Bottom stretcher needed in this design?

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Forum topic by jimmyhopps posted 01-26-2015 12:58 AM 1512 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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217 posts in 1796 days

01-26-2015 12:58 AM

I’m building the table in the attached FWW picture. There are 2 beefy stretchers at the top, and one smaller one at the bottom.

Do you all think the bottom one is needed in this picture? hard for me to beleive that 2 stretchers that are wedged tenons will not be enough strength.

I am leaning against it so as to avoid food bumping, but don’t want to make the table unstable. FWIW, my top stretcher will be 1” taller (6” total) than the magazine design, and my table top is 2” thick.


Edited to add photo

13 replies so far

View HerbC's profile


1566 posts in 2276 days

#1 posted 01-26-2015 01:17 AM

I must be going blind, I can’t see the attachment…


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Pezking7p's profile


3097 posts in 1069 days

#2 posted 01-26-2015 01:39 AM

The table will certainly be much stronger with the stretcher. Will the table tear itself apart? No. But the mortises on the top stretchers may come loose while moving the table around when they wouldn’t otherwise do so.

Just my opinion, but I like to put my feet on the lower stretcher. I would build it per the drawing, but im sure its fine without it.

-- -Dan

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2533 posts in 1674 days

#3 posted 01-26-2015 01:42 AM

You might consider raising the lower stretcher 12-16”.

-- Art

View alittleoff's profile


288 posts in 694 days

#4 posted 01-26-2015 03:49 AM

I’m not an expert by any means but I think I would look at making one that’s maybe 3/4” thick and round the edges to help with the foot problem. Another thing would be to use maybe a brace from the top down a few inches on the ends of the table. It would help a little, as long as you keep it out of the way of knees. That’s just an idea though, probably be alright without it. If I was building it for myself I wouldn’t worry about it.

View Loren's profile


8157 posts in 3065 days

#5 posted 01-26-2015 04:31 AM

I think you could skip it. You could pull a pair of
“flying buttresses” off the legs to triangulate support.

It could look cool too. I think it would work just
as well as the lower stretcher.

View bigblockyeti's profile


3569 posts in 1138 days

#6 posted 01-26-2015 04:44 AM

I would think making the top stretcher an inch taller, or better yet two would be a good idea. Also make those mortise and tenon joints tight, adding a couple wedges hammered into saw kerfs in the tenons while the glue dries would help to keep them that way.

View TheFridge's profile


5672 posts in 903 days

#7 posted 01-26-2015 05:29 AM

Raise or do what he said is my vote.

I think you could skip it. You could pull a pair of
“flying buttresses” off the legs to triangulate support.

It could look cool too. I think it would work just
as well as the lower stretcher.

- Loren

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


930 posts in 1772 days

#8 posted 01-26-2015 07:21 AM

This is just the way someone else did it. No, you don’t really need it, but like someone else said, it’s stronger that way, and if you are making something you should make it to last.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

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2387 posts in 2964 days

#9 posted 01-26-2015 09:24 AM

If your concern is bottom stretcher being in the way of a persons foot, why not just raise the stretcher 10 or 15” off the floor. This way it is out of the way of the feet and it is still functioning as structure for the legs.

-- .

View devann's profile


2199 posts in 2110 days

#10 posted 01-26-2015 01:27 PM

If I wanted to eliminate the bottom stretcher on the table design you have posted. I would replace it with a pair of braces sandwiched between the beefy stretchers to the table legs.

Thanks goodness for the edit button. I agree with loren comment #5 above. Guess I should read all of the comments before making one.

Looking at the photos you have posted, The lower stretcher’s tenons are too close to the leg tenon, foot mortise. I would move it up if I choose to go with the lower stretcher. I would also cut the tenon to go all the way through the leg and use a small wedge through the tenon to tighten the the joint.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1768 days

#11 posted 01-26-2015 01:41 PM

You might consider raising the lower stretcher 12-16”.

Yep, that is what I would do. For the longevity of the piece I would have a lower stretcher of some kind. Furniture gets moved around, thrown on trucks hauled across the country, etc. That is where the most abuse occurs in moving. Solid wood furniture should outlast the builder.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 946 days

#12 posted 01-26-2015 02:33 PM

What they said.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View Patch2020's profile


97 posts in 658 days

#13 posted 01-26-2015 03:08 PM

I worked in my Dad’s table shop from the time I was 7 and I have seen all kinds of table designs. You can raise the bottom stretcher to about 12” and it will still work properly. I have tried the braces off the trestle to an upper stretcher and they don’t work as well as the stretcher at the bottom as far as keeping the table tight and wiggle free. The design I prefer is incorporating the table attachment to the top of the trestle and using one big stretcher at about 15” from the floor.

-- Patch2020, Tennessee

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