Folksong: the answer – a plank of wood

I had spent the afternoon kneeling on the cabin sole, cleaning first the bilge then the lockers and getting frustrated because every time I tried to put something down, it either fell into the bilge, or into the open locker. I wished for a working surface to put tools on and to hammer/screw/cut on, one that would be easy to manage in a relatively restricted space. Too wide and it would be difficult to stow, too narrow and I wouldn’t be able to attach a vice, too short and it wouldn’t fit across the cockpit/cabin sole.

Looking through the this-might-come-in-useful-sometime stack at the back of my shed, I found a varnished shelf that had done twenty years fine service as a book-shelf in our previous house. This might do – it would be helpful to place some self-adhesive insulation tape on the bottom to cushion it from the trim round the seats and to keep it steady – and why not add a couple of eyes at either end to lash it down if needed?

(Click on image to enlarge)


This works well as a workbench. It’s not too precious a piece of wood to be concerned about dents and scratches.


At one point, I found myself sitting on it, sorting out tools and contemplating the next job . . .


. . . and it occurred to me that I had never sat comfortably in this boat facing fore or aft before . . .


. . . then that it might be a useful extra surface for the galley while I’m sitting on my one-cheek companion-way step cooking – (not when there’s a lot of movement, of course) . . .


. . . and then the big leap. I wonder what it would be like if I put it next to the cabin table?

The cushions are firm enough to make the wooden thwart comfortable, the height it right to hold a pencil/pen, or tap a keyboard, the view is out through the open companionway. It suits my left-handedness perfectly. I can move freely round the end of the table . . and it stows neatly in the fore cabin. So there’s the end of another mild irritation.


How unimpressed the crew of “A”‘s tender would be.

(Images by Bill Whateley)