On Sunday I borrowed a friend’s woodworking shop to produce a couple of trestles for a table. They sort of look like sawhorses, but they’re not. They’re intended for lighter duty than that. I still have to produce the top of the table, which will have two bars or cleats on the bottom to help lock the table and the trestle together.
These are based on a medieval design produced by the St. Thomas Guild, a medieval reconstruction group in the Netherlands. They are pretty modern, though. I’m trying to decide if I want to add in the fancy carving and tracery work to them. I know how to do that work, I just don’t know if it will be worth it in DIY shop pine.
Some things to think about —
- Adding a second board across the bottom for stability would help these trestles be less wobbly.
- Adding a wedged mortise to the top cross-board would also make them less wobbly
- Adding a cut-out to make the triangles more like a pair of legs would add stability, as well.
- The table-top will have to have two cleats or bars on them, to slot into spaces at the top of each trestle.
- Adding some pegs to the bottom of the table top; or to the top board, that slot into the table top, would also improve stability, generally.
There’s a lot of things to think about.
In general, though, I like this idea. The trestle table has some serious advantages for me, in that I can take the table up or down as needed, and have the flat surface or not as I need.
Additionally, in reviewing the St. Thomas Guild website, I see that I can design this table top to do many things that may help it be quite portable or adjustable.
My initial thinking resembles something like this — a kind of construction known as “frame and panel” (which I’d like to learn), with four types of members:
- Dark green outer frames, with one groove and three mortises.
- Internal ribs, with a tenon on each end and a groove on each side (purple)
- four panels (mottled blue) with a tongue carved all the way around them.
- Two internal frames, with three slots and a groove (light green)
- Four outer frames (yellow) with tenons on each end and a groove on one side.
The blue panels thus fit into the groove on each side. A quartet of hinges join the two inner frames to one another, so the table can fold flat and store more easily; or be arranged to provide a wide or narrow table as needed.
I may have to rebuild the trestles to accommodate the larger table surface. But my understanding is that panel and frame construction is fairly lightweight, and this might do quite well for my general needs.
Dimensions of the surface still need to be worked out.