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Pocket Hole Right Angle Alignment Issues

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Forum topic by RobSC posted 08-04-2020 01:52 AM 623 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RobSC

12 posts in 2265 days


08-04-2020 01:52 AM

I have tried many things to keep boards in alignment while driving pocket screws in boards at right angles to each other. I’ve achieved little success. I’m at the stage of disgust now. I just tried brad nails with high hopes since I never tried that one before only to see the same resulting misalignment of boards as always as soon as I drove in the pocket hole screws.

I’ve got Kregs right angle clamp that fits into the pocket hole and it does help but unless the hole you are clamping into is right next to the hole you are screwing into, the boards still shift when the screw is driven home. I put my pocket holes fairly close together also, 6 inches probably. And then your only solution would be to bore two pocket holes side by side at each location so you could use the right angle clamp to generate the necessary clamping pressure to prevent misalignment.

The only good results I’ve had is when I used a clamp to apply pressure directly across the joint but I had to do it at every single pocket hole. This turns the process into a long and tedious chore that defeats the main selling point of pocket holes which is quick and easy.

I’m in the process of building the wood whisperer’s outfeed assembly table with torsion box. I’ve got the torsion box finished and am screwing together the base for it. I’m trying with the utmost care to keep everything in alignment for long term stability. All the casework has been cut out to a very high degree of accuracy and I felt sure that the brad nails would hold things in alignment while I drove in pocket screws. I was wrong.

This is more of a rant than anything. I’ve exhausted all the swear words I know. I have searched the internet on this topic quite a few times and haven’t yet found a solution.

Any tips would be appreciated.


29 replies so far

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Scap

127 posts in 774 days


#1 posted 08-04-2020 02:20 AM

This is why I abandoned pocket hole joinery a few years ago. It was maddening to say the least

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tyvekboy

2045 posts in 3861 days


#2 posted 08-04-2020 02:36 AM

The only thing I could suggest is to check the end of the board.

If the end of the board that the screw is going into is not cut square, when it is attached with the screw it will not be at right angles to the board that it is being screw to. If that’s the case …. you’re screwed.

It could be that your table saw blade is not perfectly set to 90 degrees to the table.

Hope this helps.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

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RobSC

12 posts in 2265 days


#3 posted 08-04-2020 02:46 AM

It’s not that the resulting angle is not 90 degrees. It’s that the two boards shift out of alignment while attaching them at 90 degrees to each other.

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SMP

2443 posts in 753 days


#4 posted 08-04-2020 02:48 AM

Definitely easier to just shoot a brad through the side into it, no shifting. I sometimes use pocket holes for face frames etc on cabinets, but for carcasses I gave up trying.

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Madmark2

1604 posts in 1436 days


#5 posted 08-04-2020 02:50 AM

Predrill several holes and don’t drive the screws tight all at once. Alternate tightening to balance the stresses. Clamp the bejabbers out of it when drilling.

Alternately use biscuits and glue.

If all else fails hit it with a big hammer ..

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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tyvekboy

2045 posts in 3861 days


#6 posted 08-04-2020 02:59 AM

If possible, have you tried clamping them together as if you were going to glue them up then driving the screws in?

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

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Craftsman on the lake

3467 posts in 4285 days


#7 posted 08-04-2020 03:42 AM

Clamp it… the screw, even iat an angle, won’t shift the wood. I’ve never had an issue with it and it’s my preferred method of joinery when possible.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

13471 posts in 3227 days


#8 posted 08-04-2020 05:57 AM

I’ve had that problem when I apply glue before screws. If that is the case try starting the screws, back out, add glue, then drive the screws all the way. Can also be cheap screws or insufficient clamping. Kreg makes a pocket hole clamp, I don’t have one, but it seems to work well for Steve Ramsay.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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CWWoodworking

1004 posts in 1026 days


#9 posted 08-04-2020 09:39 AM

Don’t use impact. Slow speed of drill. Use fine thread screws. Put pressure on work piece, less pressure on screw.

Pockets are not a perfect system. Nothing is. I would mix in biscuits with them. Or move to dado/staple/dowel/domino.

Edit-for just an out feed table, staple/glue/screw would be my preferred method. If engineered correctly, it’s plenty strong and fast.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6415 posts in 3341 days


#10 posted 08-04-2020 10:36 AM

Take a piece of sheet stock that’ maybe 2×2 in size, and glue 3/4” cleats to one corner….they need to be at 90˚ to form a fence. Then clamp your 2 frame pieces against them and fasten with the pocket screws.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Tony1212's profile

Tony1212

447 posts in 2582 days


#11 posted 08-04-2020 01:18 PM

I’ve found a 1/4” deep rabbet seems to keep things where they belong. Just a quick pass over a dado stack or router bit. I’ve even set up a palm router to easily route the sides of cabinets.

Clamping never seems to work for me. It seems the force of the screws is stronger than the force of the clamps and the boards still slide a bit. And clamping is very tough in the middle of two cabinet sides.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View Robert's profile

Robert

3932 posts in 2328 days


#12 posted 08-04-2020 01:28 PM

I’m not a pocket hole fan, but I do use them.

Yes, you have to clamp across the joint at every pocket hole. I usually just clamp straight across with a good sturdy clamp – no quick clamps!

I use a 12V standard cordless drill and set the clutch according to what material I’m using. In MDF I think its a good idea to seat the screw by hand. I’ve found that using an impact its very easy to over tighten.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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RobSC

12 posts in 2265 days


#13 posted 08-10-2020 02:03 AM

I had been using a 12v Dewalt impact driver in the past and didn’t think I was over tightening. I was so wrong. I went to a drill and set the clutch and my results were much better. I still had misalignments but nowhere near as bad. I clamped at every pocket hole location.

Rule 1 in pocket hole joinery is to never under any circumstance use an impact driver even if you think you are careful. Don’t do it.

I’m still getting to the point where I think pocket holes might be more trouble than they are worth. Glue and brads is a lot easier and quicker.

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AlaskaGuy

5984 posts in 3157 days


#14 posted 08-10-2020 02:31 AM



I had been using a 12v Dewalt impact driver in the past and didn t think I was over tightening. I was so wrong. I went to a drill and set the clutch and my results were much better. I still had misalignments but nowhere near as bad. I clamped at every pocket hole location.

Rule 1 in pocket hole joinery is to never under any circumstance use an impact driver even if you think you are careful. Don t do it.

I m still getting to the point where I think pocket holes might be more trouble than they are worth. Glue and brads is a lot easier and quicker.

- RobSC

My Milwaukee 18 volt fuel impact driver has 3 or 4 clutch setting. I put it on the lowest setting and it does just fine.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Jared_S's profile

Jared_S

396 posts in 807 days


#15 posted 08-10-2020 02:49 AM

Get a castle machine (or equivalent) that cuts a low angle pocket. It doesn’t stop creep completely but its night and day better then the kreg

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