Western Red Cedar and Oak Trestle Table

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Project by calisdad posted 07-23-2014 02:07 PM 2561 views 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi. I thought it was time to show something I’ve done.

I started this table by milling a snow fallen California Black Oak. All the joints are mortise and tenon, with the bottom stretcher being a through tenon. The lower one being a plug hiding the only hardware, a lag bolt. My original top was oak as well but it warped so I scrapped it and milled a cedar from my lot. It’s taller than most at 39” with the top being 83” x 39” x 2 1/2”. The chairs are taller too with 3” of foam covered by a lizard patterned faux leather. We decided 3 chairs and a bench was more to our liking so that’s what I did.


-- Groveland, CA.

14 comments so far

View SteveW's profile


397 posts in 3633 days

#1 posted 07-23-2014 03:24 PM

That is a beautiful table, well done.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! SteveW

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30551 posts in 3112 days

#2 posted 07-23-2014 03:48 PM

Nice looking work. Great table.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View calisdad's profile


334 posts in 2284 days

#3 posted 07-23-2014 04:14 PM

Thanks guys. Looks like I could have done some more dusting before taking the pics.

Forgot to mention the finish is just a natural Minwax stain and satin polyurethane. Only having a small compressor I had a hard time keeping a wet edge on the top.

-- Groveland, CA.

View Mr M's Woodshop's profile

Mr M's Woodshop

426 posts in 3842 days

#4 posted 07-23-2014 04:22 PM

Great table. I don’t think “solid” would be an adequate description! I’ve currently got a dining room table on order (from my son!), so I am carefully reviewing posts with good looking tables like this one.

How did you cut the curves on the top corners? That would have been a hefty cut for a jig saw, methinks.

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1107 posts in 4582 days

#5 posted 07-23-2014 05:43 PM


-- Max the "night janitor" at

View ralbuck's profile


6542 posts in 3041 days

#6 posted 07-23-2014 06:13 PM

An extremely well made and designed set!

ANYONE would be very proud of it!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View calisdad's profile


334 posts in 2284 days

#7 posted 07-23-2014 07:36 PM

Henry I had to think about it. I have a hand held band saw that I don’t use much but sure comes in handy when I need it. I didn’t want just a radius so I used a thin rip of wood to come up with a pattern. As far as solid its the only piece of furniture that doesn’t get moved occasionally. The top just sits there with wood stops that keep it from shifting.

Thanks for the compliments.

-- Groveland, CA.

View Mean_Dean's profile


7041 posts in 3922 days

#8 posted 07-24-2014 12:06 AM

Great looking dining table! That base sure looks solid!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View OttoH's profile


891 posts in 3784 days

#9 posted 07-24-2014 12:17 AM

Beautiful work, I am sure it will be an heirloom.

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4078 days

#10 posted 07-24-2014 12:26 AM

to bad the oak warped, but the cedar looks so much more inviting, all of the joinery is spot on and really makes the table, you should be might proud to have this piece in your home, it has showcased your abilities really well, very nice project

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View calisdad's profile


334 posts in 2284 days

#11 posted 07-24-2014 12:54 AM

Thanks. Black Oak can be really unstable. Commercial operations lost almost 20% so they!

just stopped trying. I didn’t have enough 2x so I tried using 1x with a 2x border. I made the mistake of using slats on the underside as insurance to hold it together. We have 0% humidity here in the summer and while the planks shrank the slats kept their length thus the warp. Cedar is a joy to work with. Very stable and pretty to boot.

Here are the chairs before upholstery:


-- Groveland, CA.

View hotncold's profile


788 posts in 2319 days

#12 posted 07-24-2014 02:39 AM

Gorgeous does not do it justice! Fantastic. You should be very proud!

-- Dennie - Tennessee

View matts_dad's profile


63 posts in 3434 days

#13 posted 07-24-2014 06:45 PM

Good job – both from the design and the construction perspective.

Cedar is obviously somewhat soft, but I am not familiar with Black Oak. From what others have said here, it tends to move (expansion/contraction). It would be interesting to hear your feedback several months from now. Has Black Oak movement caused any problems, or has the cedar scarred up too easily ? Would you do anything different a second time around? Perhaps an epoxy coated top?

You obviously pay close attention in your woodworking in order to produce such a nice piece. Therefore, I for one would be rather interested in your thoughts, in looking back at your experience with this piece. I always enjoy learning from folks who can produce work as well done as yours.

-- Barry

View calisdad's profile


334 posts in 2284 days

#14 posted 07-24-2014 10:01 PM

Thanks for the thoughtful reply Barry.

From what I understand the bacteria that break down the cells are why Black Oak is so unstable. The thicker pieces I milled were more stable. I was told to cover the slabs with a generous layer of sawdust between the stickers when drying and I think that’s the way to go. It slows the process. The legs on my table started out as 4×8’s and they don’t move at all that I can tell. I must have cut these 6 years ago. I wish I had the oak pics I took during construction but I lost them due to a computer issue.

The cedar top I cut 2 years ago. Yes, it is soft. I have to be careful with it but in a residence I wouldn’t use epoxy. It does have an impression or 2 but I’m OK with it. It will add character as it ages. I was a bit surprised the bench faded as it gets afternoon sun and was as dark as the table.


-- Groveland, CA.

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