Hints and Tips #9: Occasional Pocket Hole Joinery

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Blog entry by Dave Rutan posted 08-27-2015 01:11 AM 2253 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Pencil Extender Part 9 of Hints and Tips series Part 10: Template Sawing on the Table Saw »

While I cannot be called a die hard fan of pocket hole joinery, I’ll admit it has some uses. Such a use came about today as I was completing a project (to be posted in a day or two). This method of making pocket holes without an expensive jig I saw in a video by Steve Carmichael. (the link starts the video right at the part I’m talking about).

[Above] These are the tools I used to do this procedure. Your choices may vary. I’m using a 3/8 inch spade bit, 1/8 in. twist drill and 2 in. bugle head deck screws. [Below] Even though I used bugle headed deck screws, I put a small washer on each one so that they wouldn’t just crank on through and split the wood. It worked.

[Below] Having marked a spot about 1-1/2 in. from the edge of my board, I drilled in with a 3/8 in. spade bit. As you go in (slowly) start angling the drill towards the piece you want to attach to. Drill in until the hole is ’deep enough to take the screw head and the washer’, about 1/2 inch.

[Below] Now switch to the twist drill and drill a pilot hole along the same angle.

[Below] As you might expect, now you screw in the screw. I did mine by hand so that I could feel when it was tight enough. I didn’t plug the holes, but that is an option.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

3 comments so far

View Oldtool's profile


3163 posts in 3195 days

#1 posted 08-27-2015 01:33 AM

Agreed, not a fan of pocket hole joinery, but there is a place for each method of work. I have a book on the furniture of Pleasant Hill village, where pocket holes were used by the Shakers over a century ago, to make furniture. To each his own.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

2008 posts in 3193 days

#2 posted 08-27-2015 01:43 AM

One of the reasons (or perhaps the only reason) I’m using these is that it’s reversible. I highly doubt the reversibility will be needed, but I wanted the option. The reason will be clear in the project, which I hope to post tomorrow before Lunch. Basically I’m adding on to a purchased unit, but trying to be as invisible as possible about it.

As far as the Shakers go, many folks think they were quaint traditionalists, but actual they forged right into the 20th century. Efficiency was the name of the game for them. Isn’t a shaker credited with the invention of the circular saw? Hmm. [I found this article]

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View robscastle's profile


7732 posts in 3209 days

#3 posted 08-27-2015 10:15 AM

Hmm interesting stuff all round Dave.

A very quick way to strip out pocket screws is to use a power drill or rattle gun to fix them, nothing like the feel of a hand applied torque with a screwdriver.

-- Regards Rob

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