Trestle tables look like old railroad bridges: thus the name trestle table. They typically have an jamb on both sides, with a support beam connecting the two. They're not the sturdiest table in the neighborhood. The trestles are designed with aesthetics and fashion instead of functionality. If a trestle table is pushed or slid, it can weaken the trestles. The table becomes wobbly and no matter how much glue or bracing you apply, it remains unstable. One sure-fire repair is to add real legs to the table.
1 Remove the trestle base in one piece. Turn the table upside down. Look for four horizontal wood braces, 3/4-by-1 1/2-inches, on both sides of the trestle jambs. The braces run perpendicular to the grain of the wood on the tabletop. There are horizontal screws and vertical screws on the braces. Use a drill/driver to remove the screws from the braces. If there are metal clips or fasteners on the braces or tabletop, unscrew the screws from them and remove them.
2 Tap the trestle bases with a rubber mallet if they do not come off. If they still won't budge, tap a chisel under them to loosen the glue, and then remove the trestle base, including both jambs and the horizontal support beam, in one piece.
3 Sand smooth all four 2 1/2-by-2 1/2-by-28 1/2-inch pieces of hardwood using a hand sanding block with 100-grit sandpaper.
4 Apply glue to the tops of all four 2 1/2-by-2 1/2-by-28 1/2-inch hardwood pieces, or legs. Center the 3/4-by-4-by-4-inch pieces of plywood on top of each leg. Shoot two, 1 1/4-inch pin nails through each piece of plywood to secure it to the top of the leg.
5 Drill three holes through the plywood to penetrate down into the tops of each leg. Drill the holes 2-inches deep in a triangular pattern centered on the leg, using a 5/32-inch bit and a drill/driver. Countersink another hole in each existing hole using a 3/8-inch bit to a depth of 1/8 inch.
6 Insert 2-inch screws in the holes. Drive them in tight to secure the plywood to the tops of the legs.
7 Apply glue to the plywood pieces. Stand the legs in each corner with the plywood flush in each corner. Shoot two, 1 1/4-inch pin nails through each piece of plywood on both side of the legs. Predrill four holes through the plywood using a 5/32-inch bit. Space the holes evenly, 3/4-inch from each side of the plywood.
8 Insert 1 1/4-inch screws in the holes. Drive the screws in to secure the legs to the table. Stand the table upright.
Items you will need
- Four pieces hardwood, 2 1/2-by-2 1/2-by-28 1/2 inches
- Hand sanding block
- 100-grit sandpaper
- Hardwood plywood, 3/4-by-4-by-4 inches
- Pin nailer
- 1 1/4-inch pin nails
- 5/32-inch drill bit
- 3/8-inch drill bit
- 2-inch screws
- 1 1/4-inch screws
- For added strength, nail a 3/4-by-3-inch stretcher to both sides of the legs, just under the tabletop. Also known as an apron, it also gives the tabletop a substantial appearance.
- Wear eye protection. Be careful not to bury the screw heads and penetrate out through the table top when screwing the plywood pieces to the bottom of the table.
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