The Dirt

A Potting Table with a Twist – Project Plan

Step-by-step plan for building the 'Potting Table with a Twist' from Issue 159

There are several different ways to build a unique potting table that incorporates a vintage sink or bathtub. The following are the steps I followed to construct my table.

Matthew Smith owns Smith’s Carpentry, Roofing, and Remodeling in East Lyme, Connecticut.


  • 6-8 foot long pressure treated) 2x4s
  • 1 pound box of 2 ½” exterior grade screws
  • 1 pound box of 1 ½” exterior grade screws
  • 4 –12 foot long pieces of 1×8” #3 shiplap cut pine
  • A small tube of construction adhesive (Liquid Nails or PL400 type product)
  • A sink 


  • Power drill/cordless drill with screw driver tip and counter sink bit
  • Circular saw
  • Jig saw
  • Carpenters speed square
  • Tape measure


  1. Make a 2 foot by 4 foot rectangle out of the 2x4s. Cut one of the 8-foot 2x4s in half to give you two 4-foot pieces for the length of the bench. For the pieces that give the 2 foot depth (front to back) cut one of the other 8 foot 2x4s into two 21 inch pieces.   
  2. Use the 2 ½”screws to fasten all of the 2×4 framing pieces together. The short sides should be fastened to the inside of the long sides. This completes the 2 foot by 4 foot table top frame.
  3. Cut four 3-foot sections of 2x4s for the legs of the table (that’s about countertop height, so you have the flexibility to go a little shorter or taller depending on what you prefer).
  4. Use the 2 ½”screws to fasten the legs to the inside corners of the previously assembled top. Use a carpenter’s square when you fasten the legs to the top to keep things straight (90 degrees). 
  5. To build the bottom frame of the table, cut two 18 inch pieces of  2×4 and fasten them to the legs about 2 feet down from the bottom of the top of the bench (AKA the top frame). This starts locking all four legs together for stability.
  6. Cut two 42 inch pieces of 2×4 and fasten them to the 18 inch pieces and to all four legs to finish your lower frame and totally lock all four legs together. 
  7. Using some of your leftover 2×4 scrap pieces, cut a 45 degree angle on one end, hold it against one of the legs about 8-10 inches down from the top, trace a line against the top frame, then cut four pieces. On the back two legs, fasten two of these angle braces in each direction to add stability.
  8. Fasten pine ship lap boards using the 1 ½” screws to the top frame and the lower frame trimming to fit where needed.
  9. Take your sink, flip it upside down, and position it on top of the bench (I suggest all the way to one side—because that leaves a workspace). Trace the outside edge of the sink top. Measure the overhang of the sink top where it will set on top of the table and adjust your line inwards from the line you traced compensating for the lip of the sink.
  10. Drill a starter hole in one corner of the outlined sink area and use the jigsaw to cut the hole out for your sink.
  11. Before you set your sink, put an extra 2×4 brace in to support the sink if either end is not supported by the outside frame of the top.
  12. Put a bead of your construction adhesive (thick enough for the sink top to contact it completely) and then set your sink down into the hole.
  13. Allow the recommended dry time before moving the table around too much or using it.

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