Outdoor Trestle Table - my first furniture commission

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Project by jakub76 posted 06-16-2013 08:58 AM 4385 views 26 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s an outdoor trestle table made from reclaimed Spotted Gum and Blackbutt 2×4’s, photo 6 shows the stock in my car.

I have an agency client (for my real job) that needed an outdoor table and a team building exercise. I organised the day and sourced some recycled timber…then the table saw broke before I had a chance to do any work. Argh! It was a real adventure coming up with different workflows and getting back to hand tools.

I prepared the top and made the trestle parts as rectangular blanks. Eventually my clients came, 9 of them spent half a day designing and cutting the trestle profile, cutting and fitting the final few mortises and tenons, and general planing and smoothing. It was high-fives all round when we put the table together at the end of the day for a dry fit. It took me another couple of days to smooth and finish the piece.

I designed the table after reading a bunch of articles online and in Fine Woodworking magazine. It’s 2200mm x 975mm x 740mm high. It breaks down to the basic pieces being the two trestles, stretcher, table top and the two small wedges that hold it all together. I inlaid my client’s logo in Maple into the stretcher.

The trestles use chunky mortise and tenon joints, the stretcher is a through tenon with two angled through mortises for the wedges. The table top uses breadboard ends, I used 4mm spacers between each slat tenon to keep things consistent. There are cleats screwed and glued to the underside of the top that position the trestle legs. Finally four bolts go through the cleats and trestle legs to hold the top down securely.

I re-enforced the short grain at the feet with a 1” oak dowel that runs around 150mm up into each foot. The bottom of the feet have a coating of epoxy to stop water take-up, the rest of the glue joints use Titebond III. The finish is two coats of Feast Watson, ‘Jarra’ coloured Outdoor Furniture Oil.

I enjoyed this project immensely. It was very satisfying to overcome the equipment obstacles, to introduce 9 new people to the joys of woodworking and to raise $500 for our community Men’s Shed.

12 comments so far

View aussiedave's profile


3109 posts in 917 days

#1 posted 06-16-2013 11:03 AM

A great looking trestle table….it came up well from the reclaimed stock…...well done…

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View kizerpea's profile


746 posts in 1460 days

#2 posted 06-16-2013 11:43 AM

Great project!


View workerinwood's profile


2716 posts in 2160 days

#3 posted 06-16-2013 01:13 PM

Very nice!! Creative design and great build.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2534 posts in 2684 days

#4 posted 06-16-2013 03:31 PM

Beautiful Table! Congratulations on a job very well done.

-- Dennis Zongker

View Tdazzo's profile


56 posts in 1942 days

#5 posted 06-16-2013 04:08 PM

That is absolutely beautiful. Great work, especially considering the challenges you faced. It’s always great to see old, beat-up looking lumber transform once again into something gorgeous and useful. Speaking of which, a fellow woodworker from my local club has started a blog called You should take a look; they’ve got some great stuff there too.

Thanks for sharing, great job!

-- "If you can't do something smart, do something right." -- Sheppard Book

View DocSavage45's profile


6712 posts in 1935 days

#6 posted 06-16-2013 05:19 PM

Nice Piece! Looks like the team and you worked well together. Not too shabby for a first commission! LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View blackcherry's profile


3251 posts in 2916 days

#7 posted 06-16-2013 06:13 PM

Nice work on this beautiful build love the natural beauty of the reclaim timber, must also add great work on photos for your post very nice indeed…BC

View Gary's profile


46 posts in 1355 days

#8 posted 06-16-2013 07:40 PM

Ouch! Condolences to your jointer/planer.

Great work!


The darkest hour in any man’s life is when he sits down to plan how to get money without earning it. — Horace Greely

-- Cheers -- g

View tatertot's profile


5 posts in 1297 days

#9 posted 06-17-2013 04:38 AM

Very nice! I’ll have to try something like this someday.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

8558 posts in 3145 days

#10 posted 06-17-2013 06:04 AM

Super COOL table!

Good and sturdy…

Great design!

Thank you!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View watermark's profile


470 posts in 1035 days

#11 posted 06-18-2013 07:51 AM

Nice work mate! She’s a real beauty.

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb

View joseph000's profile


346 posts in 1119 days

#12 posted 07-04-2013 08:47 AM

Really great piece.Good work.A trestle table is a big investment that you can use in so many different ways.You can find a wide range of trestle tables nowadays ranging in several colors, sizes, and styles, and they are some of the most affordable pieces of furniture on the market.

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