Building a Trestle Table
Draw wedges make self-tightening joints
Synopsis: James Merritt Dunlap, who lives in Alaska, made a knockdown trestle table that has self-tightening, shallow-tapered, loose-wedged tenons, good for enduring extreme humidity changes. Just slightly jarring the table brings the tenons further into the mortises and tightens the joints. Dunlap conditions the wood to predict movement, and glues up the tabletop. He explains how to make the apron assembly and join the trestle post and base. He uses a three-tenon slide-bolt connection and shows where it fits on the table, and then explains his self-tightening draw wedges. Exploded drawings clarify how this table fits together.
A trestle table is one of the earliest examples of knockdown furniture. But like other easy-to-move knockdowns, it tends to become loose and wobbly the longer it’s used and the more its wood moves due to seasonal humidity changes. So, when a client asked me to build a large, solid-black-cherry dining table that…