Sutherland Table complete
As an occasional contributor to Waterways World I often wonder how many people actually read what I write. I get very little feedback which can be frustrating at times, but the same applies to the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society's "Boundary Post" magazine which I have been writing for for the last three years.
Gate leg table fully open
This absence of feedback probably accounts for Mike Jordan's enthusiasm to help me with my boat table project which was gleaned from his pages of the October 2015 edition of Waterways World. I saw a picture of his table in Canal World Discussion Forum (there are other forums but this is the best) and PM'd him (personal message). He was soon back to me with some tips and crucially he supplied the timber I would need from his stockpile of off-cuts. In truth I felt that £50 for the raw timber was a very good deal and represented the catalyst for the project.
Sutherland table half open
Our problem is that having rebuilt the saloon in the boat the old table with sprung legs is too bulky, inflexible and tends to get in the way when it is stored. Anyway, its a horrid table and its crude construction has annoyed me for 10 years, so a new saloon means a new table.
Table closed for storage
Mike's construction guide was good but as is the case on most projects I use instructions as guidelines rather than rules (a bit like the Pirates Code). I suspect that Mike has a better equipped workshop as carpentry is his big passion, so my rather more mundane set of tools was always going to limit my options. However, I had a good look at the photos and figured I could create something very similar which could be used either fully extended or with just one leaf up, and was just 10cm wide when folded down which will fit nicely under the gunnels.
My attempt at mortice and tenon joints
My key limitations were the absence of a planer thicknesses to consistently size the rough cut oak and a bench morticer to accurately cut the female sections of mortice and tenon joints. I did buy a new electric planer which, with a bit of patience, did the job of a planer thicknesses and a mix of a drill, a router, a band saw and a jig saw achieved a reasonable set of joints.
This project has taken a long time to complete because I have been completing the kitchen extension at home, but I finally applied three coats of varnish and its job done, ready to be delivered to the boat and the old table can be consigned to the fiery furnace of Hell.
As with all carpentry projects, I could make a better job of it if I built a second one, but for a first attempt I am pretty satisfied and I am sure it will fulfill ts given purpose very competently.
Mike - if you read this please forgive my "off piste" adaptions!
And finally - if you want to know why its called a Sutherland Table - I have absolutely no idea!