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Make your own trestle desk

It's easy to make a trestle desk if you use a pine slat door, a couple of bought or made trestles and a few pieces of PAR pine that you will find at your local Builders.


What makes this project simple is that you use a ready-made pine slat door and a couple of pine trestles - all of which you will find at your local Builders Warehouse. However, making your own basic pine trestles will cut down on the total cost to make this trestle desk.



Pine slat door (new or reclaimed)
2 pine trestles (or make your own)
4 of PAR pine 20 x 69mm x 2400mm length
4 x 35mm cut screws
Woodoc gel stain (antique oak)
Wood filler (to match colour of stain)
Woodoc interior sealer and paintbrush


Jigsaw, mitre saw or circular saw
Drill / Driver plus assorted bits
Countersink bit
120- and 240-grit sandpaper
Tape measure and pencil



1. To make the shelves: measure and mark two lengths of pine into six equal pieces 400mm long. Measure and mark a third pine plank into 2 pieces 400mm long and 2 pieces 800mm long. Cut these sections and sand smooth.


It is easier to stain all the pieces before assembly. If you are using Woodoc Gel Stain apply this with a cloth, but use a paintbrush for waterbased stains or tinted varnish. Pop on rubber or disposable gloves to protect your hands.

2. To make the shelves that fit at the bottom of the trestles  place 7 cut pieces on a flat surface. Allow 50mm gaps between the pieces so that  the overall length measures 800mm (or the total length of the trestles). Centre the 800mm piece on top and drill two pilot holes over the bottom pieces.  Secure the top plank in position with 35mm screws. Repeat for the other trestle.

3. Stain the completed trestles and adjust the rope so that the 400mm-wide shelf is adequately supported.

4. Cut the remaining piece of PAR pine to the length of the door. Drill four countersunk pilot holes along the total length and attach this to the front edge of the door using 35mm screws.  

5. Do any final sanding and wipe clean. Pop on your gloves to stain the finished desk top and then apply two coats of polyurethane varnish for ultimate protection for your new trestle desk.  Allow each coat of varnish to dry completely (preferably overnight) before applying the second coat.


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