Modern Walnut Trestle Desk

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Project by KnotCurser posted 04-08-2012 10:44 AM 3543 views 6 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this desk for one of my pickiest customers – ME! :-)

As part of the rehab of my home office, I knew I had to get rid of an old, nasty particle board white desk that I had been using for the last 8 or 9 years.

I REALLY love the joinery used on the old-fashioned trestle tables. The pins that hold the entire structure together as well as the light look of the overall table just make for a fantastic piece of furniture. This is what I wanted for my desk – only with a “modern twist”.

The majority of the desktop is highly figured walnut with a branch crotch on one end. I loved the look of the bookmatched end so I incorporated it into the design. I ran two-inch strips of cherry down the front and the back basically to increase the depth. To finish off the end I laminated three strips of wood and bent it along the curve and then rounded it over with a belt sander.

The legs are solid cherry and the stretcher is walnut. I inlayed a maple dutchman into the top – mainly just for decoration. The double pegs on each end used to hold the stretcher together are white oak.

Now for the “modern twist” element – I also wanted to be able to hide all the routers and cables and such, so I designed a shelf that is supported entirely by the stretcher. It provides plenty of room and is totally hidden unless you bend down to look under the desk.

Overall dimensions are 70” long x 25” deep and 30” high.

I really love the way this desk looks now that it’s all finished and set up in my office – for the first time I’m actually using coasters for my drinks. ;-)

Oh yeah – the flooring you see in the first two pics I just got finished installing. Solid 5/8” thick bamboo – my back and knees are still aching!



-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

16 comments so far

View SPalm's profile


5249 posts in 3305 days

#1 posted 04-08-2012 11:16 AM

Very nice Bob. That is a sweet hunk-o-walnut.

Good to treat yourself sometimes. All kinds of little bits of love in this one. The shelf, the butterflies, the edge treatment…. You deserve it.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 2660 days

#2 posted 04-08-2012 12:28 PM

That swirling grain is going to be very distracting… Also it’s going to be hard to find paper clips that fall on the table top. I’ll be glad to swap you a nice trestle desk made with some clear maple. LOL You can be proud of your table, it’s beautiful. Just looking at your floor makes my knees hurt too.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Woodbridge's profile


3451 posts in 1841 days

#3 posted 04-08-2012 12:57 PM

The desk top is outstanding, it looks fabulous. You did a great job bringing out the best featutres of the walnut.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View jaykaypur's profile


3996 posts in 1831 days

#4 posted 04-08-2012 12:59 PM

Very nice job on this. Its beautiful all the way around.

Now you got me thinking!!!!

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Roger's profile


19714 posts in 2227 days

#5 posted 04-08-2012 01:21 PM

mighty fine bookmatched top. Wow!

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View gbvinc's profile


629 posts in 3370 days

#6 posted 04-08-2012 02:05 PM

Very nice!

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3000 days

#7 posted 04-08-2012 03:08 PM

cool table very nice job,it looks great.

-- Custom furniture

View Pete Jansen's profile

Pete Jansen

250 posts in 2344 days

#8 posted 04-08-2012 03:56 PM

Nice job on the desk. Beautiful.

-- Lovin' sawdust in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 1921 days

#9 posted 04-08-2012 07:14 PM

Really sweet Bob. I thought you said you didn’t know how to do this stuff! Couldn’t do better myself. But BTW, where’s the little scroll saw detail that shows what you’re a true master of?

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 2979 days

#10 posted 04-08-2012 09:12 PM

Fantastic looking wood, well done on the project

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View KnotCurser's profile


1995 posts in 2492 days

#11 posted 04-08-2012 09:53 PM

Thank you all for the great compliments!

Gene, every once in a while I have to venture out from my comfort zone and try something tricky. This is, I believe, my eight piece of larger furniture I have posted but you are correct – the vast majority are scrollworks. You also tend to stick to what you love doing. ;-)

I will be designing and building a drafting table and an apothecary cabinet for my office in the near future, so the venturing isn’t done yet! :-)


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View scrollingmom's profile


1086 posts in 1887 days

#12 posted 04-08-2012 10:40 PM

Nice job, you should be very proud of yourself and I can’t wait to see the other furniture you build to go with the desk.

Love the floor and know exactly what you mean about your back and knees hurting, we installed Brazilin Cherry on the floor and OMG did that take forever and is not the kind of wood we would install again. It was so hard that there was actual pieces we chucked out the door because we could not get the nails to penetrate the wood. I stopped telling my husband that this one looks pretty because they seemed to be the hardest. Enjoy the floor.

-- Kelly, Allen,KS

View spunwood's profile


1198 posts in 2259 days

#13 posted 04-09-2012 02:01 AM

Wow, this looks great. What finish did you use?

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View KnotCurser's profile


1995 posts in 2492 days

#14 posted 04-09-2012 02:07 AM


I used two coats of wipe on poly to seal everything and then “bowling alley” style paste wax on the top to give it a very deep, shiny and hard finish.


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View Dusty56's profile


11804 posts in 3111 days

#15 posted 04-09-2012 02:27 AM

That’s one of the nicest crotches I’ve ever seen !
Awesome bookmatch and such a deep looking finish on it really brings out the figure : )
The rest of the features are excellent as well …looking forward to the upcoming office projects.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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