Suggestions on Trestle Table Plans


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I know that this isn’t a new topic per se, as people are frequently posting about their trestle table builds, but I didn’t want to hijack someone’s project journal in order to ask my question.  I’m going to build a trestle style table after the first of the year out of air dried walnut. Plan is for a 45” width for the table top and 96” length. My hope is to build this with one solid leg on either end according to the plans I’ve attached. The legs would be laminated 8/4 walnut, so around 4” in thickness and I would have two 4” wide top stretchers and a center stretcher between the two legs that is 2” in thickness. There will be an overhang of 16” on either side of the leg with 56 1/4” between the legs.  What I’m wanting to know is if you all think that these two beefy legs will be enough to support the width of the top? I really like the style of these legs with the cross shape of the 4 knees and would like to stick with the design if I can provide enough support. Perhaps an additional top stretcher would be helpful?  Looking for any help you guys can provide.  Thanks.

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First if it's my thread hijack away.

Second I'm assuming from your dimensions that your going for a very bulk beefy look. So the bottom part of the left is going to be 4" x 4" with the details cut out. The vertical part of the leg is going to be around 4" x 4" as well i assume? If you had some good  well fit tenons in that your cross braces would be for all intents an purposes aesthetic. I'd still do proper joinery on them so they are doing something but their going to be for morale support of the main leg as opposed to key members. This way you don't have to fret over complected joiner on the angles. I'd make a 1"" x 3.5" mortise in the bottom leg part and cut a tenon to fit and drop it in. Or do a floating tenon. For the top it's a bit thinner so i'd probably do a through tenon to utilize as much glue connection as possible. I see some circles drawn that makes it look like you might put some dowels in. This would help in the strength as well and to make things even better look up the drawbore technique. with a 46" wide top you'll tip the table over before you break anything.

So my main concern with this design is moving it. This table is going to be a MONSTER in both weight and bulk. Try and think of a way for some parts to come off to make moving  easier. At the least the top should separate from the legs.

Also consider that your sinking a lot of cost of wood into a table that is more in the trendy design and trends change make sure you can live with it for a long time. I highly suggest some full scale mock ups so you are comfortable with the looks. 2x4 construction lumber would be a good idea. Also it will help you hammer down the techniques and other difficulties that you may run across.

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Thanks for the assist Nut. I’ve already secured the wood and have it stickered in my shop. I’ll include a picture of it when I start my journal for this build. The plan is to do this in two pieces, the top and the base with either some knockdown hardware or through dowels to hold the two pieces together. And yes, all of those circles are for drawbores.  The legs and feet are planned 4”x4”.

i agree with your concern about the style of table, however, this is what my wife wants after quite a bit of research, so I’m happy to oblige.

Big question is, will this style support the table top well or do I need to design with two legs on either side?

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Nice looking table.  Regarding top stretchers from leg to leg- you mention one but do not shown it.  I assume that it is centered on the legs.  I would serioulsy consider adding a second stretcher about 12" to 16" off the floor with a mortise and tenon joint into each leg.  That will help with racking (sway) a great deal. I will admit that the frame in the attached pic is overly strong,  I have 3 top stretchers for reason other than stability.  You could get by with one or two top stretchers.  Note that my stretchers and cross pices are 3 1/2" wide x 3" tall ( yours are 4" x 1 3/4") .My table was 44" x 96" and while the frame was not to bad to move with 2 people,  the top was a bitch and mine was only 1 1 /4" thick ( aobut 180#)  I would seriously consider reducing the thickness of the top.

I used metal figure 8's to attach the top to the frame and stretchers (a lot of them).  This allowed me to transport the table to its final location and then attach the top.

Good luck - Fun project,

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2 minutes ago, Ronn W said:

Regarding top stretchers from leg to leg- you mention one but do not shown it.  I assume that it is centered on the legs.  I would serioulsy consider adding a second stretcher about 12" to 16" off the floor with a mortise and tenon joint into each leg.  That will help with racking (sway) a great deal.

I understand that I didn’t include all of my drawings. I have a single stretcher planned between the two legs about halfway up that will M&T into the open section of the leg between where the knees are joined (if that makes any sense). I’m not sure that this stretcher will provide much structural help, much like what Nut was saying.

i actually have two stretchers across the top planned and was questioning if a third might be beneficial for such a wide tabletop.

Ill definitely keep a thinner top in mind. I’m not sure all of my wood is exactly 8/4 anyway and will lose some thickness with milling.

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The stetcher halfway up sill add a great deal of stability against the table swaying in the long direction. It works in concert with the top stretcher(s).   The joints of the stretchers to the legs and the legs to the base and top cross piece need to be nice and rigid like mortise and tenon.  I would make it about 5" to 6" tall and 1" thick.

