Since it's a good time of year for this sort of project, thought I'd re-run this thread on a table I built last winter for my Florida digs. The script was written for a fishing magazine which should be publishing it soon.
Fish Cleaning Table Shower
Rinsing your hands, knife and fillets while cleaning fish was always a slimy proposition. The focus of this article is about having a foot-operated showerhead on your fish cleaning table. This entire table can be built for about $50 depending on the size and materials you choose. Just adding the plumbing to your table as shown costs less than $20 and a couple hours work. This small investment pays back in spades when you are cleaning up after a long day on the water.
The foot-activated showerhead uses a ball valve with the handle drilled to accept a bungee (the spring) and chain down to the foot pedal. I have used the spring-loaded valves before and found they do not have enough spring to close the valve completely with a pedal, and they cost about $45. The ball valve cost about $5 and works much better. I attach the copper tubing and valve to the underside of the table using a ‘drop ear elbow’ at each end. This gives the feed line, the valve, and the showerhead stability. To the feed line side, I added two hose bibs on this particular table. A short hose and nozzle passes through the table top at the back to rinse the table, and the third to wash the boat, rods or whatever.
The design for the table itself is as variable as imagination allows, and not the focus here. Accompanying photos are of the table I built for Breezy Point where I winter, designed to fit and compliment the dock, which is 48” wide and all pressure treated material. I will however make a few suggestions, you will find several incorporated in the table shown. A kitchen counter is 36” high, so that is the height I recommend. Depth of 18-24” is what I have found to work out best, more than that is generally a waste of space and makes it harder to clean. You’ll want a width of at least 30 inches, if you work alone. I have 42” at my home and it’s great for me, but crowded with two guys cleaning flatties, you need 60” if you do that with any frequency. If you’re building a 60” or wider table, I would recommend moving the showerhead near the center of the table so it could be shared easily. Always put just enough pitch to drain water off the back, too much and you’ll have fillets sliding and blocking your drain. To drain off water I found a space of 3/8” - 1/2” between the end board and backsplash to be the right size. Any more and you can lose your knife or a fillet through it too easily. Holes are harder to keep clean and are easily blocked with fillets, if you make large holes you risk losing your knives. For a cutting surface, most like the Starboard type material, or for a lot less money, two cutting boards sold at department stores work well. Many people like cleaning fish on a wood surface also, use a piece of ¾” exterior plywood and replace when it gets beat up. Using serrated knives tears up anything in its path including cutting boards, so the disposable plywood can be a very viable option. Whichever surface you go with, be sure to countersink the screw heads well below the surface to prevent damaging your knife blade. A shelf under the table is a nice addition to keep a sharpening stone, brush, and other items relevant to cleaning fish and your boat, and it’s also a good place to keep your fillets away from the seagulls just waiting for you to turn your back! Tight Lines!