Use a simple but effective joinery system to build a solid bench from pine and plywood.
No workshop is complete without a sturdy and stable bench, but using fasteners such as bolts for assembly doesn’t result in the most streamlined finish.
This workbench is built using simple butt joints for the frame that are secured with the Kreg system of angled pocket holes and screws.
Pocket hole screws act like internal clamps, ensuring strong joints for a tough, durable workbench.
Assemble the frame from pine, add a plywood top and shelves then trim the edges, finishing the bench with two coats of clear polyurethane and castors for mobility.
To mark up the frame parts quickly and precisely, use the first leg and rail as a template for the remaining pieces, ensuring the frame butts together squarely and is easy to assemble.
Use a mitresaw to cut the pine, and a circular saw with a straightedge guide to cut the plywood, or have it cut by the supplier for a small fee.
Joinery using dowels and biscuits requires accurate measuring and alignment of mating workpieces.
It can be time-consuming and specialised tools may be needed for cutting the recesses for the fasteners.
Pocket hole joinery is a quick and easy concealed fastening system that can also be used to edge-laminate boards without needing to drill or cut slots in both workpieces.
To make a joint, drill a hole at a 15º angle into one workpiece using a purpose-designed stepped drill bit, then join it to the second one with self-tapping screws.
Adhesive is usually not required, but adding it can result in a joint that is even stronger than a traditional mortise and tenon.
The core components of the Kreg system include a drilling jig, stepped drill bit and pocket hole screws.
Using the guide slot on the pocket hole jig, tighten the depth collar on the drill bit at the 38mm mark and adjust the drill guide up to 38mm. Clamp each rail end then drill pairs of holes on the inside faces.
On the inside face of each rail, mark drilling points at the centre and 100mm from each end. Adjust the depth collar and jig height to 19mm then clamp the rail at each mark and
Position the long rails between each pair of legs so that the top rail is flush with the top of the leg, the base rail is 100mm up from the leg base and the centre rail 330mm up. Clamp then secure with coarse-thread screws.
With one of the frames lying flat, align the side rails with the long rails one at a time and secure with screws. Position the assembly on the second frame, align the rails then secure the side rails to the frame with screws.
In each corner of the shelves, mark a 90 x 45mm notch to fit around the legs. Clamp the shelves with the corner overhanging then use a jigsaw and timber blade to cut out each notch. Test fit and adjust if required.
Position the top so it overhangs all sides equally. Drive screws through the pocket holes on the inside of the rails. Temporarily remove one centre side rail to slide the shelves in then secure with screws and replace the rail.
Use a mitresaw to cut the trim to length with opposing mitres on both ends. Secure the first piece using panel pins spaced at 200mm centres and work around the top and shelves, measuring and cutting as you go.
Lightly sand using a random orbital sander with 180 grit discs then round over the corners of the trim. Wipe clean then apply two coats of clear polyurethane using a foam roller and brush. Sand lightly between coats.
Turn the workbench upside down and position 50mm castors on the end of the legs. Drill 1.5mm pilot holes and secure each castor with pan head screws. Secure hooks and clips to the rails for holding tools and accessories.