Reply by JBrow

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Posted on Window bench: Pocket hole vs more crude method

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1368 posts in 1777 days

#1 posted 07-25-2016 03:14 AM


A sketch would have been helpful, but I think I understand your project and questions. My understanding is the 3 horizontal 2×4s will support what I presume to be ¾” thick plywood seat. The pocket hole method would have the horizontal planks butted up to the wall cleats and the tops flush. Pocket screws would hold the horizontal planks in place. In the second method, the wall cleats are set 3-1/2” lower than in the pocket screw method and the horizontal 2×4s set on edge atop the wall cleats.

Either method would probably work, but since the time may come when two or more people may be seated at the window, I would tend toward the second option. The pocket screw method would require fairly exactly cut lengths of the horizontal members to minimize any gaps at the ends of the horizontal members. A good friction fit of each horizontal member would, I think, be best for pocket screws. The strength of the seat support structure would rely on the strength of the pocket screws and the wood surrounding the holes drilled in the horizontal members. I assume the horizontal members would be oriented with the edges of the horizontal members up and down (similar to floor joist orientation).

The alternative stacking method eliminates reliance on the strength of the screws and surrounding wood of the pocket screw method. Also cutting the horizontal members to an exact length is not nearly as critical. In-filling the gap between the horizontal members with 2×4s between the horizontal members and setting atop the wall cleats would provide additional support of the plywood seat decking at the edges. This in-filling may or may not be necessary, but I would add the perimeter support to be sure.

A 54” open span seems a little long to me without any center supporting structure. With enough weight on the seat, some sagging could occur. I hate re-visiting a project I thought I had finished to make repairs. Although you may get by with just one center support, I would err on the side of too much support rather than perhaps not enough. Were it my project, I would probably support the 54” span every 16”, although every 24” would may be enough.

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