How to Build a Dollhouse Trestle Table and Benches

A trestle table is a timeless piece of furniture. It looks correct in a Medieval castle setting, an American colonial house or a contemporary dollhouse.

A trestle table was one of the first pieces of furniture I made for my dollhouse. I had little access
to dollhouse shops back in the 1980's BI [Before Internet] , hence I made a lot of my own furniture. I didn't think I could make decent chairs so a trestle table with benches was a good alternative.

A trestle table is much more simple to construct than a table with four legs.

These Plans are for a Trestle Table in one twelfth scale [1 inch = 1 foot]

The finished table is 6 inches x 2.5

The bench is 5 inches x 1 inch

 

Below is a a plan showing all of the pieces needed to build a Trestle Table
You can save to your PC the plan and print it out as a guide.

You can make this table from any wood which is 1/8 inch thick. I used two types of wood, bass wood and balsa wood.

For the table top I used bass wood because it is a harder wood and less susceptible to damage.

The table legs, stretcher and feet all need to be 'carved' so I opted to use balsa wood because it is softer and easier cut with a knife.

There are no special tools just a small saw and mitre box , a sharp knife and sandpaper, you can use any wood glue.

The first thing we have to do is cut out all of the pieces.
To shape the curves of the legs and stretcher, I cut first with a pointed blade around the shape, I do most of the shaping with sandpaper. Balsa wood is soft so it is easy to sand. Use a fine grit sandpaper, wrap the sandpaper around a pencil or something round when sanding the curved shape.

You can go by my leg or stretcher patterns or you can make your own.

 

The feet have to be shaped from a piece of balsa which is 1/4 inch thick. It needs to be carved sanded and shaped, similar to my diagram [right], only round off the edges rather than leaving them so angular. I didn't know how to draw that in Photoshop, but I am sure you get the idea.

 

Feet for table

All of the other pieces needed to be carved and sanded too. Sand the ends of the cross pieces tapering each end.

Crosspiece

Cut out the table top to the correct size 6'' x 2.5'' using a mitre box and hand saw .

Sand top of the table and round off the sharp edges of the table with a sandpaper.

To make sure that there is no sawdust left on the table parts, first wipe with a lint free cloth, then 'sand' everything again only this time use a crumpled piece of clean paper, computer paper is fine.
Do the final sanding with crumpled paper

 

If you want the table to be stained now is the time to do it.

Stain won't penetrate glue so all of the pieces have to be stained before we start glueing the table together.

If you are painting the table, paint it after it is assembled and glued.

 

To stain the table parts, apply the stain with a rag or brush and then wipe off the excess with a lint free rag.

The stain will need a while to dry, I recommend overnight.

Stain is flammable and so are the rags you use to apply the stain. Maybe I am over cautious, but, when I am done, I put them in a plastic bag , tie the bag , and but it outside in the garbage.

 

Now the fun part begins.

Assembling the trestle table

 

 

 

Glue the table leg to the edge of the
crosspiece, [ not on top of the crosspiece ]. It is difficult to see in the photograph

It needs to dry at a perfect 90 degree angle so prop it up against
something square, like the mitre box I used here.

Wait until the glue is dry before you move on to the next step.

 

 

Now we have to glue the legs to the underside of the table top .

The inside measurement between the legs must be 4 inches the exact same size as the stretcher. You can use the stretcher as a guide but DON'T glue the stretcher to anything yet

Let the glue dry for before going on to the next step.

Next , glue on the stretcher about halway down the legs. I sat it on this little box to keep it straight.

I couldn't find a good way of holding the legs and the stretcher together while the glue dried. Mine wanted to spring apart a lttle bit, so I held it for about the first 10 minutes, which was long enough for the glue to begin fastening. Then left it for few hours to dry thoroughly.

All we have to do now is attach the feet.

Just glue them on and let the glue dry.

After the glue has dried overnight, you can spray or brush a varnish on the trestle table. I go for a satin finish rather than a high gloss, but that is just a personal preference.

That's it. pretty simple huh? Scroll down to see plans for making matching benches

 

Making the Benches

 

We need to cut out, sand and stain all of the pieces just the same as we did for the table.

 

We have 4 little pieces which are the same width as the bench seat. Sand to taper the ends of these pieces

Next glue one of the little pieces onto one end on the bench legs, making sure to centre it. These are the feet.


Glue the little cross pieces onto the bench seat, about 1 inch from the ends.

 


Next glue on the legs butting and glueing the legs to the edge of the crosspieces and also glueing to the leg to the bench seat. Make sure it is at a pefect 90 degree angle
All that is left to do is to glue on the feet
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When the glue is all dry you can spray or brush a varnish on the bench.

 


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