It seems that one of the first things that most “non-boaters” ask about Pandora is “how many does she sleep?”, a question that was always an odd one to me and yet a question that only seems to apply to boats.
To that point, when someone asks about our home, they never ask “how many sleep in your house?”. Why is that?
I guess that the same sort of question applies to size as inevitably, the next question is “how big is your boat?”. My answer is always “well, that depends how far from the dock we are. When we are close, she seems huge. Far out to sea when it’s rough, very tiny indeed.” Funny as nobody ever says, “how big is your house?”
Anyway, the point of the title of this post is, sort of, related to how many Pandora sleeps. Brenda’s answer is always the same when that question comes up. “six for cocktails, four for dinner and two sleep on board.” That works well for us as most of our cruising friends have their own boats and even at 47′, Pandora’s not much larger than a normal sized bathroom in a house.
Related to the sleeping question is how many eat on board and while we have a generous dining table down below,we usually prefer to eat out in the cockpit. However, unlike “old” Pandora where we had a good size dining table in the cockpit, “new” Pandora, not so much. Her table is fine for two but if we are going to live up to Brenda’s saying, we’d have to use salad plates and sit WAY TO CLOSE TO OUR GUESTS as the table is just too small. It looks lovely all set for dinner but, alas, only for two. Yes, I realize that this isn’t dinner but you get the idea.So the question was how to enlarge the table and yet have it still fold down like the one that came with the boat? My solution was to put on some sort of extension, a sort of “leaf” like a “land-home” table might have. The question was how to do it.
I decided to increase the length of the table by 18″ for a total length of 3 1/2′ and design it in a way that could be slid on and removed easily. I am using teak to match the “already aboard Pandora” table. The wood alone, while only a single board, set me back $150 (that’s .15 of a boat dollar). No room for mistakes. Next I had to include fiddles, like the “old” table, to keep things from sliding around when the table is in the closed position, say for cocktails when we have the “six for cocktails” thing going on. This is what it will look like, sort of, in a deployed but “closed” cocktail position. There will be a slide bracket on the back to keep the two sections aligned and secured to each other. There will be two tapered legs to support what will be a long table. We don’t want a guest to lean on the suspended end after “one too many” and bring the whole thing crashing to the deck. Making the tapered legs was a bit challenging using a shop-built jig. This is a shot of the jig and “blank” of the soon to be tapered leg. Here’s one of the two roughed out legs. They taper from about 1 1/4″ at the top to a bit over 1/2″ at the bottom. Magic, a tapered leg! A fitting will go in the top of the leg that will allow me to screw it into the bottom of the table to support the extra length. Curious about how to make such a jig or how to use it? This four minute video shows how to make a jig and after that, if you just have to know how to actually use the jig, a second short video will come up. I also had to cut in for each of the 4 new hinges so the table will fold into the “cocktail” form. First I drew them on the wood. Then I roughed them out with an electric router. I think it took me a week or two just to get up the nerve to use the router “free-hand” and I had to get them exactly right eight times as that’s how many hinge ends I had to get “perfect”. You can do a world of hurt to a project such a tool. They can be hard to control and there is no way to repair a mistake. However, it worked out. Here’s what they looked like when “rough” after the router. Then I “cleaned up” each hinge mortise with a small chisel. The net step was to mortise out more wood for the thicker parts of the hinge. I took out some wood, tried to fit the hinge and repeated the process time and time again until each hinge end fit “just right”. And eventually they all did. I also had to duplicate the details on the original table such as the routed down areas of the corners. That proved to be fairly time consuming. I did it with a 1″ sanding drum on a drill. Lots of sandpaper used up on that step but it worked.
Today, if I ever finish this post, I’ll do the final fitting on the hinges and then work out a design for the “tab” on the bottom of the table that will marry the two table sections together securely. After that, I’ll finish the sanding and then begin applying the many coats of varnish so the new table will look like the one that came with the boat.
I’ll include photos of the finished table after it’s all completed. While it’s a fairly simple project, getting the details on the new “leaf” hasn’t been easy as I had to reverse engineer the “how did they do that” for much of the details.
Everyone complains about how much thing cost for boats but it’s the “custom” nature of everything that makes them so costly. It’s a good thing that I mostly have the ability make this stuff as I could never justify the cost of hiring someone else to do it.
So, how many does Pandora sleep? Now you know and soon Pandora will be able to be true to Brenda’s word “four for dinner” on our shiny new cockpit table.