When we purchased Fayaway, she contained a recently updated salon table which was not what the original builder (Henry Wauquiez) had intended. While it was in nice condition, it used a single pedestal base, simply screwed (x6) to the sole. When at dock the table fit the purpose well, allowed easy access, and looked quite nice!
However nice looking, it was not seaworthy. Should one happen to grab the table in a heavy seaway, the pedestal base would have easily pulled out from the floor. We tiptoed around it very carefully last summer while we cruised around the Maine coast. We had vowed to revert back to the original design, so to become more seaworthy and practical in more conditions. Now it has risen to the top of the list.
During our search for a new boat, we looked at a few different Pretoriens, so we knew what table we wanted. We still had the leg/mounting holes in the sole, ready to accept the legs, but we had very few design details needed to recreate the proper size and features. We discussed with local boat people, and scoured the internet for photos, trying to come up with the design ideas. Kelly suggested posting on the Wauquiez / Yahoo enthusiast group site. Bingo! A fellow Pretorien owner had acquired a partial original table from yet another owner who had changed to an alternate design. We quickly made a deal to have the parts shipped from his home in Seattle. Our shipment arrived and thankfully everything looked like it should work. Some of the hinges, the port-side leaf, and the hook/hold-downs were missing (as expected), but we were thrilled nonetheless with the acquisition. This was the break we were looking for, as it provided all the missing details, as well as saving us a lot of time trying to recreate custom hardware.
We found a place that sold teak-veneer marine plywood, and worked with a local furniture-maker friend of our son Clayton, who could cut the larger sections using a proper table saw. He let us help by shaping the corners, and the result was to provide new table leafs, along with the missing fiddles. We decided to re-use the center section (wine bottle cutouts – hey, it’s a French boat!) as it is solid teak and in decent condition.
We then applied edge trim before gluing and screwing with wooden structural pieces necessary to support the table hardware, as well as new and old fiddles. Three coats of varnish (more specifically, spar polyurethane) sealed up the wood. (Thanks to our friends John and Kris who kindly let us use their basement and garage workspaces.)
Next step was to install all the pieces with the old support hardware onto Fayaway. The old hardware consisted of custom legs and supports, as well as very heavy bronze hinges, which would have been very difficult to find/re-create, and so again, we are so pleased that these parts from a completely different Pretorien fit perfectly into Fayaway. We abandoned the old brass slotted screws and used new stainless to hold everything together.
And voila! We now have an original Pretorien salon table, complete with old patina garnered by the original center section and hardware.
I’m far from being a qualified woodworker or furniture maker, but we are satisfied with this upgrade. Let’s see how it holds up in a seaway!