This super handy cockpit table sits in the cockpit hanging from,
and inserted behind, the wooden trim handrails which lie on each
side of the F235's cockpit. The lower edge of the railings on
the table's short sides drop down into the 3/4" gap that
exists between the wooden cockpit trim and the cockpit fiberglass.
To insure they fit into the available 3/4" gap, the dimension
labeled "critical" must be carefully determined (see
construction notes below and the dimensioned drawing). The dimensions
in the drawing are accurate, but the drawing itself is NOT TO
You can place the table in a few different
places fore or aft along the cockpit as long as you make the short
side railings of the table the right length. Mine were perfect
The lower lips of the railings keep
the table in place, and the upper lips of the railings keep your
goodies in place. The form of the cockpit table was designed to
complement the salon table. It's easy to put in place and take
off (no fasteners of any type), and it stows flat since it is
only 1 5/8" thick.
It's great for happy hour and dining
out in the cockpit.
Table surface is 1/2" grade A-A
oak veneered plywood 28" x 14 1/2" (1 ea). I had to
buy a 48" x 48" sheet of it to get the 28". That's
OK, more wood for other projects, right?
Railings are solid red or white oak
10" x 1 5/8" x 1/2" (2 ea)
22" x 1 5/8" x 1/2" (2 ea)
Table corners have corner radii of
2 1/2" (try a 2 lb coffee can bottom)
Railings have corner radii of 3/4"
Special note regarding the dimension marked "critical"
your boat, lay a yardstick athwart ship, like a bridge over the
cockpit floor, and measure the minimum distance needed that will
allow the table's 1/2" railing lips to fit between the wooden
cockpit trim and the fiberglass on each side. The available gap
on each side is about 3/4". You want the table railing lips
to drop into these gaps freely without scuffing or binding.
If you measure too small, one side
of the table will fit in the gap, but the other side will hit
the wooden cockpit trim. If you measure too big, one side will
fit in but the other side will hit fiberglass. If your measurement
is just right, each side will drop into its gap and the table
will be held captive. On Windependent, this measurement is 27
If your measurement is 27 3/4",
and the tabletop length is cut to exactly 28", the difference
between the two is 1/4". You need a dado in each railing
sufficient to accept the tabletop. You need two dados (one in
each railing) and you have to "use up" 1/4" total,
or 1/8" on each. So cut each dado 1/8" deep. Understand
the reasoning in this paragraph before proceeding! If your measurement
isn't 27 3/4", re-compute the dado depth calculation and
use your results instead of mine
Remember the old adage: Measure
twice, cut once.
Make the width of the dado sufficient
to snuggly accept the 1/2" table top, and cut the dados in
the short railing to the required depth, centering the cut along
the width of the railing. This operation makes the upper lip same
as the lower lip. The dado depth of the long railings is not as
critical, but for esthetics use the same depth, and dado them
right down the middle, too, so the upper lip is the same size
as the lower lip. Precise work here will keep the railings at
nice right angles to the tabletop when you glue things up later.
Cut the radius curves on the tabletop
and the railings. I used a band saw and cleaned up the curves
on a disk sander. If cutting the radius corners on the tabletop
reveals any laminate voids in the plywood edge, fill them now
with stainable wood filler if they will show. For what I had to
give for the plywood I was not expecting voids and I didn't have
Now sand all parts carefully. Many
a job is ruined at this point by inadequate surface preparation.
Imperfections are hard to see, until of course, you apply stain
and then it is too late. Examine your surface prep work carefully,
looking at each piece from various directions and with different
light angles. Final sand your work by hand with a rubber block
and 400 grit sandpaper. If you are a fanatic, move on to 0000
everything together, centering all parts. Use high quality water
resistant glue. Clean up any glue that oozes from your joints
before it dries. Glue will show because it won't stain. Then let
things dry overnight.
Remove ALL residue and dust. Finish
with a coat of wood stain of your choice (I used Minwax Wood Finish,
Puritan Pine 218). Let the stained wood dry a day or two, then
apply a marine grade finish (I like Minwax "Helmsman"
Spar Urethane, Clear Gloss). I want it to last, so I applied 6
coats over a period of a week. I know. It is overkill.
Now, sail somewhere nice. With your
sails properly flaked and your lines Flemished, set your table
out in the cockpit in sufficient time for it to catch the golden
rays of the setting Sun. Place upon it an on open bottle of Merlot
and a little sharp cheddar. You will not regret the time you spent
The Gang on Windependent enjoying the cockpit table - Sophie Longing