Build an attractive trestle table for about $100.00, in an hour and a half, using common materials, and minimum number of tools. It is suitable for dining or as a work table. It can can be set up or taken apart in a minute or two, using no tools, and stores compactly.
There are several holes to drill, but absolute precision isn't necessary, and a hand-held drill will work fine.
This version is 30" high, 36" wide, and 80" long. It seats 6 comfortably, and 8 in a pinch. It is also easily re-sized. If you would like material dimensions for other finished sizes, just leave a comment or PM me. Comments and ratings are more than welcome.
For a similar shelving unit, click here.
For a similar platform bed, click here.
As a professional carpenter, furniture maker, and designer/builder, I see a lot of home carpentry projects that are grossly overbuilt and over-engineered. One of the goals of this Instructable is to avoid the unnecessary overbuilding that I frequently see on this site, and that I see every day working in the residential construction industry. Many of the building methods we (in the US) use today are horribly wasteful despite the advances that have been made in materials science and structural engineering, because most people in the residential building industry, from architects and engineers to carpenters, are mired in tradition, doing things a certain way "because that is how it has always been done", rather than consulting the best available science, or even questioning their own assumptions about "the right way to do it". I don't intend to knock tradition, either. Many of the tricks, techniques, and tools that I use daily are definitely "old-school", but seem to have been forgotten.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Skillsaw, handsaw miter box, or power miter saw
Drill (drill motor)
1/8" (#10) countersinking bit, or just an 1/8" bit
1/2" drill bit
Screwdriver (hand or power)
Square (if you are using a Skillsaw)
Optional: Jigsaw or bandsaw
(1) 10' 2 x 4
(2) 8' 2 x 6
(24) 3" #10 wood screws
18" 1/2" dowel
(4) screw-on rubber furniture feet
(1) 3'-0" x 6'-8" x 1-3/8" flush, solid-core door slab
A small amount of wood glue, or just regular white glue.
A note on screws: I am a professional carpenter and furniture maker, and I make things easier on myself by NEVER using Phillips head screws. The Phillips head was designed to "cam out" at a fairly low torque for assembly line work before the advent of adjustable torque limiting drill/drivers. I use only Robertson square drive or Torx head screws, and save myself a lot of time and frustration.
Solid-core door slabs of this size are sometimes normal "stock" items at the lumberyard, but you may have to order it. Make sure that you specify very clearly that you want "an un-bored, un-mortised flush door slab, with no jamb". You can even order a pre-finished slab for a few bucks more, and save yourself some work. Different species of wood are available. I used plain old birch.
The 2x material can be of any species, but take a few extra minutes to pick straight and attractive boards.
The finish on the table is optional, and up to you. I spent about $50.00 on stain, varnish, and sandpaper. The top is simply varnished (3 coats), the trestles are Minwax Ebony, and the stretcher is Minwax English Chestnut (with 2 coats of varnish). I used Sherwin-Williams satin Oil-based varnish, but a wipe-on polyurethane would be easier, as would a spray lacquer like Deft. Sand the bare wood with 120-grit paper, no finer, and follow the instructions supplied by the manufacturer of whatever finish you choose. If you choose to finish the table, you should clearcoat every surface of each piece, but you only have to stain the surfaces that show.