Holding strength of pocket hole joinery

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Forum topic by pingpingpang posted 12-12-2012 08:04 AM 3685 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 2263 days

12-12-2012 08:04 AM

I’m planning on doing a project that will involve using pocket hole joinery to connect a sheet of 3/4 Oak plywood to 1×4 Oak boards (as stair tread edge) for stair treads. Those stair treads will be connected on top of the old treads by liquid nail. I am just wondering if pocket hole joinery has enough holding strength. Or I just have a bad idea.

18 replies so far

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Monte Pittman

30220 posts in 2608 days

#1 posted 12-12-2012 09:57 AM

Should work. Don’t be cheap with number of screws used though.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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1328 posts in 3250 days

#2 posted 12-12-2012 10:02 AM

You may have issue with the overall rise of the tread. I looked into doing exactly that but was advised the additional rise created by the thickness of the new boards could create a trip hazard. Perhaps those providing the information were being a little over cautious, however they were building professionals.

Perhaps you should seek guidance on this…..just a thought!

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

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Rick Dennington

6378 posts in 3465 days

#3 posted 12-12-2012 02:12 PM


-- " At my age, happy hour is a 2 hour nap".....!!

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3241 days

#4 posted 12-12-2012 03:03 PM

If you add 3/4” to the top of every step there is no increase in the rise except the first and last treads will have more or less rise than all the others. All the rest of the steps are the same relative to each other.

Building code usually requires no more than a 1/4” difference in any step within a stair. It can be made stricter by local codes.

I have been living in my house for 36 years and just discovered a couple years ago that the steps between my great room and the rest of the house are almost 1” different from top to bottom in both rise and run. Never knew it till I went to replace carpeted steps with hardwood and had to cut new risers and treads. I think the trip hazard must be over rated.

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 2961 days

#5 posted 12-12-2012 04:23 PM

Pocket hole joinery with glue is plenty strong for that situation.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View a1Jim's profile


117468 posts in 3847 days

#6 posted 12-12-2012 04:33 PM

ditto Earlextech’s

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3918 days

#7 posted 12-12-2012 05:04 PM

If I am visualizing this well, you’d be driving pocket screws
into the back side of the plywood with the points coming
through and pointed at the flush corner of the solid oak
lipping. There won’t be a lot of material there to shape
without running into screw ends.

Gluing alone is sufficiently strong, but nails or countersunk
and plugged screws through the front edge allow one
to forgo a lot of work with clamps.

I would not do it with pocket screws, personally.

View pingpingpang's profile


12 posts in 2263 days

#8 posted 12-12-2012 05:12 PM

Thanks for all replies.
Basically I want to put two pieces wood together by using kreg pocket hole jig and glue in order to get a stair tread. The edge of a stair will be 3.5 inch oak.

And Building code is now my concern.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3918 days

#9 posted 12-12-2012 05:25 PM

The veneer on ply is very thin and not rated for
flooring and will not hold up.

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12 posts in 2263 days

#10 posted 12-12-2012 05:33 PM

You are right. I may need to change my plan

View DS's profile (online now)


3058 posts in 2691 days

#11 posted 12-12-2012 05:36 PM

Also, keep in mind that most fasteners are only there to hold things until the glue dries.

Glue isn’t typically an optional accessory. (Just don’t tell some of those production guys.)

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View MrRon's profile


5364 posts in 3514 days

#12 posted 12-12-2012 10:45 PM

I would not use oak plywood or any plywood for that matter. The veneer on the plywood is much too thin to stand up to foot traffic.

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

509 posts in 2310 days

#13 posted 12-12-2012 10:51 PM

Good catch Loren, I wasn’t even thinking of that either, but you are right.

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3239 days

#14 posted 12-12-2012 11:01 PM

Could you not use some semi solid flooring instead for the treads?

Just on the pocket screws, I recently ‘dismantled’ an early bookcase I made which was put together with pocket screws. It took some full on blows with 20oz Estwing to take apart and the material broke before the joints did in a couple of places, if that gives you an idea of their strength.

View pingpingpang's profile


12 posts in 2263 days

#15 posted 12-12-2012 11:11 PM

I will use my solid flooring for wood treads.

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