A Trestle Festival

The author Titus Livius (or the translator Pierre Bersuire) at work, Ab urbe condita (BNF Fr. 273, fol. 7), c. 1475

Leave it to Jeff Burks to turn up a bunch of images of early trestle tables that I haven’t seen before.

As you’ll see from the gallery below, these trestle tables are of the old variety – two independent horses that are topped by a large board, suitable for carving up your meal (or your unliked saint).

Most of the horses have three legs, though there are some that have interesting feet that are flat on the floor. Also interesting is how many trestles have decorative panels between the legs.

One warning before you start browsing these images: A few are a bit on the graphic side. If you ever wondered about why these tables were covered by tablecloths when people ate at them, this set of images should help you answer that question.

As always, thanks to Jeff Burks for the original source material here. His research and publishing here speeds our efforts at Lost Art Press.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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5 Responses to A Trestle Festival

  1. Jeff Burks says:

    I’ll admit sending these images to Chris in response to the previous blog post, but for the record, this research was compiled by somebody else.

  2. These were all quite illuminating.

  3. Eric Erb says:

    If you do not know of http://thomasguild.blogspot.com/ you should.

    Here is an extant 15th c. trestle table: http://thomasguild.blogspot.com/2012/07/a-15th-century-trestle-table-from-bruges.html

    Eric Erb


    mobile: 240-328-3373

  4. frpaulas says:

    As I wondered about using the 3 legged design I thought about the problem of seating people on the 4-legged-side of the table. It eventually dawned on me that you only sit on the 2-legged-side – and the servants serve from the 4-legged-side.

  5. jmawworks says:

    One more step toward woodworking in the house. First the Roubo serving buffet (with built in nut-cracker) then a low “storage” chest nearby and now sawhorses, I mean trestles.

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