Trestle Bench

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Project by Devin posted 08-22-2009 09:32 AM 8091 views 32 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This trestle bench was a piece I built at a local college woodworking course. The course was four full days so I took the time off work and spent the entire week working on this bench. That week has got me wondering if I can somehow take a few months off and get to the inside passage school of woodworking. I absolutely loved getting up every morning knowing I had another full day of woodworking and learning ahead of me.

The basic form of the bench follows the instructor’s plan, we had the option of going with a wedged mortise or a wedged through dovetail, I chose the wedged dovetail. I took this course specifically to get instruction and practice on the through joinery. I spent the better part of one of the days working the mortises with a chisel. These are my first through mortises and I am quite happy with how they turned out.

After the four days was up, I still hadn’t decided on the final shaping. So I brought it home, created a sketchup model of it and spent some time playing with design options. I finally decided on what you see here, slight taper to the seat ends, quarter circle cut outs on the seats and the gables, I also added the 3/16” bead detail to the trestle (I had to buy a plunge beading router bit for that). Finally I decided to angle the trestle ends as well as rounding over the edges of it and the wedges.
As I started to sand the bench for finishing, I noticed that two ends of the seats were checking…I felt sick. Conveniently there was a Woodwhisperer guild meeting a couple days later, so I threw the question out at the meeting and was given a bunch of suggestions on how to deal with it. I ended up going with a bit of CA glue and sawdust, the cracks hardly show and I think they’ve stopped spreading. A big thanks to Marc and the rest of the guys online that night!

The bench is made of 8/4 Big Leaf Maple with Jatoba for the wedges, seat anchors and the four “pins” used to keep the seat slats aligned. For finishing this piece I planed or scraped all the flat surfaces and went straight to 220 grit for the final sanding. That seemed faster than going through 3 grits of sandpaper, and I certainly enjoyed it more. Finished with three coats of danish oil and two coats of water based poly. The bench is four feet long and about 16 inches tall.

thanks for looking…Devin.

-- If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

26 comments so far

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 3870 days

#1 posted 08-22-2009 11:14 AM

Hey Devin,
Nice design and solid construction…well done.

View hooky's profile


365 posts in 3827 days

#2 posted 08-22-2009 11:52 AM

That is one beutiful bench

I also loved my 6 month full time course at wood school and wish i could spend more time going

Thanks for showing


-- Happiness is a way of travel , not a destination (Roy Goodman)

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 4418 days

#3 posted 08-22-2009 12:08 PM

Nice job. That is a beautiful bench. Looks comfortable too!

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View kerflesss's profile


182 posts in 3876 days

#4 posted 08-22-2009 12:17 PM

Nice job especially with your simple details…very well done!!

View Walnut_Weasel's profile


360 posts in 3731 days

#5 posted 08-22-2009 02:23 PM

Fantastic work! Not overly detailed.

You have been able to take a woodworking class AND you have a woodworking guild to attend. I am jealous!! There is not anything woodworking related in my area!

-- James -

View simonGee's profile


86 posts in 3792 days

#6 posted 08-22-2009 02:41 PM

very nice job.

-- Simon, Illinois

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2823 posts in 4099 days

#7 posted 08-22-2009 03:51 PM

Looks great

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4181 days

#8 posted 08-22-2009 04:44 PM

Nice bench.

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4086 days

#9 posted 08-22-2009 04:49 PM

Nice clean bench Devin nice work

View Innovator's profile


3589 posts in 3922 days

#10 posted 08-22-2009 06:00 PM

Nice shape and design. The wedges make the piece stand out.

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4585 days

#11 posted 08-22-2009 06:19 PM

this is very nice…I love the extra personal touches you went with on this bench…and to build this while learning so much is even better…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View JuniorJoiner's profile


495 posts in 3948 days

#12 posted 08-22-2009 06:24 PM

I built a similar bench a few years ago for my woodworking lvl 3 course at camosun. sandra does have a nice design she encourages everyone to use.
i’m leaving for inside passage school in nine days, so it is kinda funny that our woodworking paths have been so similar. we should probably take the time to visit each others shops someday.
nice project.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View RobH's profile


465 posts in 4558 days

#13 posted 08-22-2009 06:36 PM

That is a really nice bench. Thanks for sharing, and keep up the good work.

-- -- Rob Hix, King George, VA

View Devin's profile


166 posts in 4037 days

#14 posted 08-22-2009 07:05 PM

Thanks for the comments everyone, with the move and building the new shop it had been way too long since I made some sawdust, feels great to be back at it.
James, I am lucky to have courses and a guild in Victoria, but in addition to that there is the Woodwhisperer guild, it’s an online guild that you might want to check out.
Junior, small world…you’re leaving for IP in nine days?! congrats, I’m very jealous…how long are you going for? Are you going to blog about it a bit here at LJs?

-- If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

View JuniorJoiner's profile


495 posts in 3948 days

#15 posted 08-22-2009 07:23 PM

going to try and do 2 years at IP, though i cannot confirm the second year yet.
I will try to post the smaller project as I complete them, if the school is not opposed to it.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

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