Step 7: Drill Pilot Holes

drilling pilot holes with the TruFit step bit
Photo: Ryan Benyi
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Use a combination square to mark pilot holes on the faces of the longer boards, inch from the ends and ½ inch from the top and bottom edges. At each mark, use a -inch bit to drill through the face and into the end of the adjacent board. Switch to the TruFit step bit and enlarge the pilot holes to accept the Miller dowels. Blow out the sawdust with a compressor or a drinking straw—a vacuum won't cut it.

Tip: Use a square wood scrap to keep the drill bit on target (as shown), and to help keep the pilot hole straight and level.
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    Tools List

    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • bar clamp
      36-inch bar clamps. At least three
    • finish hammer
      Hammer
    • belt sander
      Belt sander
    • random orbit sander
      Random-orbit sander
    • combination square
      Combination square
    • jigsaw
      Jigsaw
    • brad nailer
      Brad nailer
    • drill
      Drill/driver
    • TruFit step bit
      Miller 2x TruFit step drill bit
    • flush cut saw
      Flush-cutting saw
    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • multi-bit screwdriver
      Screwdriver

    Shopping List

    1. Red oak 1x4s to build the box. Get six 8-footers.

      2. Red oak 1x6s Get two 6-footers for the base and one 8-footer for the lid.

      3. ½-inch oak plywood for the floor. Get a 2-by-4-foot sheet.

      4. Miller 2x dowels in black walnut. Go to Miller Dowel Company.

      5. Torsion hinges

      6. 1-inch brad nails

      7. 1-inch deck screws

    8. 1½-inch deck screws

    9. 80-grit, 180-grit, and 220-grit sandpaper

    10. Stain and finish of your choice

    11. Wood glue