All Replies on Do you always glue, even when you pocket screw?

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View oldskoolmodder's profile

Do you always glue, even when you pocket screw?

by oldskoolmodder
posted 09-18-2011 10:46 PM

30 replies so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3307 days

#1 posted 09-18-2011 10:50 PM

I always glue pocket hole joints for maximum strength…but I do not make knock down pieces.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2921 days

#2 posted 09-18-2011 10:56 PM

I use pocket screws and very rarely back them up with glue. I know Norm does on a lot of his projects.

-- Life is good.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2674 days

#3 posted 09-18-2011 11:01 PM

If the joint uses end grain then there is little gained by gluing. Most pocket screws used end joints. I don’t use pocket screw but this is an observation.

View ShaneA's profile


6929 posts in 2597 days

#4 posted 09-18-2011 11:29 PM

I use glue if they arent going to be taken apart at a later time. Eventhough it is endgrain, I do think it adds a measure of strength.

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3067 days

#5 posted 09-19-2011 12:13 AM

I don’t bother with glue where end grain meets long grain. It wouldn’t add much strength and would probably crack under moderate pressure.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 3518 days

#6 posted 09-19-2011 12:19 AM

I have done it both ways. If I think the workpiece may have to be taken apart later on I pass on using glue. Sometimes, I will assemble with screws and without glue and see now things look and fit together. If things look OK, I will disassemble and then reassemble with glue and screws. (Sometimes pocket screws cause shifting at the joint as things get tighter, which makes a case for careful clamping before installing the screws into the pocket, and if a shift occurs and you are using glue the result is a mess if you decide to disassemble and figure out how to reassemble without something shifting.) If it is going to be something that needs bulletproof strength and will not be broken down, I use glue with the pocket screws.

I have never had either approach result in a weak joint, but I make it a point to not use screws alone if the joint is going to experience substantial stress.

Howard Ferstler

View Frankie Talarico Jr.'s profile

Frankie Talarico Jr.

353 posts in 3355 days

#7 posted 09-19-2011 12:58 AM

If it’s not a knock down piece then always glue. IF you don’t plan on your project lasting that long, then no glue will do.

Reason being, wood loses it’s molecular structure as time takes it’s toll. Yes it is in fact still wood, and yes it is in fact still strong, but from the inside it loses integrity. As time goes by you’ll find you’ll need to re-tighten your screws ( im talking years). Glue holds things nice and tight. As a matter of fact I pretty much use pocket screws to get a tight glue joint, I’ll just leave them in afterward for initial support. Glue is always stronger than the wood, ( at least all the wood I’ve worked with) I guess it’s to each their own, but I always opt for glue.

I’d like my work to last a lifetime, and maybe generations. Relying on a pocket screw just don’t do it.

That’s my opinion. I guess it all depends on the circumstance.

-- Live by what you believe, not what they want you to believe.

View allmyfingers's profile


40 posts in 2645 days

#8 posted 09-19-2011 01:21 AM

almost always add glue, pocket screws are great, but can’t account for shrinkage or tearouts.

-- I cut it 3 times and it was still too short?!?

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3064 days

#9 posted 09-19-2011 01:28 AM

i generally add a bit of glue, but for most applications that I use pocket screws I think it is unnecessary. Cheap insurance, however. If I were making knockdown joinery, I wouldn’t use pocket screws. There is hardware that is better suited to that purpose.

-- PaulMayer,

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2575 days

#10 posted 09-19-2011 02:05 AM

I always add glue unless the part is being made as replaceable.

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

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2849 days

#11 posted 09-19-2011 02:27 AM

True, with an end grain member in the joint it is not technically a glue joint, but there will be some adhesion.

If absolute precision is the need of the day, I’ll glue the butts together and clamp, and in 30 minutes apply the screws. There is absolutely no creep this way. This is also a valuable technique when you’re close to the end of a piece of split-prone wood such as hickory or doug fir. Glue it first, wax the screw and you’re more likely to be successful.

Also, and I’m reporting this only via rumor, if some Mr. Stupid in the shop assembles a non-glued faceframe a little wrong, and you have to shift something a little bit, then the glue trick will prevent the screw from wandering back into the old hole. Just rumor, please note.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3545 days

#12 posted 09-19-2011 03:54 AM

When making face frames, we pocket hole them with no glue. But when we fasten the face frame to the cabinet box we always glue the entire face frame to the cabinet box, making the entire face frame strong.

-- .

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2984 days

#13 posted 09-19-2011 04:22 AM

I’ve always felt better with glue. I’m sure it’s fine either way, but I figure in the long run, glue is pretty inexpensive.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3686 days

#14 posted 09-19-2011 04:34 AM

I’m in the “if it’s not meant to come apart later, then glue it” club : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2982 days

#15 posted 09-19-2011 06:32 PM

While I’m not a pocket hole screw user, I’m not against them either. I view this as more of a gluing question. Since cross grain and long grain gluing situations should be avoided as much as possible, it does come up. Such is the case for face frames.

