Step 2: Rout the Rails

making a rabbet with a router for a picnic bench
Photo: Kolin Smith
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To keep the clamps out of the router's path, angle a rail across the corner of your work surface. Clamp a straightedge to your work surface, as shown, to allow your router to cut a ¾-inch-wide by ½-inch-deep channel. Chuck a ¾-inch straight bit in your router. Start at inch deep and make several passes, adjusting the bit as you go, until the rabbet is a full ½ inch deep. Repeat the process on the opposite rail. For the center rail, create a rabbet along both edges.
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    Tools List

    • 30-foot tape measure
      Measuring tape
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • adjustable clamp
      Clamps
    • straight edge
      Straightedge
    • router
      Router with a ¾-inch straight bit
    • bar clamp
      Bar clamps
    • combination square
      Combination square
    • 3/8-inch doweling jig
      -inch doweling jig. Go to Rockler
    • drill
      Drill/driver
    • 3/8-inch twist bit
      -inch twist bit
    • 1/8-inch bit with combination countersink
      -inch bit with a combination countersink
    • 1/8-inch twist bit
      -inch twist bit
    • circular saw
      Circular saw

    Shopping List

    1. 5/4x4. Get three 8-footers for the benches and one 10-footer for the table.

    2. 5/4x6. Get two 8-footers for the benches and seven 10-footers for the table.

    3. 5/4x10. Get one 6-footer for the table.

    4. -by-2-inch spiral-cut

    5. wood dowels

    6. exterior-grade wood glue

    7. ¾-inch brass or stainless-steel screws

    8. 1½-inch deck screws