How to Make Trestle Benches

Written by b.t. alo
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How to Make Trestle Benches
Learn how to build your own handsome trestle benches. (Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Trestle benches are simple style benches perfect for alongside a farmhouse table, a picnic table, stand-alone on the deck or porch or even beside the front door to help weary home-comers as they take off their shoes. Knocking up a trestle bench is well within the grasp of most do-it-yourself enthusiasts and amateur woodworkers and you may find you save some cash by building it yourself than if you went to the store and bought a bench.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • 2 planks 1-by-10 lumber, 17 inches
  • 1 plank 1-by-8 lumber, 60 inches
  • Measuring tape
  • Band saw or hand saw
  • 2 planks 1-by-3 lumber, 12 inches
  • Carpenter's glue
  • Wood screws, 2-inch
  • 1 plank 1-by-12 lumber, 72 inches
  • Wood screws, 3-inch
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood finish
  • Paintbrush

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Draw a 1-inch-thick, 4-inch-long line centred on one 10-inch side of two planks of 1-by-10 lumber measuring 17 inches, the bench legs. Measure in 5 inches from each end of a 60-inch plank of 1-by-8 lumber and mark a 1-inch-thick, 4-inch-long line. This is the trestle bench undercarriage.

  2. 2

    Cut out the drawn lines on the legs and the undercarriage with a band saw, or a hand saw if you prefer. You will be left with four slots that are 1-inch-thick and 4 inches long.

  3. 3

    Turn the legs so they are upright with the slotted end down. Center a 12-inch plank of 1-by-3 lumber over the end of each leg for the feet of the legs, which will give extra stability to the trestle bench. Glue the feet in place, then drill four evenly spaced, countersunk pilot holes through the bottom of the feet into the end of the legs and secure with 2-inch wood screws.

  4. 4

    Turn the legs back over so they are standing on their feet. Move the legs apart around 50 inches and insert the undercarriage into the slots in the legs, mating the slots on the undercarriage. Push the undercarriage down so that the top of the legs are flush with the top of the undercarriage. The undercarriage will be suspended between the legs.

  5. 5

    Glue the mated slots on the legs and undercarriage then screw together with 2-inch screws by "toe screwing" or inserting the screws at a 45-degree angle into the joint.

  6. 6

    Lay a 72-inch-long plank of 1-by-12 (the bench top) flat on the work surface. Turn the legs and undercarriage upside down and centre them over the bench top. Glue the undercarriage and legs to the underside of the bench top then toe screw the joint every 5 to 6 inches to firmly attach the legs and undercarriage to the bench top.

  7. 7

    Sand and finish the trestle bench in the desired wood finish and leave it to dry before sitting the bench in position.

Tips and warnings

  • Add decorative appeal to the bench by cutting out a design on one edge of the undercarriage or the sides of the legs.

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