Introduction: Simple Trestle Table and Shelves

About: To learn is to live!

We needed an attractive, but easy to store table that could be used during study periods.


  • Screws 8G (15mm): x24
  • Screws 10G (30mm): x64
  • Pin nails:
  • PVA Glue
  • 90x740x18mm pine planks (machined): x8
  • 90x560x18mm pine planks (machine): x8
  • 600x1800x18mm pine board (machined): x1(this will be used for the table top)
  • 30x560x10mm pine strips (machined): x4
  • 555x560x18mm plywood: x2
  • 90mm but hinge: x4
  • Rope: Lengths: 2m
  • Low sheen white spray paint (primer + paint): x2
  • Wood Filler


  • Mitre saw
  • Drill
  • Drill bits: 1 2 3
  • Phillips screwdriver (Kept splitting the wood with my battery screwdriver and so used an hand one in the end).
  • Hammer

Step 1: Assembling the Trestle

Using a mitre saw I cut all the pieces as listed in the previous section, according to the given dimensions.

The 28x3mm recess will vary depending on the dimensions of your but hinges. The 45 degree angle was cut to accommodate the hinge part of the but hinge. To create the 3mm recess I simply set the depth of my cut to 3mm and then ran the blade multiple times across the plank.

Each hold was pre-drilled so that the screws (10G) did not split the wood. The holes were also counter sunk so that screws could be screwed in just below the surface.

The reason for so much drilling was that initially I kept splitting my wood when I tried to screw the planks together. This approach, together with a hand screwdriver, solved this problem.

Before screwing together, I applied PVA glue to the surfaces. I then applied filler to all holes and cracks and let everything dry properly over night.

The next day I sanded and painted the pieces. Once dry I attached the hinges.

Once assembled, the rope was cut to a length that would allow the trestle to open to the desired width. The widths if that the trestles open up to will also determine the height that the table will stand at. In my case I set the length of the rope so that the base of the trestle legs were approximately 475mm apart (if you have them, this width will affect the dimensions of the bottom shelves).

Step 2: Make the Top

Decide where you want the trestles to be positioned (such that a chair can fit between them and so that they are spaced the same distance from each side). Glue and nail the pine strips so that they provide a track for the trestles to sit in when open; see photo for more details.

The table top can now be sanded and painted.

Step 3: Add the Bottom Shelves (optional)

The shelves are optional extras. If you do decide to add them, double check your dimensions in case my drawings don't line up with those of your final trestle table.

Once sanded and painted, the shelves simply slide in at an angle and then lie loosely on top.

Step 4: Finishing It All Off

If you wanted to soften things a little, you could consider routing of the edges round as well as cutting wedges of the bottom end of the legs so that the trestles sit flush on the floor. I didn't do any of this but it still turned out just fine and works well.

The only thing I would have liked is for the table top top 800mm deep. Unfortunately our hardware does not sell ready made 1800x800x18mm sheets of timber. I could have laminated my own sheet, or cut a larger one down but that would have defeated my objective of building a trestle table that was quick, easy and cost effective to put together.