Mar 04 , 2019
The Viking Table
This style of viking table is known as a drawbore trestle. The “trestle” is the stretcher that connects the legs, and “drawbore” refers to the “bored” mortises and tenons that “draw” the legs and trestle tightly together to create a stable base.
You can easily shorten (and lighten) your table by modifying the dimensions given. The benches that accompany this table are built using the same template and same basic procedures. Check out the heavy-duty viking bench project directions here. If you’re thinking of building both the table and the bench, consider starting with the bench; it’s a great warm-up for the larger viking table project. Or check out our top 10 woodworking projects.
The viking table, built as shown, is enormous— long, wide and weighty. But by removing two wedges and eight screws, you can separate the legs, tabletop and trestle so you can store the table for the winter or move it to a different location.
Pick the right wood
If you’re building this viking table for inside use, you can use everyday dimensional lumber or more expensive hardwoods. But if it will be used outside, consider one of the following weather-resistant options:
Cedar, Redwood or Cypress
One of these “premium” exterior woods is most likely available in your area. Select boards with the most heartwood— the darker inside part of the tree, which is more durable than the lighter colored sapwood. The downside? These woods can be wickedly expensive and, in some cases, soft.
It’s moderately priced and stands up well to weather, but it’s often wet from the treatment process, which means it’s more likely to shrink and twist, and less likely to glue up well. It’s also difficult to apply a good-looking finish until the wood fully dries.
This is the wood we used. It’s more expensive than the more widely available “standard” dimensional lumber—often labeled H-F, S-P-F or “white wood”—but cheaper than the premium woods. It’s about 20 percent harder, and stronger, heavier and more moisture resistant than standard lumber. Not all home centers and lumberyards stock Douglas fir; look for the “Doug Fir” or “DF” stamp. If in doubt, ask. In our area, Lowe’s and contractor lumberyards carry Douglas fir.
We used white oak for the feet, the breadboard ends and the wedges. Other woods would work fine, but we liked the extra strength, hardness and contrast the white oak provided in these critical pieces. Red oak, the type you’ll often find at home centers, isn’t a good substitute, since it’s much more prone to rot. You can find white oak at specialty woodworking stores and online.
Douglass fir tables are extremely durable, and after four years all we had to do was give it a quick sanding and a coat of Cabot Australian Timber Oil every spring and cover it with a tarp during the tough Minnesota winters. The table remains as beautiful as it was on the day it was made.
Take your time at the lumberyard (check out our lumber yard guide) selecting flat, straight boards free of split ends, twists, cupping and loose knots—you’ll spare yourself a lot of clamping and cussing down the road. If you have trouble finding perfect 2x12s, purchase an extra board—or longer boards and cut around the defects.
Cut your boards into eight 22-in.-long pieces; make sure the ends are square. Pair up your boards so when one is laid atop the other, there’s little or no gap along the ends and edges. If you flip or rotate the boards, sometimes you’ll find the perfect fit. Try to have any defects fall in the areas of the wood you’ll be cutting away as you form the legs.
Make the Leg Template
Mark out your leg template onto 1/4-in. plywood as shown above. Set another scrap piece of plywood against the template. Drive a screw 9-1/4 in. from the end of the scrap and use that screw as a pivot point for your tape measure. Then swing the two arcs to create the leg shape. Cut just outside the line with a finetooth jigsaw blade, then use a belt sander to sand right up to the line. Use your template to trace the leg shape onto two leg sections, which breaks down to eight separate leg pieces (Labeled “A”, in Figure B in Project PDF’s below). 10 DIY Tables You Can Build Quickly