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A timber trestle table on black A-frame legs

Overview

If you don't have a lot of space, this trestle desk may be ideal for your home. It will look great in a study nook, a hallway or the kids room, anywhere that needs a compact, stylish workspace. You'll also be surprised how easy it is to make.

Steps

1Pre-cut the timber to size

To make this project easier, you can have your timber pre-cut to size at your local Bunnings. Here's our cut list:

64mm x 19mm Radiata pine DAR

  • 670mm x 8 (legs)
  • 205mm x 4 (base of the legs)
  • 390mm x 2 (supports)

600mm x 26mm x 1800mm hardwood utility panel

  • 450mm x 1200mm
A composite timber table top and six lengths of pine timber

2Tape the timber for the legs together

To make sure that the four legs are identical for measuring and cutting, tape two batches of four legs together making sure the ends are flush.

A person taping lengths of pine timber together

3Mitre cut the legs

Set the mitre saw to 5 degrees. Then mitre cut each batch of four legs close to the end.

A person positioning pine timber under a drop saw

4Measure and mark the legs

Once the first end is mitred, measure and mark the other end of each batch for the second cut.  

A person measuring lengths of pine timber taped together

5Make the second cut

With the mitre still set to 5 degrees, cut the batches of legs to length.

A person cutting pine timber with a drop saw

6Tape the supports for the table together

Tape the two pieces of 390mm timber for the supports together, making sure the ends are flush.

A person measuring lengths of pine timber taped together

7Cut the supports to 90 degrees

Set the mitre to 90 degrees and cut at one end of the supports for the trestle.

A person cutting pine timber with a drop saw

8Tape the timber for the base together

Tape two batches of two 205mm timber lengths for the leg bases together.

A person measuring lengths of pine timber taped together

9Cut the ends of the timber to 90 degrees

With the mitre saw set to 90 degrees, cut the ends of the base lengths to size. Remove all of the tape from the timber.

A person cutting pine timber with a drop saw

10Lay out the legs

Lay out the trestle legs on the workbench to create two triangles.

A person fitting a bottom piece of timber to A-frame legs

11Pre-drill the holes for the legs

With the 3mm drill bit, pre-drill all of the holes you need to attach the legs together.

A person connecting two lengths of timber using a cordless driver

12Apply glue to the joins

Apply PVA glue to all of the joins where the legs will be secured and stick the timber together.

A person applying glue to the end of a piece of timber

13Screw the leg together

Use 40mm chipboard screws to join the leg together. The 390mm piece at the top is a support to attach to another leg, as well as attaching the trestle legs to the table top. 

A person connecting two lengths of timber using a cordless driver

14Join the legs together

Once both legs are made, attach the pair together. Start by pre-drilling holes with the 3mm drill bit on each side.

A person fitting a top piece of timber to A-frame legs

15Attach the top of the leg

Use 40mm chipboard screws to attach the top of the legs. Once you've assembled two legs into a trestle side, then make another two legs for the other side of the trestle that forms the base of the desk.

A person fitting a top piece of timber to A-frame legs

16Paint the legs

You can paint your legs any colour you like; we're spray painting ours black. When painting always work in a well ventilated room and wear a mask. Use smooth, even, strokes for good coverage with a spray can. Apply as many coats as necessary, making sure you leave it to dry between coats. You can also give it a light sand with 240-grit sandpaper between coats.

A person spray painting timber black

17Sand the table top

Before you attach it to the legs, give the hardwood timber top a light sanding with an orbital sander and 240-grit sandpaper for a smooth finish.

A person sanding a timber table top with orbital sander

18Measure and mark for the location of the legs

Next you need to measure and mark for where the trestle legs will go underneath the tabletop. We positioned ours 110mm from the top of the trestle support with a 30mm overhang on each side.

A person measuring distance from the edge of table top on an inverted table

19Attach the legs to the table top

Start by pre-drilling holes for the legs using a 3mm bit. Then secure both trestle legs to the tabletop with 30mm screws.

A person drilling into table legs on an inverted table

20Measure and cut the threaded rods

To strengthen the table, you'll need to use galvanised rods for bracing. Hold the galvanised rods diagonally under the table connecting the legs to determine the length you need. We placed ours 80mm from the bottom of the legs on both sides, and 50mm from the top on both sides. Then cut both rods to length with the bolt cutters.

A person cutting a threaded rod with bolt cutters

21Paint the rods

Before you attach them, give the rods a coat of paint to match the colour of your desk's legs. Let the paint dry before attaching them.

A threaded rod and nuts spray painted black

22Drill the holes for the braces

Pre-drill the holes for the rods on an angle using a 6.5mm drill bit.

A person drilling into table legs on an inverted table

23Attach the supporting rods

Thread each diagonal rod through the holes you've made and secure it by tightening the nuts. It doesn't matter if there's a little overhang on the diagonal rods.

A person fitting threaded rod through table legs

24Wax the desktop

Now the desk is complete, wax it to protect the surface and bring out the natural grain of the timber. It's a good idea to apply several coats, letting each layer of wax soak in before applying the next.

A person applying oil to a table top

25Put your trestle desk in place

Now it's time to put your trestle desk in place. It's the perfect table for a study or the kids bedroom, and not only does it look good, but you made it yourself.
A timber trestle table on black A-frame legs

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.