Anybody have any experience with Chris Schwarz's "American trestle table"?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by Jeremymcon posted 11-26-2020 12:15 AM 695 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Jeremymcon's profile


419 posts in 1648 days

11-26-2020 12:15 AM

I’ve been wanting to build a dining table ever since we bought our house. I like the look and simplicity of Chris Schwarz’s American trestle table, but my wife thinks it’s a little too plain. I want to make it in solid cherry, and I might add a little curve to some of the parts, and some walnut pegs just to add some visual interest.

But the thing I’m more concerned about than the appearance is: is the trestle base annoying when sitting at the table? Is 12” of overhang enough on the ends to keep from constantly kicking the foot of the trestle?

If you made one (or something similar) I’d love to see your take on it!

10 replies so far

View drsurfrat's profile


379 posts in 155 days

#1 posted 11-26-2020 01:02 AM

Two of my projects are kinda trestle tables. The big (4’x10’) mahogany one has about 12” overhang. The cherry side table (72” x30”) was built to be a second/extra dining table to seat 6, and it only has an 8 inch overhang when’d extended. In both cases my feet naturally touch the base, but I just expect people to rest their feet on top. On the mahogany table I spaced them so that if everyone sat correctly, they would split the base positions – but who sits correctly at a big family meal? Flat top bases – rest your feet on it.

-- Mike (near Boston) ... Laziness is the mother of invention, necessity is the mother of exhaustion - me

View Robert's profile


4292 posts in 2449 days

#2 posted 11-26-2020 01:49 AM

The trestle table I built has 15” overhangs. You can sit comfortably with your feet on the ground – not on top of the base. I got that by simply sitting in a chair and taking some measurements, but there are also dimension charts for tables, chairs, etc. This also puts the trestle closer together, which puts more support toward the center of the top, reducing the tendency to sag.

Matter of taste, but I think the design is not very appealing. Not only the ridiculously short 12” but the stretcher is so high is looks awkward and out of place.

My suggestion is look at some more designs before you decide. A dining table is one of those things that will be with you a while, so you need to get it right. Google “trestle table”, select Images & you’ll get a good sampling of trestle designs to look at. Pinterest is another good source. I believe you’ll see what I’m saying is correct, most trestle tables have the stretcher at 1/3 or 1/2 way up from the floor.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Jeremymcon's profile


419 posts in 1648 days

#3 posted 11-26-2020 03:23 AM

Robert – I’ve looked a million designs, and I keep coming back to this one! The stretcher is high so people don’t bump their shins in it.

Drsurfrat – my table will be about the size of your small one. Maybe 78 inches and 30ish wide. I’m thinking with the narrow uprights and flat top feet of the American trestle design, even if 12” isn’t enough people can just straddle the upright and rest feet on the base.

View SMP's profile


3171 posts in 874 days

#4 posted 11-26-2020 04:20 AM

I kind of agree with your wife on it being plain. I think my next table will be a hayraker like Mike Pekovich’s design.

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)


6970 posts in 1542 days

#5 posted 11-26-2020 05:07 AM

Chris borrowed that from the Brothers, and for me anyhow it is an enduring design, with a beautiful simplicity.

“But during a recent day trip to the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, Ky., I sat at the tables there. They were indeed narrow, but that made them more intimate for conversation. They were lightweight, which allowed them to be moved with ease. And after 150 years of use, they were still rock-solid.”

From the piece you referenced.

-- Think safe, be safe

View bandit571's profile


27488 posts in 3651 days

#6 posted 11-26-2020 05:25 AM

May want to look at Ishitani Furniture site….has a Kigumi Trestle Table you might want to try out….or at least watch the youtube of him building the table…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View AlaskaGuy's profile


6339 posts in 3277 days

#7 posted 11-26-2020 05:44 AM

The first example here says 18 inches

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View SMP's profile


3171 posts in 874 days

#8 posted 11-26-2020 05:48 AM

Oh i see you were asking about the end overhang. I can tell you this much, most people in my family(and friends) if sitting at the ends would rest their feet on top of the trestle feet. Meaning that exact design in cherry would get pretty chewed up. Maybe rounding over the tops and a few coats of a good poly may help. But as it is in the picture those edges would get trashed.

View Jeremymcon's profile


419 posts in 1648 days

#9 posted 11-26-2020 02:09 PM

Hmm… I looked at the ishitani table. In my mind the base is awkward. The wide uprights d skinny feet. And I’m not doing live edge – my wife isn’t into it.

Hmm… I’ll have to maybe make a mock – up from cardboard or something. The space I have will accommodate a 78” table. If the trestle is even 15” from the ends, that leaves 48”, minus 3” for each upright, so 42” for 2 chairs. I think that’d be pretty tight.

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)


6970 posts in 1542 days

#10 posted 11-26-2020 07:49 PM

Hmm… I ll have to maybe make a mock – up from cardboard or something.

- Jeremymcon

If you have anything of an outdoor entertainment area I would suggest PT pine, or for a better looking model White Oak. Of course originality of your entertainment eating areas would be gone, but you would end up with a 2fer. That Shaker table just plain works, looks great, and kids will have a hard time denting it. With it’s wide feet, and stance it’s solid as a rock.

-- Think safe, be safe

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics