Pockethole question: wood types

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Forum topic by AwlThat posted 12-07-2018 02:58 PM 614 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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49 posts in 858 days

12-07-2018 02:58 PM

I was wondering about the use of pockethole joinery with different kinds of wood.

I’ve seen them used plywood to plywood (Ron Paulk’s workbench is a good example) and then of course, plywood to 2×4’s (I know, a 2×4 is not a type of wood).

What I’m getting at is, I want to build a workbench and I plan to make the top similar to Paulk’s design and I’m going to use a base of 2×4’s. Putting aside access issues when driving the screws, would it be better to add the pocketholes to the plywood and screw into the 2×4, or the other way around, or does it matter?

Since I’ve seen them used in plywood to plywood joints, it seems it wouldn’t matter if the plywood was the receiving wood, but my opinion is only based on what I’ve seen and not what I’ve tried.

8 replies so far

View Monty151's profile


86 posts in 613 days

#1 posted 12-07-2018 03:15 PM

Hey Awl,

I did something similar to what you are planning for my work bench. I drilled my pocket holes into the ply and drove the screws through to the 2×4. I felt that it would be better to have more material to “hold on” to.

Good luck with your build and have fun.

View DrDirt's profile


4614 posts in 4514 days

#2 posted 12-07-2018 03:18 PM

Agree with Monty – - -better screw bite in the 2X than the plywood,

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View AwlThat's profile


49 posts in 858 days

#3 posted 12-07-2018 03:35 PM

Thanks, guys.

I had the same idea that if given the choice, the beefier wood would be better for receiving the screw.

The plan for my new bench will be, like I said, a 2×4 base with a Paulk-style top. The unique part (well, unique in that I haven’t seen it on YouTube yet, lol) will be a flip up shelf within the top for my miter saw. When not is use, it will fold down into the table and will be covered by a slide-in piece of table top, similar to Dave Boelenski’s “Ulitimate Space Saving Workbench”, on YouTube. The fold-up shelf idea is not unique, but I haven’t seen one built into a Paulk-style table top.

I want to use Nick Ferry’s potting table/workbench base design, where he uses 4×4 legs with rabbits and half-laps and such. I want to use the same joinery, i.e. half-laps, for the pieces that will frame out the miter saw area.

Instead of a series of holes in the top, like Paulk’s workbench, I’m going to use the t-track system. Along the side where the miter saw will come out, the t-track will line up with the miter saw so that I can use the t-track stop blocks. The slide-out piece of table top will have the joining piece of t-track so that it can go along the length of the table when the miter saw is put away.

Grandiose ideas, but I can’t wait to give ‘em a try.

View Monty151's profile


86 posts in 613 days

#4 posted 12-07-2018 03:57 PM

Sounds like an interesting build. Make sure you share photos of it.

Build safe

View AwlThat's profile


49 posts in 858 days

#5 posted 12-07-2018 04:00 PM

Thanks. It won’t be until next spring, but I plan to document the experience and will definitely be sharing.

View tomsteve's profile


1037 posts in 1990 days

#6 posted 12-07-2018 07:32 PM

one thing ill add; if youre screwing into the pine use coarse thread PH screws.

View bondogaposis's profile


5787 posts in 3123 days

#7 posted 12-07-2018 07:52 PM

If you screw from the plywood to the 2×4 you can use longer screws.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View BigMig's profile


474 posts in 3385 days

#8 posted 12-07-2018 08:46 PM

As was said above – a CRITICAL issue is to be sure to use Coarse thread screws when screwing into soft woods and plywood; FINE screws for hardwoods.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

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