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Make wooden trestles

If you’re in need of a table, but nothing too big and bulky, consider building some trestles and putting a table top onto them.


Trestles are quick and simple to make and, with some creativity, you can turn them into a focal point in your home.


* Drill

* 2.5mm drill bit

* Mitre saw

* Square

* Pencil

* Clamps

* Utility knife

Cutting list

* Eight 927mm lengths

* Eight 500mm lengths

Project guide


Estimated time: A morning

Cost: R100


* 12m of 90mm x 19mm pallet wood

* 3.5mm x 30mm screws (64 of these will be enough)

* 2m of 12mm-thick rope


Step 1: Two 3m lengths are enough for one trestle. You will get four 500mm pieces and one 927mm piece out of the first 3m length and three 927mm pieces from the second 3m length. The easiest way to cut the various pieces for the trestles is with a mitre saw, but if you don’t have one you can use a circular saw or a jigsaw, it might just take a bit longer.


Step 2: When you have all the pieces cut, move onto marking where the lower cross beams should go on the 927mm pieces. To save time, place the four pieces next to each other (see photo 5) and use a square to make sure the ends are flush with each other. You can clamp the pieces together to ensure they stay flush while you do the next step. Measure 100mm from the ends and make a mark. Then use the square and extend the 100mm mark over the edges of all four pieces.


Step 3: Extend the 100mm marks across the faces of all four of the 927mm pieces.


Step 4: To assemble the trestles is quite easy. Start by placing two 927mm pieces on your work bench. Then take one 500mm piece and line it up with the 100mm marks you made in the previous step and ensure the ends of the 500mm pieces are flush with the sides of the 927mm pieces.


Step 5: Use 3.5mm x 30mm screws and screw the 500mm and 927mm pieces together. In photo 9 you will see that I used three screws and placed them in a triangle formation. Do the same on the other end as well.


Step 6: Flip the structure around and fasten another 500mm piece to the 927mm piece so it is flush with the sides as well as the top. This will be one half of one trestle. You will need to make three more of these to have two trestles to place your table top on.


Step 7: To assemble the two halves for one trestle, you need to use butt or piano hinges. Butt hinges might be better as the piano hinges are a bit narrow and don’t extend far beyond the edge of the wood, meaning the screws will sit very close to the end of the wood and will be more likely to break out. When assembling the two halves, place them on your workbench (if it is big enough) or on the ground as shown in photo 12. Place the hinges over the wood (see photo 13).


Step 8: Because you are working so close to the end of the wood, drill 2.5mm pilot holes to prevent the screws from splitting the wood. Fasten the hinges to the wood with at least two screws on each side.


Step 9: The trestle requires a piece of rope to prevent it from opening too far. To do this, drill a hole in the centre of the bottom 500mm pieces of wood. I used a 19mm spade bit.


Step 10: Thread the rope through the hole and tie a knot at the end.


Step 11: Measure to ensure the trestle is 900mm high or the height you require. When you are happy with the height, tie the knot at the other end of the rope while making sure the rope is tight enough to prevent it from opening further, which will lead to the trestle being lower.


Step 12: One trestle down and another one to go.

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