Two Cherries Trestle Table & Chairs

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Project by JayG46 posted 10-28-2015 11:52 AM 4027 views 18 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This set had been rolling around in my head for about a year before I started building it. I knew I wanted to build a trestle table for our dining area and chairs that were simple and elegant.

I chose American black cherry and Jatoba, commonly known as Brazilian cherry. The table top is cherry along with the spindles on the chair and the rest is Jatoba.

I was inspired by Thomas Moser's Eastward chair but went with an even more elemental version of it. Just four components – The crest rail, spindles, seat and legs. No metal, not much glue (except for the bent laminated crest rail) but the wedged through tenons promise to make a strong chair that will be sat in for a very long time.
The trestle table had been the subject of many sketches but the latest issue of Fine Woodworking arrived just in time to give me a nudge in the right direction. The angles of Eben Blaney's trestles grabbed me and I knew I needed to incorporate that concept into my design.

Lastly, we had a dated old light fixture that we inherited from the previous owners of our house that we needed to replace. I had a few ideas for a ceiling-mounted light that incorporated some LED lights and aluminum accents. There were many iterations but in the end I went with this asymmetrical one incorporating some natural bark inclusions in a really pretty piece of cherry I had at the shop. The small LEDs add just the right amount of light and the fixture in general definitely punctuates the scene.

-- Jay Gargiulo, Naples, FL "Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things."- Miyamoto Musashi

23 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30576 posts in 3254 days

#1 posted 10-28-2015 12:00 PM

Very nice work sir

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3782 days

#2 posted 10-28-2015 12:08 PM

This is an interesting design. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View swirt's profile


5645 posts in 3888 days

#3 posted 10-28-2015 12:53 PM

JayG46 I really like what you have done with this. It is very attractive. Simple yet elegant.

It seems narrower than a lot of tables, Is that just an illusion of the photo?

How is it for comfort? (can you pull all the way in when seated, do you bang your feet or knees when sitting).

-- Galootish log blog,

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3259 days

#4 posted 10-28-2015 01:35 PM

looks nice

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3514 days

#5 posted 10-28-2015 01:58 PM

I am digging the light fixture too. Very cool stuff.

View bearkatwood's profile


1830 posts in 1927 days

#6 posted 10-28-2015 02:08 PM

Thanks for showing your work, looks great. Christopher Schwarz had one like it in is blog.
Contouring the seat makes it look more comfortable. I like the lighting as well. Thanks,

-- Brian Noel

View buck_cpa's profile


150 posts in 2803 days

#7 posted 10-28-2015 03:32 PM

very cool – can you share a few close ups of the chairs? I’d like to see the undercarriage.

View BikerDad's profile


347 posts in 4517 days

#8 posted 10-28-2015 06:48 PM

VERY nice designs, definitely elemental, but not in the usual brutalist way of elemental designs these days. It’s hard to tell from the pics, are the chair back spindles square or round? Methinks I would probably have made the top with Jatoba also, tops take a lot of abuse, and American cherry is much softer than it’s Brazilian cousin.

-- I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park! Grace & Peace.

View Garret D., Rock Run's profile

Garret D., Rock Run

72 posts in 2712 days

#9 posted 10-28-2015 09:20 PM

I like the design work. Very nice.

View JayG46's profile


139 posts in 2774 days

#10 posted 10-28-2015 09:39 PM

Thanks for the comments, folks.

Swirt – The table is fairly narrow because the space that it fits into necessitated that. It’s 36” at its widest and 33 at the narrowest and it looked much wider before I cut the angles off of it. The ends are very roomy, you can pull all the way in, no problem. It is a little tight around the trestles and pushing the chairs all the way in will bump into the base. A larger top or slight reconfiguration of the base would address this issue but I had trouble trying to figure out the exact dimensions with the compound angle splays of both the table and chairs.

Bearkatwood – I did see the Schwarz post and that made me feel more comfortable about going with just legs and no undercarriage.

BikerDad – I had originally planned to use jatoba for the top but it is so heavy that I don’t think I could have moved it around the shop by myself. The color and grain pattern of cherry really appeals to me and if it takes on some dents and dings over the years, I’m okay with that.

The spindles are round at the ends where they fit into the crest rail and seat but square with 1/4” roundovers in the middle – sort of a softened square. I actually used a 3/8” roundover bit on .75” stock to make the round tenons and it worked really well.

buck_cpa – There isn’t much of an undercarriage to speak of. The holes in the seat are 1 1/4” – the rear ones are angled back at 18 degrees and out at 12. The fronts are angled forward at 10 degrees and out at 12. I’ve experimented with a few different combinations and those feel right for a dining chair. Here are a few more pictures. The one on the saw table shows the bottom of the seat without the legs installed.

-- Jay Gargiulo, Naples, FL "Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things."- Miyamoto Musashi

View djg's profile


160 posts in 3078 days

#11 posted 10-28-2015 09:44 PM

very nice. I have always be drawn to this kind of elemental design. The chairs are a good representation of the welsh stick chairs. 4 legs, a seat and a back with crest. these stick chairs are actually quite strong without any undercarriage. However there is a lot more stress placed on the leg tenons. I did my full scale mock up with a pine seat and hardwood legs…the seat flexes quite a bit when one sits on it. Reading more lead me to the welsh stick chairs which I think typically used hardwood for the seat and the seat was thick. When I designed my chairs I still followed the old methods. the seat was about 10% moisture content. the chair leg tenons and spindle tenons were super dried in a sand kiln for several days before final dimensioning to 1”. I used wedges in the tenons also. The hardwood seat does not flex at all and the chairs are holding up nicely without an undercarriage. its been over a year now and the legs are still nice and tight in the seat mortises. I hope your experience is the same. i consulted with a windsor chair builder on my project…he was a little uneasy about the lack of undercarriage on the chair. Love the table. has a nakashima flair to it.

-- DJG

View widdle's profile


2073 posts in 3915 days

#12 posted 10-28-2015 10:25 PM

Nice Work…

View drewpy's profile


1046 posts in 2273 days

#13 posted 10-28-2015 10:56 PM

Nice work and it looks great.

-- Drew -- "The greatest wealth is health".

View Woodbridge's profile


3724 posts in 3334 days

#14 posted 10-28-2015 11:29 PM

Beautiful dining set. I especially like the the design and construction of the chairs.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View JayG46's profile


139 posts in 2774 days

#15 posted 10-28-2015 11:32 PM


Nice work on the stick chairs. Really like the tapered legs and black finish. The table design is cool too, a solid traditional look. Glad to hear that they are holding up well for you.

I also made a prototype that was similar but used all cypress. I use thicker stocker for the seats – about 1.75” but beveled the edges to make it appear thinner. One cool thing is that if you bevel the blank when it is square and cut curves in it, the apparent thickness will taper along those curves.

I haven’t felt the flexing you described in the seat but the spindles in the prototype are VERY flexible to the point that I’m worried they might break off and stab me in the kidneys :)

-- Jay Gargiulo, Naples, FL "Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things."- Miyamoto Musashi

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