Salon Table

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!

Table as we received with Fayaway – a bit on the smallish side but 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.

box of original Pretorien parts being opened. Wow, they sure did a good packing job!

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.

Clayton shaping one of the corners

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.)

Glued and screwed!

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.

Newly-installed table – at this point it still needs a bit of tweaking.

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!

3 thoughts on “Salon Table

  1. Mike

    I just purchased a Pretorien out of New Orleans. I hate the fact I have to step over the folded table to get to the starboard side of the cabin. Did you modify/shorten your table to make ingress easier? I won’t ever be seating 6+ for dining.
    BTW you have a great documentary of your modifications and have given me much inspiration.
    Thanks Michael


    1. Hello Mike! I shortened the port side to about 17” (if I remember correctly), but didn’t modify the starboard side at all. Yes, it was always difficult to get around but I guess we just got used to it that way. We always left the starboard side in the upright position as it seemed easier to get feet around, as well as it was ready for eating. Send your email address in the “contact us” page and I’ll send you a link to what I have.


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