pocket jig and wood working, what do you think?

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Forum topic by Paul posted 03-28-2013 10:31 PM 1599 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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226 posts in 4062 days

03-28-2013 10:31 PM

There’s no question that pocket jiging a project speeds things up, I’ve used it.
BUT two identical projects one assembled with pocket screws and another assembled with joinery, Hands down the joinery project wins with me. The respect level for a project just drops when I see it full of pocket holes. There’s not much skill in it. For me, looking at other people’s work is very much about their joints.

16 replies so far

View sixstring's profile


296 posts in 2853 days

#1 posted 03-28-2013 10:59 PM

I wholeheartedly agree Paul. Just got a Kreg pockethole jig recently and have used it on a few projects. My take on it’s usefullness is that it gets a job done awfully quick. I think for basic outdoor furniture (just built a picnic table) it’s great. Also for hidden parts that doesnt get noticed. (Built a fancy display case and used poket hole joinery only for the hidden base. A mitred quartersawn oak veneer was applied over it, and for that purpose, the Kreg was awesome.

Wouldnt use it to build my dining table or any fine indoor furniture. Perhaps for kids furniture though… since they will outgrow it faster than I can cut a mortise and tenon. Just my 2 cents there.

The Kreg is also great for doing repairs to drawers, fences, old furniture. At least long enough until it can be properly fixed, if necessary.

-- JC Garcia, Concord, CA : "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission..."

View KelvinGrove's profile


2043 posts in 2523 days

#2 posted 03-28-2013 11:07 PM

Six string has hit the nail on the head. For utility it’s hard to beat…for art…it is a photo copier.

-- Tim P. Calhoun GA. If traffic is passing you on the right, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG DAMN LANE.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3895 days

#3 posted 03-28-2013 11:22 PM


It’s OK that you judge others work and skill simply by the joints they use to assemble their projects, but for me personally, I have used all types of joinery to build cabinets and furniture,(including pocket screws) and feel there can be a place or time to use any type joinery and it really has nothing to do with skill level.

Even though I don’t show many projects on my project page, there are a few projects on my page that I’ve actually used pocket screws in some of the assembly. No you don’t see them; even if you open the doors or open a drawer, but if you turn them upside down or tear them apart you will find where I used pocket screws.

I really don’t care for nails, brads or pin nails, and very seldom use that type fastener, but I realize there are times when they work.

Just my view point. : )

-- John @

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3895 days

#4 posted 03-28-2013 11:29 PM


Please go to my web-site and look at my work and tell me which of my projects are “photo copier”. LOL

-- John @

View jeffswildwood's profile


4256 posts in 2587 days

#5 posted 03-29-2013 12:05 AM

I received the Kreg jig for Christmas this year. Right now I love it. I have made many projects that sold using the jig with no complaints at all. With my boxes people even ask what holds it together. (Holes hidden). As my skills improve I plan to move up to dowels, tenons and dovetails but I’m not there yet. For now it has opened up a whole new way to assemble without screws and nails showing. I do agree that a project assembled with joinery is beautiful, and I admire the art work in that.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View NiteWalker's profile


2741 posts in 3187 days

#6 posted 03-29-2013 12:14 AM

It has nothing to do with skill; it’s just another way to get from point A (design/pile of lumber) to point B (finished project). It doesn’t matter what joinery methods a project is put together with; if it’s built poorly, that’s when respect is lost. Otherwise, one is being judgmental and frankly a snob. I’ve built a lot of shelves with pocket screws and the recipients are extremely happy with them, couldn’t care less how I connected things, but were happy with the fact that I got them their project in fairly quick order.

I do agree that on certain things, the joints matter (small boxes especially) but for a lot of projects where they’ll never be seen, if pocket screws are adequate, why judge someone for using “inferior” joints? Just keep an open mind; you’d be surprised at how useful pocket screws are in the shop. :-)

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View AandCstyle's profile


3265 posts in 2867 days

#7 posted 03-29-2013 12:45 AM

I just bought a Kreg jig because I had to repair an Ikea-like chair that was made with the Asian equivalent. I was amazed to see that the floating tenon was what appeared to be MDF with the screw through the stretcher and the tenon into the back leg.

I tend to be more of a traditionalist so use mortises and tenons, but I understand the need for speed in a production environment. If my livelihood depended on it, I would use pocket screws without hesitation. However, I am not aware of any tests that have been done to determine the longevity of pocket screws vs M&T joinery. FWIW

-- Art

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 3474 days

#8 posted 03-29-2013 12:49 AM

Its nice to have options in a shop. Certainly there is a place for pocket-holes in all kinds of applications.

