How to - Projects

Build a multi-purpose dry sink and potting table

Aldona Satterthwaite
Photography by
Roger Yip

Repotting jobs and cleanups are a breeze with this handy table

I suppose it's un-Canadian to say so, but I'm pretty darned proud of this all-purpose dry sink/potting/seed starter/beer cooler/display table, which sits snugly under the windows of my roughly 2.4-metre-square sun porch. Its six sturdy legs safely support heavy potted plants. The shelf below provides stability and storage space. The galvanized metal lining and stainless-steel kitchen drain make plant saucers unnecessary. And it's a great worktable. Repotting jobs and cleanups are a breeze—soil and water can be whisked away down the drain. Or, remove plants, place a heating pad or electrical coil on the bottom (running the plug through the drain) and voila! A perfect spot for seedling trays. You can also transform the table into an indoor garden by filling it with sandy soil and river stones and planting it up with cacti and succulents, or carry it outside, fill it with ice and use it to keep beer or what-have-you cold and handy during a garden party.

Getting started

Sink bottom3/4" x 14" x 72"Birch-veneered plywood1
Front and back rails3/4" x 5" x 74" Birch-veneered plywood 2
Side rails3/4" x 5" x 14" Birch-veneered plywood 2
Shelf3/4" x 9 ¾" x 69" Birch-veneered plywood 2
Legs1 ½" x 1 ½" x 26 ¼" Pine6
Legs crosspieces1 ½" x 1 ½" x 10 ¾"Pine6
Edge banding13/16" x 50' roll Birch veneer1
Sink liner19 ¼" x 77 ¼" 22-gauge metal flashing 1
Sink drain assembly4"1
Screws#8 x 1 ½" 38
Screws#10 x 2 ½" 12.
Washer-head#8 x 9/16" 20

The main components are three 8' lengths of 2” x 2” pine and a half-sheet of birch-veneered plywood, which is cheaper and more stable than solid wood and takes paint or stain better than standard plywood. Cut the materials yourself or have the building centre do it for you.

Pro finishing tips
Before assembling the table, finish the plywood edges with edge-banding, a product sold in rolls with heat-activated adhesive on one side. Apply the edge-banding using an iron set on high. Heat the banding until adhesive melts, then go over each section with the shaft of a screwdriver to ensure a good bond. Continue this process until entire edge is banded, then carefully trim it flush to plywood surface with a razor blade or edge trimmer.

The sink
Measure and mark a line on each side piece three inches from its top edge. Drill and countersink the holes for the screws, then run a bead of glue along the edge of the sink bottom and screw the side in using the reference line as a guide. Repeat this process for the other side, then front and back pieces. Hide screw heads with solid wood plugs inserted into counter-sunk screw holes. These plugs can be bought ready-made.

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