A Tale of Two Tables: Custom Trestle Tables at PDX Scoop Shops

Custom-built trestle tables embody spirt of local sourcing & sustainability.

Stepping into one of Portland’s two Salt & Straw scoop shops (see the two locations we built out for them here and here) certainly is the best of times. The artisan frozen treats alone are worth the wait in line. But the interior ambiance of the handcrafted and the nostalgic that owner Kim Malek has orchestrated is key to the scoop shop’s allure. Walking into the shop, you’re greeted with the aroma of fresh waffle cones being pressed and a rustic old merchantile design by architect John Cooley and interior designer Sarah Littlefield, and built by Hammer & Hand. The shop’s trestle table is a centerpiece of the design, inviting guests to sit and enjoy.

Photography by Jeff Tan

A staple in many European castles, trestle tables not only played host to bountiful feasts, but could be flipped to shield against intruding mealtime attackers. While Kim may not fear ice cream intruders at her shop, her dedication to local, sustainable sourcing and handcrafted objects made a custom trestle table built by general contractor Hammer & Hand the perfect feature for both scoop shop locations.

Designed and built by Hammer & Hand’s Dan Palmer and Josh Tinker, the trestle tables capture a rustic aesthetic with salvaged and reclaimed materials. We built the first table built for the Alberta Street location from reclaimed All-heart Southern Yellow Pine salvaged from a demolished high school in Yakima, Washington. (Check out more of our custom millwork here).

“I came up with a design based on other traditional trestle tables I’ve built, but this one had to be tweaked based on the dimensions of the wood itself,” said Dan, woodshop manager Palmer. “Traditionally, I’ve built trestle tables that were of thicker materials, but this reclaimed material was a thinner inch and a quarter stock. So I scaled some of the dimensions of the table design to accommodate what I thought would look right with the wood dimensions.”

The table is built with mortise and tenon joinery and as the only fixture in the scoop shop made of heart pine, it juxtaposes visually with the other fixtures in the shop. The accompanying benches also share similar design traits with the table.

“The benches are a bit of a downscaled replica of the table, with the same mortise & tenon joinery. It’s called a ‘keyed tenon’, essentially a wedge peg that’s run through a mortise that then runs perpendicular to the legs,” Palmer explained. “I used a reclaimed mahogany for the keys themselves which goes really well with the darker tones of the pine in the top. There’s a bit of a ‘pop’ there in terms of the color difference with the peg and the rest of the table.”

The second trestle table, housed at the NW location, is essentially the same design with different materials. “Kim didn’t want to use heart pine there, so we used reclaimed fir instead,” Palmer says. “We got the reclaimed fir from a cannery in Astoria, Oregon, and used it quite a bit in that project.”

These tables not only mirror each other, they reflect Salt & Straw’s dedication to locally sourced materials to produce quality, and tasty, goods.

– Jeff

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