Monday, April 2, 2018

Board and Trestle

I chanced to walk past a moving van and spotted an interesting table sitting by the lift at the rear of the vehicle. It was a restatement of the classic board and trestle of the Middle Ages. At that time, when as many as twenty people would live in a hall house of two hundred square feet, the dining table consisted of planks set on sawhorses. It was set up for meals and then knocked down afterwards. People were smaller then.

Someone had designed a miniature version fabricated out of stout elements of lumber that were rounded on the edges. The plank grain of the stock was stained a grayish beige. The finish was smooth but not glossy. Parts of the grain had raised gently, presumably because the stain was water-based.

The trestles were built like the expedient ones carpenters assemble on site, but they were narrow, just seat width. The tops were wide enough to offer a comfortable perch to the sitzbones, and the trestles were high enough to serve as shop stools. The top was one broad board edged with bullnosed molding about half an inch deeper than the thickness of the board. That depth allowed secure placement across the trestles.

The whole thing looked like an ideal side or standing work table for a small space, and it clearly could be knocked down so the trestles could be used as bar stools. It also looked like my favorite kind of furniture: the shop projects high school kids make for their parents -30-

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