Every once in a while, I get the urge to add something purely aesthetic to Summer Dance—a bit of class, a touch of beauty. They can transform a sailboat from just a water vehicle into a nautical experience.
Some examples are:
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Something that stood out at me after I refinished all the interior teak in Summer Dance was the salon table. It was the original covered in walnut grain Formica and it didn’t come close to matching the rich warmth of the teak. It was in good condition otherwise and it worked well enough but it just didn’t fit the vibe. Instead, it looked like it came from an 80’s era camper.
The first table upgrade that I did was to replace the original top with one that I made myself from pre-laminated particle board overlaid with white melamine. You can find it at most home improvement stores as well as the iron-on tape for finishing the edges. It’s a cheap, easy, and practical upgrade. It doesn’t tolerate getting wet, however, so be sure to keep it dry. If you have the skill and tools for applying Formica laminate, you could make a top that is more durable and have unlimited color and pattern options.
Still not content, I decided to pull out all the stops and make a custom top from genuine teak. I was fortunate enough to find some plantation grown teak dimensional lumber and teak veneer plywood at a local woodworking specialty store. Plantation teak is considerably less expensive and less rare than the more popular, First European Quality (FEQ) teak. I made it the same dimensions and shape as the original so that it could still be lowered to convert the settee into a berth.
The plywood center is recessed into the frame which also acts as fiddles to keep objects from sliding off. For even more utility, I routed round pockets in one end of the frame to hold beverages and a rectangular pocket to hold small objects.
For embellishments, I inlaid a maple and ebony compass rose in the center and matching diamond pattern strips around the edge obtained from inlays.com. If you search the web for pictures of other custom table tops, you’ll find examples of checker boards, maps, and other ideas.
The new table is a proper focal point for the whole cabin and makes it even more inviting for family and friends. No, it was not stingy, not even a little bit. But it was affordable considering all the savings from other DIY projects!
If you’re interesting in upgrading your own table, here is a link to the bracket hardware that I recommend so you can use both your old table and your new table interchangeably.
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