American Trestle Table


New User
With the pandemic, our two young kids made it difficult to use our dining table... it is constantly covered with legos projects, homework, and drawings. Cleaning it to actually eat on it was a daily struggle... we needed a second table to eat on. Our breakfast nook area had a small "kid table" that they only used for dumping stuff they didn't want to put away. We decided we needed another table there to actually eat at.

When I started looking at designs, I never saw any project plans for a 4 post table I liked. As soon as I saw a trestle table, I knew that was the right fit for our family and that small space. I also wanted bench seating... I can't make chairs yet anyway and I hoped it would force the kids to sit up and eat over their plates during meals. Sliding on and off the benches would match well with the trestle style table base so we wouldn't be banging knees on a traditional 4 post table. This is somewhat based on Chris Schwarz's American Trestle Table - link to article.

For benches, I copied the same basic trestle style to make them match the table. I was worried they might be a bit "tippy" but both the benches and the table are surprisingly solid. That being said, the slim and minimal bench design may not be the right design for all families. The benches were tested up to a few hundred pounds thanks to a few brave family members. The chalk-painted bases are all hard maple and the tops are cherry finished with danish oil and topped with many coats of oil-based poly. Most of the joinery is all nice tight bridle joints for the trestles.

If I had it to back and do again, I would have splurged and bought walnut instead of cherry, or at least I would have paid closer attention to matching the boards for the table top. One day I might just make a walnut top and re-use this one for a new desk build. However, I'm delighted I managed to get the top glassy smooth after a lot of frustration during the finishing process. But my favorite part is seeing my kids sitting up straight and not slouching at the dinner table!

1_legs.jpeg. 2_base.jpeg. 3_upside_down.jpeg. 4_underside.jpeg. 5_shiny.jpeg. 6_closer.jpeg. 7_grain.jpeg


Senior User
Amazing work. I have a trestle dining table on my to do list. I can only hope it comes out looking as nice.

Henry W

Senior User
Nicely done Daniel - straight-forward clean design, and nice implementation.

While I might have liked to have my kids sitting at a bench (does it really help avoid mess?), I avoid them for my own use. I just don't find it comfortable. Can probably last through the average family dinner though, but I generally prefer a chair.

Tim Sherwood

Corporate Member
That's a great looking set, Daniel. Your bridle joints are invisible. I like the cherry top . The difference in grain will mellow out as the cherry darkens with age.


Board of Directors, Vice President
Staff member
Corporate Member
Nice , simple and beautiful !


Corporate Member
It is beautiful! The cherry will just get better with time. I love walnut too, but with the white base cherry is perfect.

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