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Will this table stand forever?

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Forum topic by Travis posted 10-11-2019 07:03 AM 632 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Travis

386 posts in 404 days


10-11-2019 07:03 AM

Hello again all,

I appreciate those who helped me locate the FWW article a few days ago. I’ve continued to evaluate design options for my upcoming trestle table and I did a mock-up tonight. I’m not an engineer, I’ve never designed a table, I’m still a novice woodworker; I would love some feedback on this design. If you followed my previous posts/questions, then you know I had some legit plans I was going to follow, then realized those plans might not translate well to my desired dimensions, so I looked for inspiration elsewhere and am making my own plans. I don’t want this thing to fall over or be weak, etc. So those of you more experienced, how structurally sound would this table be…?

Overall dimensions are 7’ x 40” x 30” (l x w x h). All the wood is ash, top is 6/4. I’m doing the double stretchers because I’ve read a single stretcher is not great for widths over 36”. The table overhangs the bases by almost 1 foot on each end. The cleats leave 2” on either side unsupported.

What do you think? My main concern is structural integrity and stability.

Thanks!

Image link for more detail here

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.


20 replies so far

View TravisH's profile

TravisH

704 posts in 2573 days


#1 posted 10-11-2019 12:02 PM

I see no issues at first glance in regards to construction and strength. Design will be more about the individual. The post/stretcher/trestle assembly is a little too beefy for my taste but trestle/farmhouse tables have a broad brush in regards to build design. Some built are something you would envision in a Viking hall soaked with mead and others very refined with curved and eased edges.

I honestly think that you could do the one post/stretcher in a 40 inch wide table also but likely would need to think about the construction. Very possible I would end up with a table with issues as just haven’t built enough of them. Several tables featured in the following link.

https://www.timothyclark.com/tables.html

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1527 posts in 3487 days


#2 posted 10-11-2019 12:09 PM

Travis, I have not built a trestle table before, and your other thread may have addressed it. Given the greater width and weight of the top, I’m questioning the 30” foot under a 40” top and it may be that previous craftsman have worked it out and it’s not an issue.

The one strong recommendation that I would make and am qualified to advise would be the stretcher tenons. Unless you know you’ll never need to move it, I would do a wedged through tenon: on the ends so that you can knock the wedge out with a mallet and dissasemble the table if ever needed in the future.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View RRBOU's profile

RRBOU

231 posts in 2930 days


#3 posted 10-11-2019 12:25 PM

I have built a few tables of similar design in the past. I would not do a double stretcher. Construction and finishing for a novice as you describe your self would be very frustrating. Challenging one’s skills is how you improve your skill level, attainable results is how one continues to improve and continue to astrive. In my opinion you have picked a design that will produce these results, minus the double strecher. I would add bread boards in the ends of the table if you are going to use over 4” wide material to glue up the top. This would be an attainable skill improvement, the research and implementation would most definitely progress you in the right direction.

-- If guns cause crime all of mine are defective Randy

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

997 posts in 1740 days


#4 posted 10-11-2019 02:26 PM

It should stand forever. I do like the suggestion above about using only one stretcher and making it with a though tenon. The table will be large and heavy and you will likely want to knock it down at some point. Also, when it comes time to finish, the double stretcher will be apita. I see nothing wrong with the double wide post, however. Just make it one piece instead of two.

You must provide some pictures when it’s done.

View Travis's profile

Travis

386 posts in 404 days


#5 posted 10-11-2019 03:12 PM



I see no issues at first glance in regards to construction and strength. Design will be more about the individual. The post/stretcher/trestle assembly is a little too beefy for my taste but trestle/farmhouse tables have a broad brush in regards to build design. Some built are something you would envision in a Viking hall soaked with mead and others very refined with curved and eased edges.

I honestly think that you could do the one post/stretcher in a 40 inch wide table also but likely would need to think about the construction. Very possible I would end up with a table with issues as just haven t built enough of them. Several tables featured in the following link.

https://www.timothyclark.com/tables.html

- TravisH

Those are some good looking tables! I have seen many examples of wider tables with a single stretcher, so I’m sure it’s possible to do so. My hang up is the research indicating it shouldn’t be done, and I don’t know the engineering “rules” of how to make it work vs not work.

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View Travis's profile

Travis

386 posts in 404 days


#6 posted 10-11-2019 03:17 PM



Travis, I have not built a trestle table before, and your other thread may have addressed it. Given the greater width and weight of the top, I m questioning the 30” foot under a 40” top and it may be that previous craftsman have worked it out and it s not an issue.

The one strong recommendation that I would make and am qualified to advise would be the stretcher tenons. Unless you know you ll never need to move it, I would do a wedged through tenon: on the ends so that you can knock the wedge out with a mallet and dissasemble the table if ever needed in the future.

- ChefHDAN

Thanks for the feedback ChefHDAN. I don’t know about the 30” base either. I picked that number after looking at other plans/recommendations and extrapolating that the base was often about 10” less than the top. Whether this will fall over or not….?

I like the idea of keyed tenons. My original plan (with the single stretcher) was to use that joinery. I switched to the permanent M&T when considering a double stretcher design as it just didn’t seem to work anymore: too crowded for a horizontal key, too thin stock for a vertical key.

