Pocket Screw or Corner Brace Top Attachment

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Forum topic by splinterking posted 04-12-2013 09:10 PM 1637 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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67 posts in 2240 days

04-12-2013 09:10 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi I’m trying to decide between using corner braces or pocket screws to attach a workbench top. I’m retrofitting a bench my dad built about 40 years ago. It’s basically just 2×4’s and the top was shot so I’ve made a 3 piece sandwich of MDF which will get hardwood edging and then hardboard like Norm would do. I just can decided how to attach it. I think the corner braces would have the advantage of having more points of contact, but the pocket screws would be a lot less expensive and I could do more of them. Would just like some feedback to help me decide. My big concern with all of it is the screws could get loose in MDF real easy so I’d like to minimize movement as much as possible.

Also I know this really isn’t “joinery” in a tradition sense, but I didn’t see a better category.

-- "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." ~Mark Twain

5 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


5552 posts in 3866 days

#1 posted 04-12-2013 09:14 PM

splinterking—I would go with the corner braces. IMO, pocket screws wouldn’t have the strength, and my experience with pocket screws in MDF is something less that satisfactory.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View splinterking's profile


67 posts in 2240 days

#2 posted 04-12-2013 09:57 PM

@TheDane: Yeah thats kind of what I thought. I’ve never used them in mdf, but I had an intuition that might be the case. This was going to be a cheap, quick project that’s turn in to a week and just a little more money each day :)

-- "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." ~Mark Twain

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3174 days

#3 posted 04-12-2013 10:46 PM

I don’t know what the legs are, 2×4s?, 4×4s?, something else?, but would it be possible to attach legs with big tenons, loose tenons, or dowels.
I could see a 2×2 loose tenon glued in the top of a 4×4 leg and then glued into a mortise in the top as being super strong; even in MDF. And you most likely have the material you need in your scrap bin.

I suggest this because that’s kinda the way I built my bench, except it’s multilayer plywood, but it’s strong enough to support a house.

View sixstring's profile


296 posts in 2446 days

#4 posted 04-12-2013 10:58 PM

Since you are sandwiching 3 pieces of mdf… take the bottom 2 layers and cut out holes to match the top of the legs (if possible) and you’ve got yourself a mortise and tenon’ish joint. Or with a tablesaw or router, make a tenon on the top of the leg and then cut through all 3 layers of the top and you’ve got yourself a thru-tenon… The 1st option is way less work and i think it would be pretty darn strong paired with an apron or somekind of lateral support for the legs.

Having built my own assembly table / TS outfeed table with MDF and pocket holes… I really wish I came up with this idea sooner but I may end of doing it down the line. Something to think about…

-- JC Garcia, Concord, CA : "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission..."

View splinterking's profile


67 posts in 2240 days

#5 posted 04-13-2013 12:09 AM

Those are both good suggestions, but the way my dad built it originally it not exactly a standard design. The skirting comes up flush to the top of the legs. So my options are a little limited.

-- "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." ~Mark Twain

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