Step 5: Drill Holes for the Dowels

drilling dowel holes for a picnic bench
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Clamp the center rail to your work surface, and clamp the jig to the rail, flush along one edge, as shown. Mark a -inch twist bit with tape so that it will penetrate 1-inch into the workpiece. Drill both holes, shift the jig to line up with the other edge, and drill another pair. (Each joint takes two pairs of dowels.) Repeat the process on the ends of all the rails. To drill matching dowel holes on the edges of the stiles, line up the jig flush with the end of each stile and just inside each register mark.
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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