Table top height extender!


A small baggie of clamps, rubber pads clips and a piece of old vinyl tablecloth raised the table with the help of a tray and some empty cans.  The hardware, in my case, came from the garage junk, and was flexible enough that I could make adjustments on the ship.
Job one is to find 4 empty beer cans.  Bud Light worked, as would Miller or Coors be possible.  The circles of traction grippers were some drawer bottom rubber shelf liner stuff cut into circles.   The small ones for the top had some plumbing scraps fastened to make them stay on top of the can and not fall off when putting the tray on top.  A plastic poker piece could be glued on perhaps.  Maybe a small wire nut could do the job.   The top pads WILL fall off when putting the tray on top, so that piece will help.
Small office clamps pinched the tray.  At first, I had used a string between the turnbuckle and the office clamp, but I did not need the length, so I removed one of the clip handles and slid it directly onto the turnbuckle and then put it back onto the clamp.  Notice that one of the top grippers had fallen off in the picture.

The tray came from the buffet and was being used for stacks of coffee cups. I am sure that if I had asked, they would have let me take it. These trays are also used when you order room service (other than a small snack).

14 1/2 inches by 20 inches for the tray, and my cloth had a 4 inch overhang all the way around.  As little as an inch and a half would do, with the clamps keeping it from blowing off.

Once the thing was assembled, I un-pinched the tray, one side at a time, and slipped over the table cloth.  In my case, I had measured the tray on a previous cruise, and sewed the cloth edges down square, and then trimmed the triangle of material left underneath.  It made a type of "fitted sheet" - more or less.  Any tablecloth a bit larger than the tray would work ok.  The sewing helped a bit on windy days, but not essential.
Another view.  Looking back, the color of the cloth is not elegant and could be improved. The cloth is not really needed, but the bottom of the tray is quite smooth and possibly slippery, and it does look like an upside down tray.
1.- The tray - I did not try it right-side-up, but it might have worked that way too.

2.- Office paper clamps. These were medium-small, and they could slip off if made too tight, but they did not come off by themselves.  Another clamping device could work too.  The second ear of the clamp was a nuisance, but if I had removed it, then I could not pinch the clamp open to install it.  A neater arrangement might be possible here.

3.-  The turnbuckles - These are key to the whole thing.  I had them in my workshop junk box, but a hardware store will have them.  This allows you to adjust the 4 sides so they are snug and firm, but not over-tightened.  Reaching a balance between the 4 sides will keep it fairly steady. We moved the table several times carefully from the bottom edges without incident.

4.- Heavy twine.  The string allowed me to make even more adjustments in the overall length of each leg. The legs on the long end of the tray reach further than the wide end of the tray, so having the extra flexibility is good.   I started with each turnbuckle almost fully opened,  and if it reached both ends ok then I tightened it to snug it in place - going back and forth to each side to firm them down evenly.

5.- The hooks for under the table edge.  Made out of scrap metal at home, they are heavier than a coat hanger.  The under lip of the plastic table top has a thickness to it, perhaps wood is under there, so the hooks are a U shape with a little lip that  was supposed to grip under the table top and allow for the thickness of that table top edge.   They were supposed to be straight but the angles came out wrong.  I pinched them to more than a right angle later on, and they grabbed well enough but still the angles came out odd.

6.- The rubber anti-slip disks -I don't know if they were essential, but I felt less likely to knock the whole thing over if I tapped a coffee cup on the edge of the table.  As it was, the only un-stable event was when I took it apart at cruise-end and the beer cans went flying all over the deck.


This little do-dad greatly enhanced our cruise by enabling us to eat at a proper height table!  Unless I am sure that my cabin will have a "big boy" table, these parts will be with me on my next trip.