All of the joints on the table and benches are achieved with screws. To do this, jigs are required to hold the leg and rail components in their proper position as the screws are being driven home.
There is one more important point — although it seems almost too basic to mention — there must be holes bored for the screws to work as they should.
Taking these steps will ensure that the joints close tightly.
While the location of the various screw holes must be sufficiently accurate to hold the pieces together, they are hidden from view, so don’t fret over exact placement.
Joining the Bench Parts
Two benches provide the seating for this set. The subassembly and final assembly of the structural parts is novel in its finality, both figuratively and practically. At this stage, each piece has been shaped and polished. There are simply too many pieces to align, control and assemble freehand.
The solution is a jig — actually, two jigs. One is used to make the subassembly of a front leg, a back leg and their two rails, which form the end frames. The other is needed to join these frames to the long rails. As is often the case with joinery, its elemental nature exacerbates tiny errors in alignment. The jigs required for these components are not difficult to make, but they will be the difference between a well-made bench and something that is inaccurate and a frustration to assemble.
The idea is simple. You need a base made from 3/4″ sheetstock that is larger than the subassembly. Screwed and glued to the base are buttresses onto which the legs and rails are positioned and clamped. Once the parts are clamped in place, complete the pre-drilling process by boring the pilot holes. Next, you drive home the screws. Note that there are four 1/8″-thick spacers that lift the rails off of the surface of the base. This accommodates the radius formed onto the edges of the legs. The second jig positions the long seat rails to the leg frame subassembly.