Cockpit tables are a wonderful addition to a boat. We love having a spot to eat, out in the fresh air. And when we have more people on the boat, the kids can eat in the saloon, while the adults munch above. Unfortunately Blue Nun didn’t have a cockpit table when we purchased her, but a serendipitous set of circumstances solved that. Along with a little bit of creativity and ingenuity.
Setting the Scene
Brewers Marine Supply in Hamilton seems almost like one of those clown cars, in the sense that whenever you think you have reached the last room, there is another one right behind it. The store is crammed full of marine supplies; plumbing, electrical, nuts & bolts, safety equipment, fenders (not bumpers – Les was corrected on that), and teak parts – each in a separate room. The latter room is where the magic started to happen.
Les walked in and saw a gorgeous teak cockpit table on display. It had a sign on it, “Clearance – ask for price”. Well a new table wan’t in our budget at the time, and we’d seen a poly/plastic table that had cost upwards of $300. Lindsay figured teak would be way out of our price range, but Les thought he would ask. First we were made to guess at the price, and Les took a guess – $550. When we were told it was only $150, we quickly consulted, and decided to take it home. The story is that they had been custom-made to their specifications by a factory in China, there had been problems with a few tables splitting, and the lot had been dumped in a corner of the basement for the last few years. Now the owner wanted to clear them out, and we were a beneficiary.
Of course, once we go the table on the boat, it didn’t attach as smoothly as we had hoped. The folding leg was to long and hit part of the pedestal before the table completely collapsed. Once we devised a way to hinge and lock the leg, we found that the inner bolts used to attach the table wouldn’t fit up against the compass housing, so they had to be ground down. And the table kept falling out of the shelf, which was solved by fabricating some plastic C-shaped washers to hold that in. And then the shelf attachement didn’t sit straight, so we attached some rubber bumpers and carved them to fit against the pedestal poles.
Finishing the Table
The table came unfinished, so once everything worked, we decided to apply a finish to the teak. As usual, Les researched it extensively, and settled on Semco Teak Sealer. He couldn’t find it locally, but if you are in Canada, Marine Outfitters is a good source for supplies. Semco is a product that soaks into the wood and protects it, while maintaining a look that is very similar to the freshly sanded wood, just a bit darker. We’ve been very happy with the natural look that is maintained, and the ease of application is very similar to a stain, just paint it on and rub it off.
That is the story of how one of our favourite parts of Blue Nun came to be. We hope for this site to help others who might find themselves in similar situations to ours. So if you table lands in your lap, you will know how to react. For the remaining 99.8% of you, hopefully you will find some inspiration from our modifications, and might be interested in an easy teak finish.