Is it worth adding pocket holes to a glue up?

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Forum topic by DTrak posted 12-26-2015 12:46 AM 1112 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View DTrak's profile


58 posts in 1097 days

12-26-2015 12:46 AM

I am an amateur and just glued up several boards to make a large tabletop. At first I thought just glue would be enough, but the boards were a little bowed or warped since I didnt have access to a joiner or planer. I glued them all flush(ish) with a clamps and they look ok for the moment, but what I am wondering is will the boards hold together better if I add pockets AFTER I have glued them, or will it make no difference. thanks

8 replies so far

View jeffswildwood's profile


3190 posts in 1977 days

#1 posted 12-26-2015 12:57 AM

I have used pocket holes for this but I did the holes and screwed them in during glue up . Should hold tight if done after but sounds tricky. When I did this I had to make sure it was clamped tightly as kreg screws will move your wood out of alignment if not careful.

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

View CharlesA's profile


3322 posts in 1798 days

#2 posted 12-26-2015 01:02 AM

For future reference, you’ll want to make yourself some cauls.

I can’t see how pocket screws will help you—the glued edges will be incredibly strong if clamped properly—and the pocket screws won’t pull the boards back into a flat orientation.


-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View johnstoneb's profile


2915 posts in 2173 days

#3 posted 12-26-2015 01:21 AM

The screws will add little if any strength to the joint.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View dhazelton's profile


2767 posts in 2297 days

#4 posted 12-26-2015 01:36 AM

Screws would have aided as clamps during the glue up. The glue does most of the work.

View DTrak's profile


58 posts in 1097 days

#5 posted 12-26-2015 01:39 AM

Ok, so rare for such consensus. Thanks the feedback all.

CharlesA, good tip about cauls. As you prob suspected, I didn’t know about such things. Makes a lot of sense.

View mchapman87's profile


43 posts in 878 days

#6 posted 12-30-2015 11:28 PM

I built a small end table out of reclaimed oak hardwood flooring. I used pocket screws as I glued the piece up. I found that I was able to use the screws to keep the surface flat without constant re-adjusting of clamps and boards to work them flat. I glued and then screwed together before I clamped up. There was little to no twist, or protruding edges on the surface. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to do it this way, I just found comfort in knowing that even if the clamp slips the screws will hold the piece in place as the glue sets, and dries.

-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsman can hide his mistakes!

View rwe2156's profile


2926 posts in 1481 days

#7 posted 12-31-2015 11:12 AM

I never do it anymore, but you can also work around the problem by using biscuits.
Arrange any bowed boards opposite to attempt to cancel out the bow (not really sound, but sometimes it works).

Always keep your wood a bit oversized of course if you’re buying it from box store already 3/4”.

In lieu of jointer you can use handplanes to flatten boards.

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

View Alongiron's profile


647 posts in 2693 days

#8 posted 12-31-2015 11:56 AM

A couple of ideas here. If you are looking for strength of the joint and this is a light duty table, glue itself will be fine but using biscuit joinery will help with the alignment of the pieces. If you are looking for strength of the joint on a heavy duty table, I would consider using full length splines at each joint. These will help with both alignment and strength. The screws that you are talking about will only aid while the glue dries. If you do not have a biscuit jointer there are a lot of good videos on you tube. Again they are good for alignment and splines are good for strength. Also consider the growth rings on your boards. Alternating the growth rings up and down will help to keep the table flat. Hopes this helps.

-- Measure twice and cut once.....sneak up on it! Steve Lien

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