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Are special 'pocket hole' screws really necessary for pocket holes?

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Forum topic by danielhoer posted 03-17-2017 12:19 AM 3636 views 1 time favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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danielhoer

38 posts in 344 days


03-17-2017 12:19 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question joining

I know many may scoff at the use of pocket holes for joinery but I’m eager to build some really basic stuff and I don’t quite have a ton of tools yet so… pocket holes for now. I’m going to build a little changing table for a baby out of 2×4s.. but I still want to ask these questions b/c I’d hate to ruin the project and have to re-buy materials and start again.

My question is about the screws – are special pocket hole screws really necessary? A description of the Kreg pocket hole screws says you must use their special screws because “the wide bearing surface of the screw head will not overdrive in the bottom of the pocket. This is especially important in softer material such as plywoods and composites. The screw also features a type 17 auger tip that self-taps its own hole, eliminating the need to predrill in even the hardest materials.”

1. What happens if you overdrive in the bottom of the pocket – that means you screw the screw too far and it sticks through the other end right? Can’t I just pay attention to how far/hard I’m screwing it and make sure I don’t ‘go to far’ ?

2. Is self-taping important? What happens if I don’t use pocket hole screws – what project defects/complications am I risking?

3. Does anyone have suggestions for a certain screw type I can get at Home Depot / Lowes etc. that is the ‘next best’ alternative to expensive pocket hole screws?

Thank you for any insight!


24 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

8287 posts in 1319 days


#1 posted 03-17-2017 12:23 AM

If you use a bugle headed screw (drywall) instead of a screw with a truss head you’ll probably split the wood.

Only 20$ For 500. It’ll would be a long time before you use them up.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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papadan

3584 posts in 3202 days


#2 posted 03-17-2017 12:28 AM

The drilled hole is too big for normal screw heads, they will not hold. You can measure and put a flat washer on each screw before installing, but it is easier to just use pocket hole screws. That said, if your building with construction lumber, use glue and normal screws because just pocket hole joinery wont hold up in soft wood. Counter sink and plug your screw holes if you don’t want them to show.

View Loren's profile

Loren

9604 posts in 3481 days


#3 posted 03-17-2017 12:30 AM

1. it splits the wood or drives through the
target part.

2. In hardwoods, yes. In softwoods, not really.

3. no.

View patcollins's profile

patcollins

1605 posts in 2698 days


#4 posted 03-17-2017 12:34 AM

The steel for the Kreg screws is harder than the run of the mill screws also.

The important parts are the stronger nature of the screw, the self taping end to keep wood from cracking, and the large head to spread out the load in the wood. Really they are worth the minimal extra cost.

The screw only having a portion of the shank threaded makes for a better joint since the threads will only benefit you that are in the second piece of wood and not the piece you drilled so the joints are more likely to close up they way they are supposed to.

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woodbutcherbynight

3634 posts in 2242 days


#5 posted 03-17-2017 03:31 AM



If you use a bugle headed screw (drywall) instead of a screw with a truss head you ll probably split the wood.

Only 20$ For 500. It ll would be a long time before you use them up.

- TheFridge

I agree and my neighbor proved it. He tried to cheat and the screw split every single joint he tried before he called me and asked me to see what was wrong. Once he saw how the correct screw worked he went and bought some.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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firefighterontheside

16901 posts in 1690 days


#6 posted 03-17-2017 03:56 AM

Washer head screws, but you have to,find them with a head small enough to still fit in the pocket hole.
Buy kreg screws on Amazon.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1769 posts in 2150 days


#7 posted 03-17-2017 04:00 AM

Get the off-brand screws from Custom Service Hardware and they aren’t that expensive if purchased in quantities of at least 1,000.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View OldCoach's profile

OldCoach

47 posts in 708 days


#8 posted 03-17-2017 04:23 AM

I have used regular screws I bought at H-D. I do not drill the pocket as deep. That way if I screw the regular screw a tad to far it doesn’t go all the way through the pocket. I dismantled a 700 square foot deck and have lots of wood and screws to build outdoor things with. The deck screws work fine. Just be careful when screwing them in.

-- Play cowboy on weekends and make sawdust in between when not watching football

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5456 posts in 2646 days


#9 posted 03-17-2017 04:45 AM

4 cents per screw is a pretty good deal, considering you can buy as little as 100 count per box.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View danielhoer's profile

danielhoer

38 posts in 344 days


#10 posted 03-17-2017 08:01 AM

THANKS for the input. I was surprised that almost everyone recommends them. I got some just now.. Cheers!

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

2600 posts in 2830 days


#11 posted 03-18-2017 03:37 AM

Check at Home Depot. Washer head cabinet screws. Generally used for melamine cabinets.Put it side by side with Kreg pocket screw and you cannot tell the difference. Same thread design

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View fuigb's profile

fuigb

449 posts in 2791 days


#12 posted 03-18-2017 04:23 PM

@OP – dont apologize for your method. Do what you can manage and can afford.

For functional deck furniture made of 1x pine or cedar I have used Kreg’s jig with drywall screws. No problems at all.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View mat60's profile

mat60

34 posts in 289 days


#13 posted 03-18-2017 05:02 PM

I have got away with drywall screws also on plywood to hold something together untill the glue dries.

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

954 posts in 425 days


#14 posted 03-18-2017 06:48 PM


Only 20$ For 500. It ll would be a long time before you use them up.
- TheFridge

An average facefreame requires about 26 screws. They go pretty fast.

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

954 posts in 425 days


#15 posted 03-18-2017 06:52 PM



Check at Home Depot. Washer head cabinet screws. Generally used for melamine cabinets.Put it side by side with Kreg pocket screw and you cannot tell the difference. Same thread design

- canadianchips


Home depot screws are more expensive than Kreg’s. What’s the point ?

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