trestle table frame

Time for my wife to start her flowers indoors. Last year, she started them on top of a chest I want to haul out to the shop to finish. So I made a trestle table frame to take its place. Looking at this photo, it looks crazy-out-of-whack. I had checked it before I left the shop and those two top rails seemed to be in a plane. We’ll see when I go to put a top on it.

It’s ash, quartersawn. 2″ x 3 5/8″. I had a few lengths of them laying around, leftover from something, I can’t even remember what. I wimped out and made the mortises by boring and chopping. They’re 1/2″ wide, by the width of the stock –  3 5/8″. Here, I need to lean a little to my right when I bore this.

Seven 1/2″ holes per mortise.

Then chop ’em out. This is how I first learned to make mortises way back before I learned joinery. It works. I chose this method because this was dry, sawn stock. Not as reliable as the riven stock I usually use. It’s mostly clear and pretty straight grained, but still more character than I usually use. 

Making tenons was just as usual, saw the shoulders, split the cheeks. More paring than on riven stock. But nothing too dramatic.

Paring with a large 2″ framing chisel. This is the long stretcher that runs between the uprights.

Chamfers and lamb’s tongues are typical for this sort of work. Saw the stop.

I chop back toward the stop with a chisel, held bevel down.

Then drawknife the chamfer. Carefully with the sawn grain. Wiggle here & there.

This is the lamb’s tongue. The photo is completely foolish. If I shot cutting it, you wouldn’t see anything. Bevel down, scoop as you strike with the mallet. The chisel handle is tilted up high to begin with, then quickly comes down as you knock it forward. I like it when the lamb’s tongue comes out just proud of the chamfer.

Then drawbore it & wedge it. The drawboring is nothing new. I use two pins per joint. These pin holes were 5/16″ or so.

The mortises for the wedges – I started with a 9/16″ hole, then chopped it beyond the layout line towards the shoulder. (this makes sure the wedges bears on the upright, not on the inside of the mortise) – Then the outside end of the mortise is chopped at an angle. very slight. Eyeballed, not measured.

Then make extra-long wedges, drive them until they stop, then you know where to trim them. I chamfer all the ends of the wedges, as well as the protruding end of the stretcher tenons.

Because this table will see some dirt, water and other debris – I’m just going to put three 1 x 8s on it for the top. If it ever becomes a real table somewhere, I can always add a true top to it. The frame is about 4′ long, the top will be nearly 6′. I think the whole frame was somewhere in the vicinity of 10 hours. It looks it. I could have made a bit neater job of it, but it wasn’t necessary. I wanted to get it done quickly, yet still have it strong & functional.

trestle table done

Tough thing for me to photograph, I really am not set up for shooting large stuff…

For a plain Jane table, I semi-like this one. here’s a few views of it. Oak & pine, how can you go wrong?

Here’s the chamfer on the upright and the long rail:

the pine top, made of two boards that each taper some in width. Ship-lapped, or rabbeted to each other. Then nailed down to the frame.

and the end pieces, often called “breadboard” ends, but I don’t know what that really means. I don’t call them anything, some call them “clamps”


that’s it for now.

2 recent projects

I didn’t have a chance for photos yesterday at the shop. So little to add today. But I finished one of two wainscot chairs I have underway. This one is an amalgamation – the client had a poor photograph, so I had to cobble together several patterns, etc to come up with a chair. I prefer to copy an  existing artifact, but there you go.


I plan on getting some proper photographs of this and the next one soon.

Here’s the rear view of the chair


Also finished a trestle table recently, oak & pine. So I’ll really have to spread out to get some pictures.