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To pocket hole or not to pocket hole.

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Forum topic by Huckleberry posted 11-09-2007 05:07 AM 1661 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Huckleberry

218 posts in 3995 days


11-09-2007 05:07 AM

My next project is a mission style futon with three drawers under it. So lets start here, the wood I am using is 4/4 red oak. So here are my first two mistakes most of us know that once you mill 4/4 you are now about 5/8” on your material. A lesson learned in a dumb way. And I am starting to find that red oak is prone to cracking when using fasteners. I decided that since I wasted so much time on my table making mortise and tenons that I would use the Kreg pocket hole jig to as the primary jointing. However when I started joining the project I started splitting the wood. So I went to a #6 1 1/2” screw and you guessed it went right through the other side. So I guess that this is the learning curve of wood working. The biggest question that I have for you guys how solid is this type of joint? I have heard that nothing matches the strength of the mortise and tenon joint. I guess that I am trying to get years of wood working experience in a few hours.

-- I cut it twice and the damn thing is still too short!@#$% https://kata.sendlane.com/view/diyers


12 replies so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4457 days


#1 posted 11-09-2007 05:17 AM

I use a special screw made for pocket screws just so the wood doesn’t split. A pocket hole with a regular screw will split in just about any wood. It is a pan head 1 1/4” self tapping square head screw.

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1780 posts in 4232 days


#2 posted 11-09-2007 05:22 AM

These joints are strong when reinforced with glue. However, there are no shortcuts. Consider the mortise and tenon again for some parts of your futon. Are you working off of a plan?

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

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Betsy

3391 posts in 4038 days


#3 posted 11-09-2007 05:27 AM

Huck – not sure, I defer to other LJ’s on this – but it would seem to me the M&T joint would be better on joints that will get some major stress such as a futon where people are going to flop down on it during the day and tossing and turning at night. I don’t think, even with glue, that a pocket hole screw joint would be long lasting in this application. They are really more suited to low stress joints – like face frames and small tables.

And as Dennis says just any old screw won’t do for pocket holes. You need a self tapping screw.

Just my 2 cents. Good luck on your project.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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Huckleberry

218 posts in 3995 days


#4 posted 11-09-2007 05:30 AM

Yes and no. U-Build is were I got the original plans but my wife wanted drawers under the seat. So using a CAD program I copied some of the plan then put my ideas in there and once it was approved by my wife, you guessed it she justed passed by, I started to build. Hey Dennis I started using the Kreg screws but that split every thing, but I was using course thread would there be a difference if I used the fine threaded kind?

-- I cut it twice and the damn thing is still too short!@#$% https://kata.sendlane.com/view/diyers

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Betsy

3391 posts in 4038 days


#5 posted 11-09-2007 05:36 AM

Yes, the threads make a huge difference.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Max's profile

Max

56000 posts in 4416 days


#6 posted 11-09-2007 05:38 AM

Huck,

Kreg has two different screws, a course thread for soft woods and a fine thread for hardwoods such as oak. Also the screw should not be screwed into the end grain of the wood but from the end grain into cross grain if that makes sense. Sometimes if the screw is too close to the end it will split the piece that it is being screwed into I have found.

I also agree with Betsy that the best joint for this type of project would be a mortise and tennon.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4457 days


#7 posted 11-09-2007 05:43 AM

Was it a kreg pocket hole jig and kreg pocket hole screws? I had a similar set up but the tip on the fancy drill bit broke the first time I used it. Pocket hole joinery is ok for face frames and such, but if its going to get a lot of stress like a chair I’d look for other kinds joinery. Dowels, bisquets, loose tenons…splines. I often just use a screw that is covered with a plug.

View Karson's profile

Karson

35134 posts in 4543 days


#8 posted 11-09-2007 05:44 AM

I agree on the M&T. Don’t give up too fast on that joint. It does take some perfecting but it’s a good strong joint. You might also try loose tenons. But for them you are attaching the end of one board into the edge of another. It’s made up of 2 mortises and a loose piece of wood that is the tenon. You can use them when the boards are too short to use a real tenon.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View Huckleberry's profile

Huckleberry

218 posts in 3995 days


#9 posted 11-09-2007 05:45 AM

I am so glad that I hooked up with all of you. That is where most of my problems are, I was indeed going into the end grain. Thanks for making think about that.

-- I cut it twice and the damn thing is still too short!@#$% https://kata.sendlane.com/view/diyers

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4105 days


#10 posted 11-09-2007 03:06 PM

I’m with Dennis and Karson on this one. The pocket screws work well for cabinet carcases and faceframes and some other places in furniture. On anything that is going to get a bunch of stress and strain use a different joint.
Slow down and learn to do the mortises. They really don’t take that long by hand , it’s quiet and repetitive. By the by, 4/4 when milled should come out at 7/8, 13/16/ or 3/4 unless you want it 5/8.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Brad_Nailor's profile

Brad_Nailor

2539 posts in 4100 days


#11 posted 11-09-2007 03:35 PM

Pocket hole joinery is great, and very strong in the right situation. You have to use the right screw for the type of material you are working with, and I have actually pre drilled in situations like end grain etc. You might also consider loose tennon joinery like the Beadlock system. I have this system and it is easy to learn and use, does a nice job and would be allot stronger than pocket screws for what you are doing. Not too expensive either, and they sell a router bit so you can make the tennon material yourself. Or, if you have allot of disposable income you could buy a Festool domino!

-- http://www.facebook.com/pages/DSO-Designs/297237806954248

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TomFran

2959 posts in 4137 days


#12 posted 11-09-2007 04:36 PM

Ditto to what Brad Nailor said! Pocket holes have their place. It all depends on the application needed. The same is true for biscuit joinery. Mortise and tenon joints can be faulty too, if they are not carefully and accurately crafted. A sloppy M&T joint can be weaker than a pocket hole.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

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