If I were going to glue a joint of this nature. I would first want to sand the end grain smooth as possible, to close up the end grain as much as possible, before sizing the end grain for gluing. Once the sizing has dried I’d then glue and clamp the joint together, when dry, drill pocket holes and screw tight.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Builder_Bob's profile


161 posts in 3058 days

#16 posted 09-19-2011 06:47 PM

I use a lot of pocket screws and I haven’t glued them for the last couple of years. I like to assemble the piece, take it apart, finish the sections, then reassemble.

I often cheat and use the top of a table as part of the structure instead of a loosely floating cover. I’m hoping the unglued pocket screws will allow enough lateral movement to avoid cracks as the seasons change. So far, everything I’ve done has held up well.

-- "The unexpected, when it happens, generally happens when you least expect it."

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4930 posts in 3959 days

#17 posted 09-19-2011 07:07 PM

I use the pocket process, glue, and often use biscuits as well. Overkill? Yeah, but no failures either.
The biscuits are used on wider surfaces that allow the extra support.
I also use dowels on some projects. Mortice and tennon on others.


View JamesG79's profile


23 posts in 2445 days

#18 posted 09-19-2011 07:09 PM

I’m with a good number of people on here. I use glue unless it’s temporary.

View RickLoDico's profile


55 posts in 3059 days

#19 posted 09-19-2011 11:19 PM

As an experiment, I pocket screwed every joint except the doors without glue on this extremely heavy computer armoire. Ten years later it’s still rock solid.

-- He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3073 days

#20 posted 09-20-2011 12:18 AM

I will use glue with pocket screws when some extra strength is required, but that is the exception. Usually, pocket screws, by themselves, are sufficient – especially in hardwood.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View knotscott's profile


8013 posts in 3374 days

#21 posted 09-20-2011 02:27 AM

If the joint merits a screw for strength, it usually merits some glue too….I don’t glue table tops though.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3105 days

#22 posted 09-20-2011 05:15 AM

I was playing with some oak last month and just out of curiosity I used two pocket hole screws to make a 90 degree butt connection with Titebond III. I waited 24 hours and tested the joint and then removed the screws and forced the joint apart. The end grain piece tore out about 1/8 inch of the other piece.
I was just thinking about trying a butt joint with both pieces end grain to end grain to see the results.
This was the result of my studying different kinds of joinery and my curiosity as to the strength of different joints and glues.
The lesson I learned was that with just glue the joint was fairly strong, but with the addition of the screws, the joint was almost indestructible. The boards were 2 1/4” wide by 3/4” and 12 inches long. I could not break the joint with just the strength in my arms when both were in use. I could tear them apart when it was just the glue or just the pocket hole screws though.
I decided to use both on my face frames in the future because of this.

View breaknrn's profile


39 posts in 3995 days

#23 posted 09-24-2011 09:10 PM

I’ve had things hold up for years without a problem when I don’t use glue. I don’t have large swings in humidity living in the bay area, so mileage may vary where you live because as some people have pointed out, wood does move. Maybe try making a joint with and without glue, and then see how it holds up over time.

-- breaknrn

View maljr1980's profile


171 posts in 2454 days

#24 posted 09-25-2011 03:38 AM

yes glue! i build cabinets for a living, and i can definately tell you if you dont glue your pocket screw joints on face frames you can grab one of the rails and twist it, even with 2 pocket screws in an inch and a half rail. remember glue bonds stronger than wood, it even says so on the tight bond label. what i was always told as i was trained in this industry is the only reason we use fastners is to hold the joints tight untill the glue sets up. ive built many things using nothing but glue, clamps, and stretch tape

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 3678 days

#25 posted 09-26-2011 08:20 PM

Thanks to all who took the time to respond. I was just curious what everyone thought. It’s always fun to see what everyone else has experienced through the years.

I’m among the crowd that heard all through the years that nails and screws are only in there til the glue in the joints dries. I’ve also had some wise old and sadly long gone older relatives that didn’t use glue in some things that have lasted for over 50 years, simply their fine skill and some screws.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View Bertha's profile


13528 posts in 2691 days

#26 posted 09-26-2011 08:23 PM

Always glue for me.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3647 days

#27 posted 09-26-2011 08:46 PM

I’ll pocket screw if it’s supposed to be a knocked-down or face frames, in both cases I don’t use glue for obvious reasons (in the case of face frames – they are then glued to the carcass)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View cracknpop's profile


294 posts in 2347 days

#28 posted 01-15-2012 11:44 PM

This is just one of the reasons I signed up with Lumberjocks… when I have a woodworking question, I only have to go to one website. I appreciate all of you who are not afraid to ask a question, and all of you who take the time to answer. Less time searching for an answer = more time spent working in the wood shop.

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

View rncurrie's profile


40 posts in 2353 days

#29 posted 01-16-2012 12:50 AM

I always use glue with my pocket screws, biscuits, dowels and even by itself.
Reminder to me Buy Glue Stock.

-- Richard,, rccarvings facebook

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3189 days

#30 posted 01-16-2012 01:00 AM

screws come loose all the time, the world is an imperfect place!!!

Always use glue!!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

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