Build Your Own Fish Cleaning Table

By Tim Barefoot

If you catch a lot of fish and spend time at the cutting board, you know the back pain of a cleaning table that forces you to stoop to clean your fish. It’s OK to fillet a fish or two off a cooler, but when you’re dealing with a pile of them, the correct table height is a necessity.

Here’s how to make your own fish cleaning station that attaches to a chain link or wooden fence in your backyard and folds down when you’re not using it. For most of us, it rests at a comfortable height for cleaning fish.

The only materials you’ll need are:

24 inches of 3/8” (1.375”) aluminum tubing

24 inches of 1 ½” (1.500”) aluminum angle

24” x 40” slab of ¾” Starboard marine plastic

Stainless wood screws

For a chain link fence, you’ll need to accurately measure the top rail of the fence to determine the correct size aluminum tubing needed. The typical size for the top rail of chain link fence is 1 5/16” (1.312”). Aluminum tubing with a 1 3/8” (1.375”) inside diameter is the correct size for the table.

You’ll have to saw the top rail in two (with a metal cutting saw or disc grinder with a cut off wheel) and slide the aluminum tubing over the cut. Put the cut line in the center of the tubing. This will not weaken the fence. The snug-fitting aluminum tubing is extremely strong. My table has weathered several hurricanes without a problem.

After drilling the 3/16-inch clearance holes in the aluminum angle, you’ll need to weld the tubing to the angle and screw the Starboard to the angle.

A standard-size curb trashcan is a perfect height to match most fences, and serves as a sturdy support for the cleaning table. After the fish cleaning is complete, simply pull the trash can out, and the table folds down to be neatly stored until it’s needed.

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