Trestle Tables




The Trestle table is an ancient design that was used extensively in the Arts & Crafts movement. It is characterized by a crossbeam that runs along the length of the table between table legs at the ends. The legs are usually not the thin sticks common in modern tables, but are either shaped like a capital "I" or else are joined by a crosspiece of their own.  The lengthwise crosspiece can be at the top or bottom or both, or it can pass midway between the table and the floor.

The design I use for the legs is an "X" shape, with the crossbeam meeting the legs at the center of the X and joined to them with a "tusk tenon" joint.
 



When sitting at a trestle table, the recommended sitting position is a comfortable slouch with your feet resting on the crossbeam.

(editing) My wife and daughter disagree.  You be the judge:


Correct PostureNormal Posture




The chair is the spindle box chair, a variation on another Gustav Stickley design.  




For work tables I use exactly the same design, but I use less expensive materials and less labor-intensive techniques for the table top.  This table happens to be on sapele legs, but normally I use good, stout pine for the legs and crossbeam of worktables.  

The table-top is very simple: I use 3/4" cabinet-quality plywood bonded with a sheet of 3/4" MDF.  I then put a 3/4" hardwood border on all sides to cover the edges of the plywood/MDF glue-up.  

The result is a perfectly flat, very strong table top.   This table is 4x8 feet, and 31" tall.


All components are fastened together with tusk-tenons and "keys" to wedge the parts together.  The table can be disassembled by tapping out the keys, and re-assembled very quickly by tapping them back in.




Price:  For the all-sapele table above, $3500.  May vary a little depending on the wood species requested.
For the work table, with pine legs (stained and finished) and cabinet grade plywood/MDF table top: $750.  




Daniel Lee Woodworks
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Contact: dan@dkilolima.com