This assembly table is built to keep everything I used most often close at hand while building and finishing! It has a "rough" side where I keep common tools, screws, clamps, joinery aids, etc.. the "finish" side carries finishes, brushes, cloths, stand offs, paint sprayers, etc. And each end holds a lot of clamps or the power tools I constantly use, my drill, driver, and brad nailer!
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Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools
Plans are available for this project at my website here!
For this project I used:
- 4 Sheets of 1/2" Plywood
- 1/2 Sheet of 3/4" Plywood
- 15' of 1x2 scrap Walnut
- 12 sets of 16" Drawer slides
- F-Clamp Racks
- Quick Clamp Racks
- Leveling Feet
Primary Tools Used
Step 2: Break Down Plywood
The cut off of the guide is pretty clean, but I still prefer the finish and accuracy of cuts at my table saw. So I use the track saw to break everything down close to dimension and into easy to handle pieces, then cut to final size at the table saw.
Step 3: Make the Bottoms
I’m using 1/2” plywood to keep cost and weight down. However, 1/2” plywood is a lot less rigid than 3/4” so I’m using some different techniques in this build to make sure I don’t end up with a sagging bench.
The bottoms are a great example, normally I'd use a solid sheet, but instead I frame these out like a wall to make them more rigid.
Step 4: Add the Middle Support and Sides
The main box will be held together with screws and pocket holes, so I drill the pocket holes before I start assembling. First is attaching the bases to the middle support. I screw them together from both sides taking care not to accidentally run the screws into each other.
Next comes the sides. They’re attached the the bottom pieces with screws from the inside so they won’t be seen, and pocket holes from the middle support. I take extra time to make sure I’m assembling everything square to each other to minimize headaches later.
Step 5: Install Cleats to Support the Top
I install cleats between the sides and dividers. They serve three purposes. They help keep the frame square, they provide strength to the top, and they provide a way of securing the top to the base.
Step 6: Build the Drawers
The horizontal drawers are basically trays of varying sizes. I glue and screw side pieces to a base.
The vertical drawers are a bit different, but very understandable if you look at the pictures. They'll be used to store glue and some tools.
Step 7: Install Vertical Drawers
To mount the drawers I’m using full extension ball bearing slides. These are affordable if you buy bulk packs.
I like to install slides by taking them apart and screwing them to the carcass, them putting them back together and sliding the drawer into place and adding two screws in the front of the drawer. Then take the drawer out and put in more screws.
Step 8: Install Dividers
To make sure the dividers that the middle drawers will mount to are square, I cut spacer blocks and use them to keep consistent spacing from the box sides as I screw the dividers into place.
To get the proper location, I set the drawers with sliders in place to determine where the dividers some be located.
Step 9: Install Horizontal Drawers
I use the same method to install the middle drawers as the vertical drawers. But my jig won’t fit for the first drawer, so I just use to offcuts to equally space the first slides and drawer off the bottom.
Step 10: Install the Top
I used 3/4” plywood for this for the rigidity and because I’ll be setting t-track into it. I’ll talk more about the t-track at the end of the video. A lot of folks opt to cut dados for t-track with a router. But, my table top is pretty manageable at 3’x4’ so I decided to do it at the table saw, it’s less set up time and the dust collection is way better. The trick was doing lots of test cuts to get the thickness of the dado stack and the depth of cut correct.
Then I attached the top to the base by screwing through the cleats I installed earlier.
Step 11: Edge Band the Top
I wanted to add some edge banding to clean up the appearance of the table. I used some scrap walnut I had leftover from a previous project, I’m going to be looking at this nearly every day, so why not treat myself.
I ripped the walnut down to size and installed it using glue and brad nails. I mitered the corners to hide the end grain. The trick to good miters is to verify your saw is set to the right angle with test cuts, and then sneak up on the proper length for each piece.
You might be wondering why I didn’t install the edge banding before cutting the dadoes for the t-track. Well, I didn’t want to wait for the glue to dry to worry about hitting a brad nail with my dado blade. If I fumbled with the table top, I didn’t want to worry about breaking off the edge banding. And lastly, I thought it’d be easier to get the top aligned in place without the edge banding on because it conceals the top of the base.
The only downside to adding the edge banding later is that I had to extend the dados into the edge banding. I thought the simplest and fastest way would just be to do it by hand. So I busted out my pull saw and chisels and went to town, it only took about 10 minutes.
Step 12: Install Drawer Fronts
Now I take a pause from the top to work on the drawer fronts. I cut them all from a single piece of plywood to have a sort of continuous grain. I started on one side and worked my way across, planning for a 1/8” gap between the drawers.
I attached the drawer fronts using CA glue and activator to hold it in place, and then drove 3/4” screws from the inside to permanently attach them.
I used a 1 1/4” forstner bit to drill a thumb hole in the drawer fronts to open them. A backer board clamped in place helped prevent tear out on the backside.
Step 13: Sand and Finish
Next everything received a 220 sanding before I started installing the t-track. I finished with polyurethane and several coats of paste wax to keep glue and paint from sticking to the top.I installed the intersections for the t-track first, then I could cut the runs to fit. The t-track is made from aluminum which is soft enough to cut with wood tools, so I cut these at my miter station and screwed everything into place. I put the t-track in before finish so I wouldn’t have to worry about it the finish building up in the dados and interfering with the fit.I installed the intersections for the t-track first, then I could cut the runs to fit. The t-track is made from aluminum which is soft enough to cut with wood tools, so I cut these at my miter station and screwed everything into place. I put the t-track in before finish so I wouldn’t have to worry about it the finish building up in the dados and interfering with the fit.
Step 14: Install Accessories
I installed the intersections for the t-track first, then I could cut the runs to fit. The t-track is made from aluminum which is soft enough to cut with wood tools, so I cut these at my miter station and screwed everything into place.
Sash pulls on one end act as hangers for my drill, driver, and brad nailer - which I use all the time.
I used Rockler clamp racks for my F-Style and Quick Clamps, and scrap plywood for my spring clamps.
Step 15: Use and Enjoy!
The concept behind the storage in this bench is to have a rough side, and a finish side. The rough side will have storage for my most commonly used cordless tools and accessories, joinery kits, clamps, glues, screws, stuff like that. The other side will have finishes, brushes, foam brushes, wiping cloths, sand paper, sanders, painters triangles, paint sprayers.. I’m sure you get the idea. Then on each end I’ll store the tools I reach for most often, and my smaller clamps.
Don't forget that if you're interested in plans I have them available on my website.
Thanks for reading and following along!
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