Snack Tray

Since moving onto on the boat, and spending a lot more time in the main salon, we wanted a convenient place to set down drinks or snacks when sitting on the forward end of the starboard settee. This location is a favorite movie/TV watching position. This is the same area where the dining table folds down, and we thought there might be a way to use the bulkhead mounted “box” that supports the dining table to also hold a small snack table. The trick was to make sure it didn’t interfere with the operation of the dining table or when extending out the settee for use as a berth.

The “deployed” mock-up of the snack tray. The back edge of the tray would be attached with a piano hinge (it’s just tape in the mock-up) and supported by a swing-out arm attached by a hinge to the bulkhead.

We used some cardboard to make a model of a small folding table which would not only meet the above two requirements, but would be nearly invisible when stowed in place. The first set of pictures that follow show our simple mock-up of how the table would work and also how big it would be.

To stow the tray, the support arm is first swung back against the bulkhead.


The tray is then swung all the way down and back so its bottom rests against the bottom of the dining table “box”.


The fully stowed position. The measurements for the tray were critical to ensure that in the stowed position, there was enough room between the front edge of the tray and the bulkhead to accommodate the thickness of the stowed support arm. This limited the width of the tray to a max of 7″. Also, there was a natural limit to how long the tray could be. On the outboard side, it could not interfere with the seat cushion when being folded. Since the support arm is desired to be under the center of the tray when in use, and the arm itself doesn’t hit the mast when being stowed, the maximum length of the tray was 14″.


At this point we enlisted Paula’s Dad again to take advantage of his woodworking expertise and cleverness in finalizing the design. We also wanted the tray to have fiddles and a simple way to keep the tray captive in its stowed position. We didn’t mock-up either of these items. He made the tray and support arm from 3/4″ teak stock as well as the fiddles. A clever turnbuckle made from teak to keep the tray in its stowed position rounded out the design. Below are pictures of the unfinished tray mounted to test the fit.

The unfinished tray test mounted. The coffee cup gives an idea of scale.
Here you can see the support arm swung out and holding up the tray. In the background you can see the wooden turnbuckle which will twist to hold the tray up in its stowed position.
The unfinished try and support arm in their stowed positions. Note the very nicely shaped curve Paula’s Dad incorporated into the support arm.


With everything fitting nicely, we unmounted the parts for finishing. Paula was in charge of that and did a very nice rubbed oil finish. I felt a little guilty at this point since it turned out so nice and I hardly did any work!

Here is the finished tray deployed. The left side front corner has a break in the fiddle to allow for easy crumb removal. As usual, the carpentry work by Paula’s Dad is first class.
The finished tray in the stowed position. It blends in beautifully with the rest of the wood.

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Morton M. Lyons

I am especially proud of the rounded corners made from the same teak. I often wondered how the Tiawanese did it on our woodwork in the Defever, and now I know Ta Da!

Jean Montemarano

Very nice! Our thoughts and prayers are with you as hurricane Irma approaches. Stay safe, Jen