The Making of a Trestle Base

All of the bases I make for my tables are custom. I work with my clients to craft the base that is right for their slab and the design of the piece. Styles and materials range widely, from rustic, hand-bent steel to sleek, polished aluminum, from brass to wood, from trestles to slabs, trapezoids, and more. I’ve just added some images of base styles to my portfolio. Check it out here:¬†

The most popular style of table base is a trestle:

The trestle base is the most popular style.


Trestle bases are the most popular because no matter where the diner sits at the completed table, her knees and legs never have to bang into table legs.  Trestles feature simple but elegant construction details: mortise and tenon with a single stretcher and wedges. No nails, no screws, just traditional construction. Here is the process of making a trestle base in walnut.


1. The first step is always the same: finding the right materials. For this base I used two massive beams of rough black walnut stock from my drying shed:

It all starts with rough stock.


2. Of course, I have to move the beams to the shop. These were pretty massive – I almost hate to cut them!

The beams have to be moved to the shop.


3. Once in the shop, the beams are cut to rough length:

Beams are cut to rough length.


4. Then, the beams are cut to rough width on the bandsaw:

The beams a re cut to rough width.


5. After rough cutting, the beams are cut specifically for the feet, post, and tops. Then, the pieces are tapered, sanded, and mortised, ready for assembly:

Beams are tapered and mortised.


6. The pieces are glued and clamped to dry.

The pieces are glued and clamped.


7. The base is hand finished with many coats of hand-rubbed linseed oil, and then attached to the table:

The perfect base for this table.

And that’s how you make a trestle base.