How short can trestle be in relation to table top - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-08-2014, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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How short can trestle be in relation to table top

With the way the width of our dining area is restricted we usually sit at the short ends of our 48x64" dining table. Today I saw a very interesting 1950's Danish teak table (36x64") that I would like to buy. It has a trestle design which is great but there is only 7" of free space under the ends of the table before your knees hit the trestle. There are two leaves that attach to the ends but that would make the table 8 feet long which would be useful when we use the table as a buffet table but too long for everyday use.

My question is: Currently the trestle is 50 inches wide. It looks like it wouldn't be too difficult to shorten the trestle (it's wood members are screwed together) so that we could sit more comfortably at the ends, but that would mean, ideally, shortening, it to 32". We could possibly settle for a 36" wide trestle and only 14" of leg room on the ends. BTW the table top is 1 1/2" thick and very heavy. Is there an ideal trestle to table length ratio? Would there be a tipping hazard if the trestle were only 1/2 the length of the table top? Thanks for your thoughts and ideas. (the 1st pic is a view under the table)
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-08-2014, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akimbo View Post

My question is: Currently the trestle is 50 inches wide. It looks like it wouldn't be too difficult to shorten the trestle (it's wood members are screwed together) so that we could sit more comfortably at the ends, but that would mean, ideally, shortening, it to 32". We could possibly settle for a 36" wide trestle and only 14" of leg room on the ends. BTW the table top is 1 1/2" thick and very heavy. Is there an ideal trestle to table length ratio? Would there be a tipping hazard if the trestle were only 1/2 the length of the table top? Thanks for your thoughts and ideas. (the 1st pic is a view under the table)
We have an introduction section where you can say a few words about yourself. If you fill out your profile in your "User Control Panel", you can list any hobbies, experience or other facts. You can also list your general geographical location which would be a help in answering some questions. In doing that your location will show under your username when you post.

If there is an architectural standard ratio, I'm not aware of it. If you can get 14" that would be adequate. Set up a mock sample and see if it will be comfortable.








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post #3 of 14 Old 03-08-2014, 12:29 PM
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12" is a minimum standard that is used for kitchen peninsula countertops and bar seating. It also works for dining tables. Anything bigger than that becomes a balancing act between the total length of the table and comfort for the people on the sides of the table. Here is a link that shows some guidelines...

http://www.tablelegs.com/Woodworking...ignBasics.aspx
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-08-2014, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reference cabinetman and MNsawyergp. 14" feels a bit tight but, in terms of visual balance between the length of the table top and the trestle, it would look better than making the trestle too short. The width of the trestle at the ends is about 9" so a person could straddle it if needed. I was concerned about creating a tipping hazard if the trestle is too short and a person were to lean heavily on the short end of the table, but it's so heavy that it's unlikely to happen.
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-08-2014, 02:39 PM
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Just measured our dining room table, it is 42" wide and feet on base are 24" apart, have never had tipping problem.

People rarely sit on dining tables, now coffee tables are another matter, once had one about 5' long on a 24" square pedestal, looked great but a lot of drinks were spilled when someone sat on one end of it.

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post #6 of 14 Old 03-08-2014, 02:41 PM
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With your space constraints you might consider getting a draw leaf or gateleg table.
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-08-2014, 03:20 PM
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>>>> Would there be a tipping hazard if the trestle were only 1/2 the length of the table top?

You could almost bet on it. As folks use their hands to push themselves up from the table, you would have good risk of levering the table up on the other end.

Build a mock-up of your tabletop sized to match. Set the tabletop on top of a couple of sawhorses and see how easy or hard it is to flip the table up.

Howie..........
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-08-2014, 06:13 PM
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I could be wrong but...

I believe the question is how far in from the ends can the trestles be located, not how wide should they be... hence the 14" dimension mentioned. Any leverage applied to the end of the table by leaning on it or someone who might sit on it would be a matter of their body weight and or the leverage exerted to raise the table off the floor at the opposite end.... if this is the issue.?

For adequate seating on the ends of the table I would think 14" is a good number, but a mock up will help. Some folks, taller ones usually may have longer upper leg lengths than other. Locate these people on the sides if possible.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-08-2014, 06:41 PM
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My suggestion of a mock up seems to be popular. That's a good thing because mock ups are like samples, as they can tell a story. The overhang distance of 12" is an accepted distance for kitchen eating tops and island tops. the reason for that is that the seating is usually on stools, with an integrated footrest. That differs from sitting at a dining table, where the feet have the ability to spread out.





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post #10 of 14 Old 03-09-2014, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankC View Post
Just measured our dining room table, it is 42" wide and feet on base are 24" apart, have never had tipping problem.
I'm trying to picture your dining table. How long is it? Is it a trestle table?
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post #11 of 14 Old 03-09-2014, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by HowardAcheson View Post

Build a mock-up of your tabletop sized to match. Set the tabletop on top of a couple of sawhorses and see how easy or hard it is to flip the table up.
Great idea. The table top is so heavy that I think we'll be OK but this is a good experiment.
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post #12 of 14 Old 03-09-2014, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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clarification

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Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
... Any leverage applied to the end of the table by leaning on it or someone who might sit on it would be a matter of their body weight and or the leverage exerted to raise the table off the floor at the opposite end.... if this is the issue.?

For adequate seating on the ends of the table I would think 14" is a good number, but a mock up will help. Some folks, taller ones usually may have longer upper leg lengths than other. Locate these people on the sides if possible.
To clarify my question is regarding: a. the length of the trestle in relation to the table top and b. the amount of leg (knee) room at the ends. "a" becomes more comprimising if "b" is made more roomy. I've been experimenting at my computer desk today to see how annoying it is to have only 14" of leg/knee room. I'm 5'8" and I would say 14" is the minimum--mind you, the trestle is only about 8" wide so a person sitting at the end of the table could always straddle it, i.e. it's not as limiting as sitting at a counter top with a solid base in front of you. So a 14" knee/upper leg space would leave me with a 36" long trestle under a 64" x 36" table top.
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post #13 of 14 Old 03-09-2014, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akimbo View Post
I'm trying to picture your dining table. How long is it? Is it a trestle table?
It is similar to this one:
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post #14 of 14 Old 03-09-2014, 01:42 PM
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The distance from the end of the table should allow enough room to push a chair under the table so the back of the chair just contacts the edge of the table. This is particularly important if space is at a premium.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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