Not feeling the love for pocket screws

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Brogan

New User
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Tried out the Kreg jig yesterday and I'm not impressed.

I tested it on a couple of scrap pieces of 2x4.

The actual thickness is 1 1/2" so I set the jig to the maximum of 1 1/2" and used 2 1/2" screws.

The point of the screw is well above the center line of the wood and barely 1/4" screw protrudes - I can't see how that would ever be a decent joint.

I haven't yet tried it on thinner stock - which is what I actually bought it for (e.g. framing), so hopefully it works better.
 

Steve_Honeycutt

Chat Administartor
Steve
Corporate Member
Brogan,

Pocket hole screws are not as strong as many of the other wood joints, such as mortise and tenon, dovetails, etc. You can see tests with actual breaking strength at the following website:

https://woodgears.ca/joint_strength/pockethole.html

Pocket hole screws are comparable in strength to dowel joinery.

Where I have found pocket hole screws to excel is the speed of the joinery. Pocket hole screws can make cutting and mounting face frames much quicker than most joinery types. I built a large entertainment center with pocket hole screws several years ago and I have had no problems. Pocket hole screws are not for every situation or everyone, but I will use them again.

Steve
 

Brogan

New User
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Yes, I too bought it primarily for face framing and other similar applications so I'm hoping they work better there.
 

koslonc

New User
Jeff
I've used pockets screws on 1.5" material plenty of times and the 2.5" screws protrude plenty more than the 1/4" you state. Are you sure you adjusted the collar on the drill bit to the 1.5" setting in addition to the drill guide itself?
 

KenOfCary

Board of Directors, Secretary
Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
I'm also not a big fan of pocket hole joinery but it comes in handy sometimes. Be sure and use the correct screws for the wood you're using. Soft wood needs course threads and hard wood needs the finer threads. That can make a big difference.
 

beloitdavisja

James
Corporate Member
I had the same impression Jeff did - if the screw is only protruding 1/4" then something must not be setup right.

FWIW, Steve Ramsey has a good video on pocket hole joinery here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvO6zaIUO18
It has a lot of great tips on how to set things up, and some mistakes that you can make (e.g. having the pocket hole screw into end grain rather than face grain). I would skip to the 1:36 minute mark to skip some basic intro stuff.
 

zapdafish

Steve
Senior User
i use them on glue ups so I don't have to wait for glue to dry before continuing. Mainly used on shop cabs and carts.
 

redknife

Chris
Corporate Member
Agree that something isn't right in the setup or execution. Pocket hole joinery is just one of many joinery techniques. It is neither good or bad, just a tool in the box. A ton of people use these for face frames and like them just fine. As an aside, Kreg makes the HD jig and HD screws for more structural integrity when joining 2x4's. Of course there are settings in the standard jig for nominal 2x4. I think a woodworker needs to develop an array of joinery techniques, each with its own nuance and skillset. Each joinery technique takes at least some practice. I think you'll find that rechecking your set up and practicing a bit will change your view.
 

garymuto

New User
Gary
I like using the pocket hole jig and screws. It's great, especially wehnI have to do work on site as opposed to my shop. I only use then where they can't be seen so I never used plugs
 

Brogan

New User
.
I've used pockets screws on 1.5" material plenty of times and the 2.5" screws protrude plenty more than the 1/4" you state. Are you sure you adjusted the collar on the drill bit to the 1.5" setting in addition to the drill guide itself?
Well I thought I had and I even double checked to make sure.

However ... it was very late when I was messing around (midnight) and the single bulb in the garage didn't help. (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!)

I checked again earlier and I was at the wrong end of the scale for the collar.

Problem solved!
It now works as expected.

Thanks for the input everyone - I knew there was something not right having watched the video about how it should look.
 

beloitdavisja

James
Corporate Member
Always some small detail, especially at midnight! Glad you got it figured out. I really liked the visual explanations in that video.
 

sawman101

Bruce Swanson
Corporate Member
I too am glad you have the Kreg Jig working properly. Many years back i bought the Kreg Jig, just after they went from metal to plastic construction. I've used it for many applications over the years, and have been pleased with the results, if I set it up correctly. I hope it brings more versatility to your construction methods, even though traditional joints are stronger. :rolf:
 

drw

Donn
Corporate Member
Happy to learn that you figured out the issue. While I don't use pocket hole joinery on all my projects, I do frequently find it to be useful, quick and strong.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I don't use a Kreg jig but I do use pocket screws - when the appearance is not an issue. I made a bunch of shop drawers, for instance, with pocket screws and they work fine. I used dovetails on others and I like them better but they work the same.

My way of setting the depth is just to put the drill bit into the jig before I put it in the drill. If the collar needs moved, I take care of it. I set it so that the bit almost touches the base of the jig (mine is aluminum). Only takes a minute.

Pocket screws are fast and pretty strong. And ugly. But in my shop, all fasteners have their place. I have a cabinet to build for a seldom used bathroom and will probably staple those drawers together - because it is quick and adequately strong. I plan to use readily available 1/2 inch plywood which I don't think I can dovetail. But the drawers should be completely functional with glue and a few staples in each corner. Not really pretty either but better than pocket screws.

Kreg has a booklet about making cabinets with pocket screws where the screws don't show.
 

patlaw

Mike
Corporate Member
They don't work well for me, either. I only use pine, and I use the coarse threads. It seems that they always strip out. There are many recommendations not to use a drill driver to bottom out the screw, but that seems a little silly and counter productive. I'm off to watch Steve's video to see what else I might be doing wrong.
 

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
Yes, I too bought it primarily for face framing and other similar applications so I'm hoping they work better there.
This^.

I see guys building all kinds of stuff - cabinets, drawers, etc. with PS's but they are actually one of the weakest joinery methods for structural applications, especially in plywood where the screw is prone to strip out.

Unless you're gluing and basically using PH's for clamps, I would never build anything with them.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
I only use pine, and I use the coarse threads. It seems that they always strip out. There are many recommendations not to use a drill driver to bottom out the screw, but that seems a little silly and counter productive.
That's popped up here a few times and that problem results from over torquing the screw so you want to kind of sneak up on it.

A drill driver is fine just turn the torque adjustment knob down to lightly seat the screw and finish by hand with a screw driver. The low torque recommendation is at about 6 minutes in the Ramsey video.
 
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