and made from this weird useless hanging rack that was in the head when we got the boat. The under table supports (knees) are also teak and are made from the original companionway ladder. The drawer fronts are teak as well and are made from the door that used to separate the saloon from the main cabin. We hated that door and have replaced it with a heavy curtain. Finally, the little under-table drawers are made of cedar that I bought for some long-since forgotten project in our old house.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Steve, I did not know you was, how they call it, a "artiste". :>) That is a work of art. Beauty and function. Ken