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Crossbuck/Sawbuck Trestle Dining Table

DonStephan's picture

Looking for pictures and/or plans for a trestle table utilizing crossbuck or sometimes called sawbuck ends rather than the typical trestle end uprights.  Tried a number of early American furniture books with no success.  The application would be a wide table (44") that would require a pair of posts on each end, and a pair of trestles, using that approach.  The 'bucks would be wider than tall, perhaps 38-40" wide and 28-29" tall, but I think a cross lap joint would work.  And of course the trestle tenon would help offset the crosslap joint's wanting to collapse.

Thanks for your help.

Taigert's picture

(post #89093, reply #1 of 12)



Does this help?




DonStephan's picture

(post #89093, reply #2 of 12)

Thanks for the quick reply and picture.  The height-to-width ratio in the picture is along the lines of what I would need.  I'd be very interested in any examples tho of slightly shaped crossbuck legs rather than simple straight boards.

flairwoodworks's picture

(post #89093, reply #3 of 12)


Somewhere, I saw a crossbuck table with each leg shaped like a lazy "s". It looked really good.

Chris @
and now

 - Success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. - Albert Schweitzer

Chris @

 - Success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. - Albert Schweitzer

sapwood's picture

(post #89093, reply #4 of 12)

This table is 6' x 8' x 30". Not the size you want, but it has the sort of legs you want.

img027.jpg53.79 KB
DonStephan's picture

(post #89093, reply #6 of 12)

Thanks for the picture.  Looks like that table would stand up to just about anything (and I don't want any details).

Taigert's picture

(post #89093, reply #7 of 12)

What are those legs about 6"X6", you just gave me a great idea.

I have to go pick up some poplar beams, from what I was told they are about 6"X14"X25'. They would make a nice dining room set. If I don't get in gear and go fetch them this guys going to cut them up for firewood. They are the main beams out of a old home that was on his property, he figures they are about 200 years old.


sapwood's picture

(post #89093, reply #8 of 12)

I started with 6x6 rough birch and that is near what its finished dimension is near the floor. The upper portion has been spliced onto to give a much greater depth... maybe then its 6x9 or 10". I don't really remember. The legs on this table had to be visually beefy because of the six foot top width. I think of this as a fancy (and expensive) picnic table. I was glad there were movers there the day I delivered it. It's not a light thing even with the top being in two separate halves. At a full six feet, it would not have fit up the stairs.

Taigert's picture

(post #89093, reply #9 of 12)

For a change I need to make something fore myself, in truth my wife. She wants a couple of things built that I jeep moving from the top of the list.

After what she did last week she really got my attention. She bought a bookcase at a yard sale. She was so proud that she had found a real "Cherry". She brought it home and it was sitting in the back of her Jimmy. So after hearing how it is "solid cherry", I figured I had best take a look at what she had bought for $10.00, you never know what people will part with at some of these yard sales. I took a look and it turned out to be solid particle board, with a plastic laminate picture of a cherry grain. It broke her heart to find out. But it didn't stop her from dragging it in the house and setting it up. She threw the gauntlet on the table when she told me "that if you don't like it tough, it's going to stay where it is till I make something to replace it". She says I should be ashamed of myself for making her go searching for something she has been asking me to build for her, for years now.


Eef's picture

(post #89093, reply #5 of 12)

"nearing the top of the hill..."

i'd venture to say, more like at the top of your game.
beautiful work!

PCM's picture

(post #89093, reply #10 of 12)


"Danish Farmers Trestle Table", Mario Rodriguez, Taunton's "Tables".

Quite ornate trestles and beam, but could be simplified.

I don't find the article in my FWW search CD (titles, not complete articles), but my search process could be off. Contact FWW, they may have reprint info available.

Bill Hylton shows a "Scroll-Cut Sawbuck Trestle" in the Trestle Table section of Rodale's "Illustrated Cabinetmaking". This is one of the oldest and strongest systems.

Hylton also references Lester Margon's "Sawbuck Dining Table from Pennsylvania", in the book Construction of American Furniture Treasures, New York:Dover Publiucations, 1975. I have this book, could try to copy the article for you-the diagram is not the best copy.  


SteveSchoene's picture

(post #89093, reply #11 of 12)

There are a couple of sawbuck tables in Wallace Nutting Furniture Treasury, plates 804 and 810.  Lots of libraries will have this work, either directly or by interlibrary  loan.  The table in Lester Margon's American Furniture Treasures was in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I don't know if it is on display, in the study cases, or anything.  If you wanted an authentic reproduction it would be best to see the original since Margon is likely to have made changes to fit his own construction ideas.  It is clear, comparing the photograph of the museum display and the plans, that he has modified the shape of the cross bucks making them less bold.  He may well have modified other details as well. 

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

DonStephan's picture

(post #89093, reply #12 of 12)

Pete and Steve:

Thanks for the great leads.  I happened across Margon's book yesterday and found it interesting.  I'll have to look again at his drawings versus the picture from the museum, as I found his pattern just ever so slightly unbalanced or some such thing.  I'll request the Taunton and Rodale books from the Cincinnati library system.  I have the Nutting books at the workshop and will look at those pictures tomorrow.