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Here are a couple more of my drawings which may help visualization of what I’m describing. My current plan is to do the entire build without hardware, so my thought is to attach the top to the base with through dowels on the top support and anchor blocks attached to the bottom of the table top.  That’s what the larger circles theough the top support are for.

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1 hour ago, Jonathan McCully said:

I’m not sure that this stretcher will provide much structural help, much like what Nut was saying.

I was talking about the cross braces on the legs. The middle stretcher is very important. With a wider table  the mid height isn't so bad but they bother me personally at that height I'm ALWAYS hitting my shin on them Personal preference there though cause some people don't like kicking them. I always kick me feet up and use them as a foot rest.

 

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3 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

I was talking about the cross braces on the legs. The middle stretcher is very important. With a wider table  the mid height isn't so bad but they bother me personally at that height I'm ALWAYS hitting my shin on them Personal preference there though cause some people don't like kicking them. I always kick me feet up and use them as a foot rest.

 

Sorry, misunderstood you. And I know what you mean about hitting your legs. I’m always stretching my legs out (I’m 6’3”), but I think the width should be enough to keep people from hitting knees.

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lI like the dovetail joinery for the stretchers but I am a little concerned that they are only 1 3/4" divided by 3 squares = 5/8" approx thick and 4" wide.   They would be much stronger if you couldhave the alrge dimension vertical like the lower stretcher.  I realize that that will affect the 1 3/4" dimension of your top support.  You might do a sketch showing 3" or 3 1/2" top supports with stretchers of the same depth with mortise and tenon joints of the stretcher to the top support.  In the end - It's your call.  Deeper top supports and stretchers will not be visible.

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3 hours ago, Ronn W said:

They would be much stronger if you couldhave the alrge dimension vertical like the lower stretcher.  I realize that that will affect the 1 3/4" dimension of your top support.  You might do a sketch showing 3" or 3 1/2" top supports with stretchers of the same depth with mortise and tenon joints of the stretcher to the top support.

 

Is this kinda what you were suggesting Ronn? I appreciate all of the suggestions you both have been giving me btw.  Really helpful as I think through this.

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That's the idea.  But I would make the stretchers 3" deep to match the cross members.  Stronger - and it allows you to attached the top to the stretchers as well as the cross members.  No telling how someone may grab the top and try to lift.  BTW - just to be sure double check your knee room.

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4 minutes ago, Ronn W said:

That's the idea.  But I would make the stretchers 3" deep to match the cross members.  Stronger - and it allows you to attached the top to the stretchers as well as the cross members.  No telling how someone may grab the top and try to lift.  BTW - just to be sure double check your knee room.

This may sound like a silly question, but would that essentially mean that the mortise would be open on the top and bottom right? Kinda like a large dado (except it’s not running with the grain)? Again, I know it’s a strange question, but I’ve only ever done a traditional M&T and this seems a bit different. 

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I picture a standard mortise and tenon.  Example:  If both your stretchers and top support were 3" tall and your stretcher was 1" wide, I would use something like a 2" by 1/2" by 1" deep tenon centered on the end of the stretcher.  Located so that the top of the stretcher was flush with the top of the support piece.  To answer directly - that would place the top of the mortise 1/2" below the tops of your members.  Sorry I don't have a photo, I used dominoes on my table.  Hope that helps.

BTW,  That's a hefty mortise to cut.  Assuming you would be using a router for the mortises, I recommend a spiral upcut router bit - a little pricey but worth it.

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What size dominos did you use on yours and were your stretchers that large?

i definitely have some hefty mortises to cut and do plan to use a spiral upcut bit, but also have a domino. Didn’t expect the dominos to be enough for this though and was expecting to cut these out

Your description makes sense by the way. I wasn’t thinking entirely clearly last evening and was somehow picturing a 3” x3” stretcher with a 3” tenon as well. Not sure why my mind jumped there but it did. Thanks for the help

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I just noticed something.   You are right in that the grain is running the wrong direction.  

YOu have a domino - great.  See pics. I think I used the #10 dominos.  I posted the project journal on this site,  IF you cna't find it here are some domino pics.

Leg to top support.

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top support, legs and base.  Notice that the dbl dominos are for leg to top top support connection and the 3 single mortises are for the stretcher to top support connection. I think I used epoxy glue on those because of the grain direction.

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Not to get too deep into the weeds but, if you stretchers were wide enough you could use dbl dominoes ( maybe smaller ones oriented horizontally one above the other to connect the stretchers to the top support.  Kind like my connection of the legs to the base.  I will send you a private mesage.

 

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