Sometimes, I don't understand Tillerman at all.
What is all this noise on his blog about furniture and tables and sailboats?
He claims some badass retailer that sells, of all things, drop leaf tables asked him to write a post named, well... 'Drop Leaf Table'.
That is confusing enough, especially for a blog ostensibly about sailing, but he goes on to say he couldn't just write that post about drop leaf tables. He would have to gradually work up to it. He has been gradually working up to it for a week, posting ten separate posts about tables, beds, guitar-shaped boats, and furniture.
I say, if you're going to write about drop leaf tables, just man up and do it.
By way of example, this is a post about a drop leaf table, and it's even related to sailing, sort of.
Here is my drop leaf table.
My drop leaf table
OK, OK, let's not argue that this is technically a drop down table. Drop down, drop leaf - close enough for me.
I am rather proud of my drop leaf table. It is not a great work of carpentry, but I made it with my own hands and for me, that alone is quite an accomplishment.
Anyone who has a Catalina 30 will know why I took on the task of making my own drop leaf table (see, I'm sticking with 'drop leaf' for the rest of this post).
The makers of the Catalina 30, bless their sweet hearts, were faced with the same problem that has confronted most makers of 30-foot coastal cruising boats. How do you fill in the settee so it will convert to a double berth for sleeping and yet still provide a table in that same space for when you're not sleeping?
Alright, I know this is pretty boring, but, somehow, I need to prove that you CAN write a blog post about drop leaf tables.
Since the Catalina 30 is what's called a 'price boat', they took the cheap and easy way out. They started with a plank of particle board, slapped some ugly plastic laminate on it, made it big enough to fill in the settee for sleeping and then stuck a flimsy little folding leg on it for converting that into a table. Voila! Now it's a double berth, now it's a table.
The problem is that a slab of particle board that's strong enough to support two sleeping people has to be pretty thick. And a slab of particle board that big and that thick ends up weighing about 800 pounds. And when you want to convert from berth to table, or vice versa, you have to pick up the whole freaking thing and wrestle it in and out of two tiny brackets. If you want to stow it away, you have to flip the whole thing over at the same time. It's almost impossible to do that without needing a chiropractor afterwards.
So, I decided to improve on things. I gave up on using the settee as a double berth and decided to just make a table big enough for two people that would easily fold out of the way for storage.
Drop leaf table folded out of the way for storage
Most well-made boats have a nice table that folds up against the bulkhead, so how hard could it be to make something like that?
Plenty hard, as it turns out. It took me about six months to find out just how hard.
Now, this not being a blog about furniture making and me not being anything remotely like a carpenter, and since anyone still reading this must be half asleep by now, I will dispense with the details of actually making a drop leaf table.
Suffice it to say that fitting into a boat something like a folding table that works in both its 'deployed' position and stows away neatly in its folded position without banging into or scraping against a dozen other things in the boat and that stays down when its supposed to be down and up when it's supposed to be up and does all of that when you're sailing or not sailing is quite a bit harder than I ever imagined.
It has something to do with being able to think in three dimensions to build such a thing and me having trouble just thinking in one dimension at a time.
Drop leaf table for two that lets you actually get in and out of the settees
God knows how they design the important stuff on a boat that has to move and yet still be able to work in all different conditions - things like sails and booms and rudders.
It must be even harder to make stuff like that than it is to write a blog post called Drop Leaf Table.