View Marty5965's profile


161 posts in 2556 days

#9 posted 03-29-2013 01:00 AM

Well, IMHO it’s like anything else, horses for courses. Are you building heirloom furniture? Then conventional joinery is the way to go. Are you building utilitarian furniture? Pocket hole joinery will get the job done. Pocket hole jigs let someone build something that they are proud of, with limited tools and skills and, let’s be honest, it’s probably built better than anything you can buy in the stores that doesn’t have a “custom” price tag. You can’t compare Pocket Hole joinery to conventional, any more than you can compare a Ford to a Ferrari, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s just different. Just my $0.02.

-- Marty, Wilmington, OH, learning every day....

View GT350's profile


377 posts in 2592 days

#10 posted 03-29-2013 01:03 AM

I like my pocket hole jig, I don’t use it a lot but I do like it. I think over time the glued joints such as mortise and tenon are going to hold up better. I prefer not to use nails or other screws in my projects either, it always seems like they are in the way or pop through the edge. I think if I was doing it for a living I might find myself using them more though.
On my current project I forgot to put a center rail for two small drawers to ride on and the other joints were mortise and tenon so I used pocket screws an it worked great, if I didn’t have that tool I would have thrown that part away and started over.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3895 days

#11 posted 03-29-2013 01:25 AM


You make a great point. Strength and durablity should be taken into consideration when picking any type joinery.

Even though I’ve made a living doing woodworking, I’ve used most types of joinery in my building process, depending on the style, the wood, the function and price of a particular piece. Mortise and tenon, dovetail, sliding dovetails, through dovetails, butterfly dovetails, splines, dowels, butt, rabbit, lap, half lap, mitre, just to mention a few and of course pocket hole screws.

Everybody has their favorite and some woodworkers will only use one or two types of joints because that’s all they’ve learned or want to learn….........but I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

Sorry to everyone if I got my feathers in a ruffle, but I took a little offense that my work has no skill involved or it can’t be art, only a “photo copier” if pocket holes screws are used. I’ll defend those that do use a pocket hole jig as part of their woodworking. that’s all…no hard feelings, just sticking up for my work! lol.

-- John @

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3097 days

#12 posted 03-29-2013 01:45 AM

Back in the olden days when I was a wee tyke, my dad brought home this massive oak pedestal table.
I remember him and four of his biggest friends moving it into the house and setting it up. I figure today it was probably a 2 case of beer job.

I was just thinking about that table the other day while we were out at a yard sale looking at a similar table in the $1500 range.
It dawned on me that at the time we had that table I didn’t like peas and we had those about 3 times a week.
I would sneak my peas off the table a couple at a time and stuff them in these holes on the backside of the table skirt.
Now, watching this thread, it just dawned on me….... those holes were pocket holes to mount the skirt with!

(I just had to look at the table we saw at the flea market and sure enough….. there were pocket holes….. and what looked at mashed peas, I guess I wasn’t the only kid!)

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3895 days

#13 posted 03-29-2013 01:53 AM

Now that’s funny Dallas, You sure that wasn’t your old table?

When our daughter was small, she hated peas and we would tell her she couldn’t leave the table until the peas were gone…..........found out later our dog loved peas!

-- John @

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3097 days

#14 posted 03-29-2013 02:00 AM

Nope, not our table….. that one was 1600 miles and 50 years away and is probably nothing but powder post beetle poop now.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Paul's profile


226 posts in 4062 days

#15 posted 03-29-2013 03:27 AM

For me, looking at other people’s work is very much about their joints
To be clearer, it’s that joint I see and have to stare at it for several minutes to figure out how it was done that I really like about other people’s work. Sometimes a single joint is more interesting than the whole project its self.

I understand that there are many people in here making a living in from wood work and pocket joints make complete sense depending on the type of project and the speed of delivery. This post has nothing to do with those jobs/people. It’s a mechanical joint and that has its place.

What triggered this post was something posted in the project section which appeared to be made for one’s self and it was full of PJ’s. The piece appeared to look like it was going to function just fine for what it was intended for but none of the pocket holes were hidden very well. If you dropped a pencil and had a look underneath while you were picking it up, they were all visible. The builder was surely not trying to hide them at all.
I find a simple mortise and tenon butt joint to be more than mechanical. Personal preference on everyone’s part.

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