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Viking 26 Wide Beam. DIY Shelf - by Andy Lawrie

The modification applies even more to my previous boat, a Viking 28 Narrow Beam, than it does to my present Viking 26 Wide Beam. It may also benefit other models.

Above the windows on a standard boat is a narrow ledge faced with some thin ply. The ply acts as a pelmet for the curtains and also makes a small lip to the ledge. However, as the ledge is so narrow it is of negligible use. This modification extends the ledge into a usable shelf.

The first stage is to mark the upper part of the thin ply strip where it meets the ledge. The ply can then be unscrewed and the top trimmed off – we are going to extend the ledge into a shelf and we don’t want the top of the ply sticking up in the middle. Eventually the ply will be refitted to preserve its pelmet function.

The next step is to get some cheap softwood, I think I used 2” x 1” (which is actually a little less than that by the time they have planed it smooth) but you can choose the size yourself depending on how deep you want the shelves. This is cut to length and needs a little shaping at the end nearest the door, as the side of the boat is not straight. It is painted with wood stain and attached (long side horizontal) with long countersunk screws to the edge of the existing ledge, sandwiching the pelmet.

Finally, some plywood was cut into strips to provide a lip to the shelf. The thickness isn’t too important but I used some that was quite a lot thicker than the pelmet, say 1/4” or 3/8”, or whatever the metric equivalent is. I had the plywood to hand, otherwise you could just use pieces of softwood for this too. I made the lip extend about 1/2” above the shelf and 1/8” below it. This too was stained, and screwed to the edge of the shelf. I used pan head screws, but you could use a decorative finish if you prefer.

There are no photos of the other side of the boat, but the dinette area is fitted with a similar shelf.

The base of the finished shelf is half wood and half carpet (the original ledge) but I have not found that to be a problem. It provides a useful place for all sorts of odds and ends (including Animal). On the Viking 28 it was even more useful because there was more vertical room above the shelf, enough for plates and saucers on edge.

(Many thanks to Andy for his kind permssion to include his © photos and text on this site)