Do you always glue, even when you pocket screw?

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Forum topic by oldskoolmodder posted 09-18-2011 10:46 PM 6986 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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801 posts in 3879 days

09-18-2011 10:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: pocket screws glue ask this old house question

Watching “Ask This Old House” this afternoon and seeing Tommy glue his work where he was going to pocket screw things together, made me wonder what the consensus is on gluing even with super tight joints that pocket screw provide?

I prefer pocket screws for many things and it’s obviously easy to make knock down stuff with pocket screws, and don’t always use glue when I’m making something more permanent.

What about you?

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

30 replies so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3507 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 3122 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


3261 posts in 2874 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


7052 posts in 2797 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 3267 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 3719 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 3555 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 2845 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


1032 posts in 3264 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


2738 posts in 2776 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 3049 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 3746 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 3185 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


11822 posts in 3887 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 3182 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

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