Broke down and bought a Kreg pocket hole jig at Lowes today. Made a face
frame for a 3-drawer unit using 1X2 poplar..
Right out of the box, I was able to do very respectable work with it (with a
little practice I'm sure I'll do better) and the joints seemed to be
incredibly strong using carpenter's glue and the Kreg square drive screws.
Bought mine yesterday. Doesn't hurt to watch the video's they have
on the Kregtool.com site. They have the info on the "screw page"
for setting the distance for the stop collar on the drill bit, to get
the proper hole depth. Likewise, I've tried the plugs and they fit
really well too. If you continuously back the drill out to clear
out the waste material, and your running the drill at the correct
speed, you will get a really clean hole. I'm very pleased with
On Sun, 14 Nov 2004 02:47:29 GMT, "Chuck Hoffman"
I instinctively backed the bit out to clear the chips when the going got a
little tough. Haven't tried the plugs...all my pocket holes were on the
back side of the face frame.
I don't see why this system could not be used on fine solid wood furniture
as long as the screw pockets are in places they won't be seen...like between
a table apron and the top. Some of the end holes might have to be elongated
to allow for seasonal movement.
Maybe this system could be used on glue-ups in place of biscuits or dowels.
My immediate thought would be to alternate the pocket holes in the work
pieces at distances of 6-8 inches. I wonder, tho, if the oblique tension
would cause a wide glue-up like a table top to cup. Any thoughts?
There is really no need to do this as that type of join is long grain to
long grain and glue, and clamping, is more than sufficient for the purpose.
Dowels and biscuits are used mainly for alignment in that application, and
pocket holes joinery gives you no real advantage. On FF's, however, there is
an end grain situation and that is where use pocket hole joinery can help.
That said, pocket hole screws were not an uncommon way to attach a table top
to aprons throughout the last couple hundred years. Pieces abound where the
table tops were held on by "pockets" cut into the insides of the aprons
(with chisels, instead of drills), then the top fastened with screws through
the chiseled pockets.
I think the distinction with fine furniture is in the actual
construction. For example, a rail and stile in fine furinture
making would use a mortise and tennon joint or some other fancy joint.
You wouldn't cheat and use pocket holes. That's just my thoughts of
thinking about it for a few seconds. I guess it's a purest thing...
I have seen pocket holes used to join boards in a glue up. Lot's of
screws were used. I believe it was every four to six inches. But
have never tried this myself.
A few weeks back Norm on NYW mentioned that in some of his projects
where he used biscuit joints to join boards, an impression of the
biscuit pocket telegraphed through to the top. I guess you could see
or feel the depression.
Regardless of what approach you use. The screws, biscuits or even
splines are just an alignment tool. The strength is still in the
glue being used. Again that's just my opinion based on what I have
If the top is constructed nice and flat, and the grain is oriented
properly and it's properly supported, and secured with clips or a
fastener that allows for expansion, it should behave no different than
any other table top .
All that being said; there are others in this group with a lot more
experience than I have. I would think they would contribute to this
thread as necessary.
On Sun, 14 Nov 2004 21:27:50 GMT, "Chuck Hoffman"
They can be used for "great many" things other than
face frames. There has been probably a billion kitchen
cabinets assembled using pocket hole screws. They are
also wonderful for making bookcases and just about
anything dealing with plywood.
Using the correct screws, outdoor stuff is better with
pocket hole screws.
You should practice up on many projects with that cute
Chuck Hoffman wrote:
I've been using them (pocket screw joints) for furniture in place of
mortising. As long as the piece is built as a module (ie 4 sides, top
and shelf attached) it works great.
You can see an example at
I use pocket screws for all 4 cross members to legs at the top. I also
use pocket screws under the shelf into to lower cross members. In the
lower cross members I do use pocket screws but not in the typical
manner. I bore a hole up at 45 degrees from underneath so I don't see
or have to plug the pockets.
I have the luxury of a commerical pocket boring machine. It puts the
screws in at 7 degrees as opposed to the 15 degreees of the hand-Kreg
models. So I can blow through the joint prep for one of these tables
in a few minutes. And the 7 degree joints have less tendancy to want
to climb as you screw.
However, as I move to offereing these pieces as kits, I'm going to
invest in a multihead boring machine. I already use dowels for the
pickets and I'll go to an entirely doweled setup for the kit versions.
Dowels are a much stronger joint. The dowels will also offer a
positive alignment mechanisim. The pocket joints only give you and end
glued situation. Pretty much just enough strength to keep the joint
from seperating but the screws could rack loose over time. Dowels give
you real glue adhesion and a are esentailly a floating tenon that
won't ever loosen without a total break.
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