A Table for the Salish Sea

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This table was designed and built for the Salish Sea, the first of the Salish Sea Yachts IS48’s. We discussed many ideas during the construction of the vessel, folding, high/low, hinge up/down and various combinations of the previous ideas. None of the “normal” configurations really worked that well in the space. So how did we end up with this design? Read on.


Fully Extended IS48 Table

Table Leaves and Hardware

We looked at what features were really important to the owner. It needed to go well with the contemporary interior, a Northwest wood was preferred, as big as possible for dining, shrink to get out of the way for more casual use and be easy to operate. When in the reduced mode there should be room to get around reasonably at both ends. This, to me, is important as I think that trapping somebody in the far corner is awkward at best. With this table, that will happen at meal time, if the table is fully extended. A high/low feature was not desired, which though add some functionality, also create some problems. The table would be 25 inches wide and 52″ long in the extended mode and shrink to about 30″. Oh — and can we do this without having removable leaves or other parts that we have to store ?


IS48 table With Leaves In

Table With Leaves In

As usual I started sketching and worked through several ideas, none of which I liked for this project. They were too complicated, didn’t look right for this interior or just were not going to work in this application. My next step was to sketch out a shape that I did like, and then work out the details. I wanted it balanced and did not want the top to hinge and fold out to extend the table, to me those always seem “fiddly” and constrain the shapes to much to make them work well. I remembered a table that I built several years ago, the constraints were different, but the end result would work here. After a little looking I found the hardware that was used and it looked like the smaller one would do the job.


IS48 table Leaves and Hardware

Table Leaves and Hardware

The hardware is for a Parson’s Table, it is also commonly called Refectory Table Hardware. What it does, is allow an 11″ or 14″ leaf to pullout from under the ends of a table and pop up into place, level with the top. When you are done with it pull back and it will pop back down and then it can be slid back under the table, out of the way. It is actually very clever. It does have some parameters that you have to stay with in. The apron needs to be notched to house the leaves, the main part of the table needs to be at least 30″ long and the top can not be more than 1″ thick. Most of these work well with what I had planed, except for the top thickness. I had intended to use veneered plywood for the top and edge it with a solid wood sea rail and, unfortunately that doesn’t work well with this. While keeping the overall shape, I changed to solid Maple for the top and could go with 15/16″ to leave a bit of clearance.


I did not have time to build this myself so I called Mike Murphy, one of the best craftsmen ┬áthat I know and asked him to build it. As much as I’ve said about good clear drawings, I only did minimal ones for this piece. First I am very comfortable with Mikes work and we communicate well, also this piece was unique on the boat and the details did not have to match.


IS48 Table Drawings

IS48 Table Drawings

A couple of other things we did on this were, a polished stainless steel pedestal and a laser cut inlay with with Maple and Pacific Yew.


The stainless pedestal, which is just a simple straight section, fixed height, was purchased from Crown Ltd. Everything that I’ve ever gotten from them has always been stunning, this was no exception.


We looked at a few choices for doing the IS48 logo and decided that the best course was to have Mitercraft laser cut the inlay. Ron does great job and is very easy to work with. His company can do a wide range of embellishments from simple to incredibly complex.


I think that the table works very well in this space, when extended it is very comfortable to eat at and with the leaves in the space is nice for lounging. The solid Maple is beautiful, especially with the multiple coats of medium rubbed effect Conversion Varnish showing off the wood grain.






  1. Good article, thanks for the mention of my name in it. As you know it’s not often that the builder of a product is mentioned in an article like that ,so again thanks. Talk to you soon Mike

    • I’ve had that same frustration over the years and have been trying to be careful about giving credit where it is due. Thanks for building it Mike.



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