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View Travis's profile

Travis

386 posts in 404 days


#7 posted 10-11-2019 03:21 PM



I have built a few tables of similar design in the past. I would not do a double stretcher. Construction and finishing for a novice as you describe your self would be very frustrating. Challenging one s skills is how you improve your skill level, attainable results is how one continues to improve and continue to astrive. In my opinion you have picked a design that will produce these results, minus the double strecher. I would add bread boards in the ends of the table if you are going to use over 4” wide material to glue up the top. This would be an attainable skill improvement, the research and implementation would most definitely progress you in the right direction.

- RRBOU

I agree the finishing will be challenging and likely curse inducing. What makes the construction so difficult? Isn’t it just doing one thing twice instead of once?

I’ve gone back and forth on the breadboard ends many times. I know they will help with flatness, but honestly that intimidates me more than the stretchers!

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View Travis's profile

Travis

386 posts in 404 days


#8 posted 10-11-2019 03:22 PM



It should stand forever. I do like the suggestion above about using only one stretcher and making it with a though tenon. The table will be large and heavy and you will likely want to knock it down at some point. Also, when it comes time to finish, the double stretcher will be apita. I see nothing wrong with the double wide post, however. Just make it one piece instead of two.

You must provide some pictures when it s done.

- bilyo

Thanks bilyo! I’ve been terrible at posting my projects. I will definitely update with pictures when done.

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View Pat3's profile

Pat3

132 posts in 2517 days


#9 posted 10-11-2019 03:59 PM

I made a trestle table linked below. The joinery is rock solid, wedged thru m&t and drawbored, it is bomb proof and will definitely last forever. I scaled down the dimensions in my table to fit the intended space. But you could definitely increase the dimensions to fit your size. Pretty easy and straightforward build.

https://www.lumberjocks.com/projects/399105

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117955 posts in 4215 days


#10 posted 10-11-2019 04:17 PM

Design-wise it shouldn’t have a problem standing for its life span, but thats all subject to the joinery you use.

This looks close to the design that Norm Abram made a number of years ago.

https://www.thisoldhouse.com/watch/trestle-table-new-yankee-workshop

https://www.artisticwoodstudio.com/videos

-- https://www.artisticwoodstudio.com/videos

View RRBOU's profile

RRBOU

231 posts in 2930 days


#11 posted 10-11-2019 10:26 PM

The stretches have nothing to do with the table being tippy. This is determined by the feet design and the width in relation to the top width.

-- If guns cause crime all of mine are defective Randy

View clin's profile

clin

1083 posts in 1634 days


#12 posted 10-11-2019 11:13 PM

I agree, just a single stretcher. Normally the stretcher would have very little load on it. It mostly serves to keep the table from racking if pushed or pulled on from the ends. The tightness and size of the M&T joint will determine how well it does it’s job. Of course, as the table gets longer, the stretcher could bow if it were in compression. Such as lifting one end of the table and pushing (why would anyone do that?). So a bit thicker in proportion to the length of the table might be in order, but I see no reason to put in two stretchers other than aesthetics.

If you’ve confirmed that 10” of overhang is okay (10” wider top than feet), I’d stick with that. That’s all about not tipping the table when your drunk uncle puts all his weight on one edge. To some degree a wider table could have a larger overhang given that there is also more table weight countering the tipping. But unless you sharpen your pencil and compute the forces, you won’t know. I’d also argue that the overhang probably has something to do with keeping room for chairs and people legs. I see no reason that would need to be larger for a wider table.

I also like the thru-tenon and the ability to break the table down. With a wedge in that you can tighten it up if necessary.

-- Clin

View Tony_S's profile

Tony_S

1090 posts in 3721 days


#13 posted 10-11-2019 11:30 PM

You don’t need the double stretcher and uprights but I think it would look good. I like the design. If it was mine, I’d do keyed tenon’s as well….but it ain’t mine.
Don’t let anyone else redesign your table for you based strictly on aesthetics and ease of finishing. With properly done, clean joinery, the structural design is sound. If you like the design, build it and learn.

-- “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

View Travis's profile

Travis

386 posts in 404 days


#14 posted 10-12-2019 12:06 AM



I made a trestle table linked below. The joinery is rock solid, wedged thru m&t and drawbored, it is bomb proof and will definitely last forever. I scaled down the dimensions in my table to fit the intended space. But you could definitely increase the dimensions to fit your size. Pretty easy and straightforward build.

https://www.lumberjocks.com/projects/399105

- Pat3

That’s a lovely table Pat, I especially like the contrast between the legs and the top. Very sharp!

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View Travis's profile

Travis

386 posts in 404 days


#15 posted 10-12-2019 12:11 AM



If you ve confirmed that 10” of overhang is okay (10” wider top than feet), I d stick with that. That s all about not tipping the table when your drunk uncle puts all his weight on one edge. To some degree a wider table could have a larger overhang given that there is also more table weight countering the tipping. But unless you sharpen your pencil and compute the forces, you won t know. I d also argue that the overhang probably has something to do with keeping room for chairs and people legs. I see no reason that would need to be larger for a wider table.

I also like the thru-tenon and the ability to break the table down. With a wedge in that you can tighten it up if necessary.

- clin

Thanks Clin,
I suspect you’re right about the overhang, at least that lines up with what I’ve read. Though I wouldn’t know where to begin in calculating the actual forces.

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

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