I have installed a lot of electronics and instrumentation at Resolute’s helm and have found the need for additional chart table space for plotting on paper charts. I have seen a couple of NT 32s whose owners have spanned the stairway with removable chart tables. I decided to come up with one of my own, which has now been field tested to my satisfaction.
I started with a 24″ x 24″ sheet of half-inch cork, and a 24″ x 24″ 1/4″ sheet of masonite. Both are available at Home Depot. I first added teak boards to the width, because 24″ is not wide enough to span the stairway. My guess is that these widths vary by boat, and need to be custom-measured and fitted for each boat. Resolute’s width varies fore to aft, so each side has to be carefully measured.
I then trimmed all four sides with 1″ x 1 1/2″ teak boards, and mortised in the cork and masonite into dadoed grooves in the teak trim. I chose to miter the corners. If I had to do it again I would dovetail the corners for added rigidity.
In order to achieve the rigidity I wanted, I built up each of the four corners with glue blocks and additional trim and veneer. I don’t think “beefing up” of the corners would have been necessary if I had dovetailed the teak trim boards. Anyway the additional corner treatment adds to the character of the piece.
I then took a template of the fiddles on the Nordic and cut grooves into the bottom of the teak trim to fit onto the fiddles. Actually, I found out afterwards that a 1″ semi-spherical router bit works just fine.
I added supports to both sides so that the chart table can prop up into an out-of-the-way position when not in use. I added some teak do-dads to hold my chartbooks in position when the table is propped up. On Resolute, the starboard side is longer than the port side. So, in order that the table props up evenly, I added a grooved and hinged teak board on the starboard side, as shown in the photo. This groove was accomplished using the router bit referenced earlier. I also added cork pads to each corner so that the table would not abrase the teak veneer on the boat’s bulkhead.
To brighten it up from down below, and to match the table to the boat, I upholstered a 1/4″ sheet of plywood with the Nordic headliner material and screwed it onto the bottom side. Matching decorator screw covers are available at Ace hardware.
I finished the teak with marine polyurethane, and bronze-wooled away the gloss with paste wax, aiming for a durable yet soft patina.
I have found the cork surface to be excellent for this application. It is a non-skid surface, repairable, and can be sanded lightly to remove any marks. You can repair holes and scratches in cork by applying small amounts of carpenter glue and filling the scars with cork dust.
Bill & Donna Hjerpe
Resolute – NT 32-185