How to Make a Sixteen Foot Trestle Table

the project

Our client had a very large family, entertained guests often and had just built a substantial sized home for himself… so he wanted a custom made dining table that was 16 feet long by 48” wide. He wanted it made from oak and be well aged in appearance. It’s large size and enormous weight dictated that I figure out how to make a sixteen foot trestle table. My first calculation of the table tops weight was almost a half ton so I kept the outside edges over 2” thick but make it’s center from boards a bit over 1” thick.

shows the structure of the trestle table

how to support

We went with two, large, table pedestals which not only looked better but allowed more leg room beneath.

trestle table pedestals, fancy table bases

the table top

Before we glue and join the boards, we align them and do a dry fit with clamps to see what will look best.

large table top construction

I think breadboard ends improve a large table’s look. They are boards that cap each end of the long table top. They cover the boards end grain and help keep the surface flat. They are attached by means of a ‘tongue & groove’ joint and pinned in place with dowel rods. This allows the center boards to expand & shrink (from moisture & temperature changes, summer & winter).

table breadboard ends

Then we joined everything and sanded the surface(s).

sixteen foot oak table

attaching the table supports

We determined the correct distance between the winged pedestals for best support and on which the table top sat perfectly flat. Both supports were bolted to the tables bottom with wing nuts so the table could be taken apart, if necessary.

mounting a table top to bases

finishing the table

Now we were ready for the finishing process. They had selected an aged look from samples that we made. We physically beat up this table top pretty well. The whole surface and the legs were gouged everywhere, we filed edges leaving scars and even torched the oak in a number of places. We did all that before it was stained to an aged brown and top coated.

It was very hard to get a picture of the finished table in their home that showed the entire table AND what the final color looked like… so I have two shots here.

large trestle table stained to look old

16 foot trestle table in oak

Russell Hudson / Hudson Cabinetmaking, Inc.