11 May Add a Removable Counter
What galley couldn’t use a little extra counter space?
Here’s a great idea if your companionway steps come down right beside the galley, as is the case with many monohulls. This would have been perfect on our previous boat, a Tayana 37.
Now, I’m not allowed to give credit for this idea, but it wasn’t mine. A reader wrote and said I couldn’t mention his/her name as “I’m supposed to be hard at work on the boat” and not sending off emails.
The basic idea is simplicity itself: a piece of 3/4″ plywood cut the width of a companionway step but perhaps twice as deep so that it makes a counter that sticks out from the step, with a U-shaped door threshold that slips over the step to keep it in place.
Find a threshold that fits the combined thickness of your step and the plywood (you don’t want to use plywood much thinner than 3/4″ or it will crack or break when you put anything on the unsupported end). This threshold came from Ace Hardware; other hardwares and home improvement stores will have similar ones. Some, like this one, have a slot for weatherstripping on the side opposite the “U” (if it comes with weatherstripping in it, you can remove it). You can see a similar one here on Home Depot’s website.
To use the removable counter, just put it on the step so that the empty part of the “U” is on the bottom and then pull it so that it slides over the back edge of the step to secure the back end of the counter piece. The front end of the removable counter is unsupported. The counter should be just about as wide as the step so that it won’t get pushed out of alignment (and the “U” slip off the step) in use.
NOTE: What looks like a vertical piece attached to the back of the threshold is actually part of the wall behind it. The plywood is painted to match the gelcoat.
Don’t make the counter too long or it will be prone to sagging on the unsupported end . . . over time, it could even crack or break. The thicker the plywood used, the larger it can be. Round the ends so that it won’t hurt if you bump against it.
So where do you store this when it’s not in use? Say when you want to actually go up or down the companionway stairs?
Here’s what this reader did — hung it inside the door under the galley sink.
The hanging bracket is a scrap piece of 1 x 2 with a couple of washers between it and the door so that there is a little gap for the edge of the “U” to slip into. Place a rubber “spot” bumper on the underside of the counter near the bottom edge so that it doesn’t constantly bump and bang against the door with the motion of the boat.
You could use this same idea to hang it on a bulkhead if your cupboard door isn’t large enough or otherwise won’t work.
And since everything on a boat has to have two uses: this also works as an extra seat when you have more guests than settee space!