We’re Building A Great Big Dining Table, Entirely by Hand… In a Tiny Space!
The weekly videos will kick off on 11th Feb, and take you step-by-step through the build of this traditional, sizable trestle table (Watch the intro above).
In our latest series, we’re returning to tradition.
Not only in the design of the table, but also in the approach.
We’re building in a very restricted workspace this time, so it seemed about right to build the biggest piece of furniture we’ve done to date!
That’s not just because I like to struggle, it’s to make the point that when you’re working solely with hand tools, just how little space you actually need.
We bring the tools to the work. There’s no need to allow for feeding things in and out.
The Trestle Table Design
The trestle table is a very old design.
It depends on stout trestles being able to bear the load of the top. These are connected here with a central rail, which makes it an ideal design if you’re looking for something to knock-down and transport.
The rail is locked in place with wedges through the tusk tenons, and can simple knock out again to dismantle.
Arranging the base in this way makes it a great choice as a dining table, as there’s plenty of clearance for legs. And it’s also a very easy design to adapt to suit different dimensions and spaces.
Whilst the layout is traditional, I did opt to give it a modern crispness by avoiding anything overly ornate.
Each trestle is like an I-beam, but every face of the components has been selectively tapered to give subtle facets, and lightness towards the top.
The Hand Tools
We’ve gone back to basics with the tool kit, and built the entire piece start to finish by hand.
There’s no reason you couldn’t opt to prep on machines. But it is a great build to get in some planing practice, and the videos go through step by step the specific approach for doing it the hand tool way.
It’s a big build and since there’s nothing fancy involved (no specialist planes or anything like that), it seems worth noting that sharp tools are the key. A well set plane and keeping a sharp edge on your chisels is all that’s really important.
The tool kit itself can be incredibly minimal:
- The usual marking & measuring tools.
- Saws. A hardpoint saw was used for all the cuts throughout.
- Bench Planes. A jack and optionally a jointer & smoother. (Different irons are required for roughing & smoothing).
- Chisels. Strong bevel edge of morticing, plus one sharpened for paring.
- Mallet | Drill (I opted for electric) | Shooting board | Clamps
Building the trestle table is a workout of hand tool fundamentals.
We go through how to prep these large boards by hand efficiently. And that includes everything from understanding twist to edge jointing for the perfect glue line.
The top boards are also held together with loose tenons, and finished off with end caps and a tapered underside.
Hefty mortice and tenons and used for the trestles and centre rail. There’s some variation from usual as we tackle joining in to the angled faces, locking the joints with wedges, and perfecting those extremely long tusk tenons of the rail that have a wedge morticed through and tenon cheeks that are on show.
There’s a lot covered in this build, in fact it looks set to be one of the longest series we’ve produced.
See here for more details of what you’ll find in each of the videos.
We’re looking at breaking it in to ten chapters in total.
Chapter One will be live on Thursday 11th February.
Followed by a new video each week to stream and/ or download.
A cutting list and full PDF plans will also be included.
For further details on what’s covered in each of the videos, have a look here.
Not familiar with our Videos?
We make online courses that provide tuition on hand tool woodworking.
The detailed videos can be both streamed and downloaded.
As a professional hand tool woodworker, we aim to get you feeling inspired to build, and equipped with the knowledge to tackle projects entirely by hand.