Trestle Table – Episode 3

Trestle Dining Table 3

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Paul goes over the layout of the housing dado combined with the through mortise that will take the tenon at the end of the cross-bearer. This will add a lot of strength and prevent racking. He then cuts the tenon before cutting the mortice and housing and fitting the joint.


  1. PrairieBluenoser (Mark) on 13 May 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Paul, you make it look so easy!! I still struggle with getting the mortises and tenons to line up and not take too much off when they are a tight fit. But I am improving and after another 50 years mine will look like yours!! 😉

  2. Eddy Flynn on 13 May 2015 at 4:49 pm

    its strange to thing all those years i was setting up jigs and plugging in routers and this is almost like meditation it just makes me calm, or is it that me being strange lol.

    • Peter George on 13 May 2015 at 5:35 pm

      If you’re strange Eddy, I think we all are in the same boat. Since I’ve been working more and more with hand tool, my shop has become a place of calm and refuge. I work from home, and often when I’m taking a break, I’ll go out to the shop and just sit for a while.

    • jmw1958 on 13 May 2015 at 6:19 pm

      If you are, that makes 2 of us 🙂
      Sold my Leigh dovetail jig last month and never been happier

  3. mcglynnonmaking on 13 May 2015 at 5:50 pm

    I’m enjoying following along on this project, thanks. On this particular joint/assembly I’d be interested in doing a double through-tenon for appearance sake. I’d be interested in seeing your approach to laying out and cutting a double tenon joint accurately. I’ve run into problems with this one personally.

  4. Christopher on 13 May 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Paul, Im just now flattening my stock, and Im doing the table top right so here’s my question.
    On one end there’s a small knot on the very edge , right at the 66″ mark ,and Im shooting for 72″. The inside of the knot is completely gone so there’s a hole there. Im gona cut that out so no problem with that, but you know how that sometimes around a knot it draws the wood down so there’s about a 3/16″ hollow there about 4″ in diameter. The rest of the board is now flat. so do I cut all the rest of the board down to reach the lowest section of the knot or do I just plane that area ,” Where the knot is “down until the concave is gone and then feather up towards the other end of the board? What would you do in this situation. Thank you. Chris

    • russ on 13 May 2015 at 9:37 pm

      Hi Christopher. You might want to consider excavating the area and inlaying a plug/patch repair that is slightly proud of the rest of the table top. Then trim it down to match.

    • Paul Sellers on 14 May 2015 at 8:45 pm

      It sounds as though it is quite deep, almost too deep not to be quite noticeable. I might consider replacing the board or ripping it down, rejointing the edges, and flipping it over.

      • Christopher on 15 May 2015 at 8:28 pm

        I was just getting ready to say this board has worn me slap down to the grizzle. Ive used a #4, 5 1/2, 40 1/2 scrub and a #6 and I dont think I can even lift my arms to pick up another plane. lol seriously though and I still have a country mile to go. I think its time to get another board. “Next Week”, I need to get horizontal for a few days to lick some wounds first. Sheew them craftsman back in the day must have been some real men . My jointer and planer is really calling my name bout now. Cant do it though means i would have to rip the boards down to 8″ min. and glue back up I really dont want to do that. My jointer is only 8″ wide. planer is 15″ but you loose too much wood that way . cant afford that. I have to be doing something wrong. Paul It doesn’t hurt the wood to stand it up on its end for a long time. I think some of my problem is it was stickered for three years and it took the shape of all the weight that was on top creating like waves where the stickers were. Im thinking of not stickering my long stock anymore.

        • piper on 17 May 2015 at 3:07 pm

          Stickering your wood properly shouldn’t create the “waves” you describe. The stickers should be placed directly over and under each other in the stack about 12 to 18 inches apart.

  5. bobeaston on 13 May 2015 at 9:48 pm


  6. odysseus on 13 May 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Such a pleasure to see such lovely sharp edges and everything fitting with no gaps.

  7. Gary on 14 May 2015 at 8:10 am

    What a wonderfully informative lesson! I had never considered using that bevel-down chisel technique to prevent tearout on the through mortise. That will certainly help in many projects; not just this one. I would also be interested in a picture of the underside of your wooden base on your Stanley 71. It appears to be an oval cut-out. Is that correct? One last thought: I do not believe I have ever seen a tighter, more perfect mortise and tenon. You inspire us all! And I echo the sentiments of Eddy and Peter: I’ve found that just entering the shop and looking around, planning, and beginning a task brings a feeling of peace, calmness, and well-being that is rare in our world of today.

  8. johnoneill on 14 May 2015 at 3:08 pm

    I’m with you all on the workshop front. Even standing at the bench tidying up or gathering tools away when you have a Spare few minutes is so therapeutic.

  9. BNolan on 14 May 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Paul, I’m curious. I’ve done housed thru tenons like this before, also like the way you show them in the drawer construction of the tool box. What I’m wondering is, is there a reason for this build why you cut your tenon first, then the mortise, then he housing; as opposed to, chopping the mortise, the housing and then marking out the tenon from the actual mortise hole like when you made the drawer? I prefer the later, but wondering if this was just to show different techniques.

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