All Replies on pocket holes in hickory

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View Guss's profile

pocket holes in hickory

by Guss
posted 06-11-2012 12:45 AM

17 replies so far

View Alexandre's profile


1417 posts in 2219 days

#1 posted 06-11-2012 12:55 AM


-- My terrible signature...

View chrisstef's profile


17428 posts in 3034 days

#2 posted 06-11-2012 12:56 AM

Try a little beeswax?

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Bobmedic's profile


379 posts in 2829 days

#3 posted 06-11-2012 02:05 AM

Use the Kreg fine thread screws with hardwoods and the coarse screws with soft woods. The wax and a fine thread should get good results without splitting.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4950 posts in 3988 days

#4 posted 06-11-2012 01:53 PM

Just remember that you’re workin’ with a very hard wood, and do all the above mentioned. You ARE gonna glue as well?


View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2989 days

#5 posted 06-11-2012 03:02 PM

What Bobmedic said.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2292 days

#6 posted 06-11-2012 03:39 PM

Are you pre-drilling properly? What screws are you using?

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2314 days

#7 posted 06-11-2012 03:53 PM

For hickory you should be using the FINE thread screws. Rub a little wax on them (like from an old candle) and when you put the screws in run them up to speed with only very light pressure on them. As soon as they start cutting back off on the speed and just seat them in short bursts. ALSO I like to use my cordless for driving the screws and have the clutch set so you don’t overdrive the screw. If you over drive it, you’ll almost always split it out.

I just did some hard maple face frames. I used a corded drill to drill the pocket holes and a cordless to drive the screws. For face frames I also clamp the faces of the joint. The screws cut threads, so if you drive them too fast, they’ll act like a wedge instead of cutting their threads.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3675 days

#8 posted 06-11-2012 07:12 PM

Sometimes it helps to leave a horn on stiles and cut it off
after assembly. In the old days this was done in mortised
parts and still is by craftspeople mortising by hand.

View AlaskaGuy's profile (online now)


4213 posts in 2337 days

#9 posted 06-11-2012 07:31 PM


-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View AlaskaGuy's profile (online now)


4213 posts in 2337 days

#10 posted 06-11-2012 07:39 PM

I did a Hickory kitchen and had the same problems with splitting as you have. After trying a number of things I ended up pre-drilling. I had my neighbor (he has a metal lathe) make the device below.

The other thing that helps is watch is your grain orientation.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Scot's profile


344 posts in 3424 days

#11 posted 06-11-2012 09:06 PM

Is the bottom side of your screw heads flat or beveled ? Screws with a head that have a bevel will act like a wedge and split the wood when the head seats.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View Guss's profile


94 posts in 2469 days

#12 posted 06-12-2012 01:35 PM

Im using the Fine Thred Kreg Screws. Its the style that is cracking. I dont think ill be able to pree drill that easy and keep everything lined up. Im going to give the wax and the drill speed a try with making sure of the grain direction. Im not even getting the screw in half way in the style before it cracks. thanks for your input ill let you know how it goes.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2292 days

#13 posted 06-12-2012 02:21 PM

If that fails, either modify some clamps to hold it steady or build a clamping jig… and get a really long drill bit (it may have to be one size larger than what you’re using now.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View AlanBienlein's profile


159 posts in 2702 days

#14 posted 06-12-2012 10:50 PM

I made my kitchen cabinets out of pecan and had no problems using the pocket screws to fasten the rails to the stiles on the face frames.

View Dano46's profile


82 posts in 3197 days

#15 posted 06-12-2012 11:00 PM

Since hickory is one of my favorite woods, I thought I might add something. Should have figured LumberJocks always have a solution to any problem.
My reply would have been: predrill, fine threads, beeswax. Same as the first three.

-- You can't trust a dog to guard your food.

View BenI's profile


333 posts in 2206 days

#16 posted 06-13-2012 01:34 AM

I’d make sure that you have the collet (think that’s the right word) on the actual drill bit set to the correct ‘depth’ for the thickness of the wood you’re using and that your screws are of the correct length for that thickness. I haven’t worked with hickory so I can’t be more help than that but I’ve used Kreg screws in walnut, red oak, pine and maple without problems.

-- Ben from IL

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3902 days

#17 posted 06-13-2012 02:21 AM

I use pocket screws to build faceframes … except for hickory because of this exact issue. With hickory, I half-lap my faceframes.

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