LumberJocks

Are you a pocket jointery snob?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by KenBry posted 03-03-2012 02:47 AM 3258 views 0 times favorited 55 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View KenBry's profile

KenBry

449 posts in 1201 days


03-03-2012 02:47 AM

I was just flipping through my new shop notes magazine. I was reading an article on pocket screws. The entire time i read it, I thought about how much i didn’t like the look of pocket joints.

I really don’t like them at all.. They make me think….ikea…

I know pocket joints have their use but i really just think they are weak KA, KA

What say you guys?

-- Ken, USAF MSgt, Ret.


55 replies so far

View Brandon's profile

Brandon

4145 posts in 1705 days


#1 posted 03-03-2012 03:02 AM

Pocket holes are definitely not indicative of fine furniture, but they are convenient and relatively strong with glue. I’ve found a number of good uses for them, but again, not in the heirloom stuff.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View doncutlip's profile

doncutlip

2832 posts in 2310 days


#2 posted 03-03-2012 03:09 AM

I find them to be very strong and have used them a lot to build shop furniture. When I build something ‘nice’ I use them every place where I can hide them. There are ways to plug the holes but I haven’t tried yet.

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

14678 posts in 1428 days


#3 posted 03-03-2012 03:14 AM

I used pocket hole screws to build my air cleaner. It is a utilitarian piece, so fine joinery is not called for. I built the air cleaner for function, not looks! I will use pocket hole joinery for a lot of shop projects as it is fast & strong. I will not however use pocket screws for anything I would consider “Fine”.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

1836 posts in 1751 days


#4 posted 03-03-2012 03:20 AM

I made one ONCE !
I have a craftex machine for pocket holes. It works BUT I am used to doing joinery. Mortises, Dado’s dowels, etc.
They do have there place…....just not at my place.
It is just not ME I guess.

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

View Viking's profile

Viking

857 posts in 1949 days


#5 posted 03-03-2012 03:30 AM

Ken;

There are many forms of joinery and pocket hole joinery has it’s place. I use PH a lot for shop “furniture” and I can assure you that the joints are strong with or without glue. PH joints eliminate the need for clamps!

There are a few snobs that need to look down ther nose at PH but, they probably acted same way about biscuit joinery as well. New forms of joinery come on the market often. The ones that work last and those that don’t disappear. PH joinery isn’t going away any time soon.

Try them …....... You will like them.

I don’t have any association with Kreg other than really liking their tools and jigs.

Good luck!

SSgt. – USAF 1967 – 1973

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View BentheViking's profile

BentheViking

1755 posts in 1317 days


#6 posted 03-03-2012 03:50 AM

Never seen any pocket holes in any ikea products…just sayin!!!

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1330 days


#7 posted 03-03-2012 03:58 AM

Pocket holes have their place, fine furniture or not.
Lots of antique pieces have pocket holes for certain parts.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

14678 posts in 1428 days


#8 posted 03-03-2012 04:07 AM

NiteWalker,
I find that interesting. I do not doubt you. Sometimes, an old idea is tucked away sleeping until someone resurrects it with a better, faster, improvement. Perhaps this is the case with PH joinery.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View ChuckC's profile

ChuckC

724 posts in 1688 days


#9 posted 03-03-2012 04:20 AM

Pocket hole joinery definitely has a place in the wood shop. The joint is strong enough for many tasks.

View Scot's profile

Scot

344 posts in 2150 days


#10 posted 03-03-2012 04:25 AM

Pocket hole joinery has been around for a long time, just not the fancy jigs we have available today that make them easy. Look under old skirted dining tables, you would be surprised at how many table legs are installed with pocket hole jointery by master craftsmen from days gone by.

A lot of companies will have you think that their new jig is a “new” method, but most are just an easier way of doing an old time proven technic.

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

View Viking's profile

Viking

857 posts in 1949 days


#11 posted 03-03-2012 04:28 AM

Scot;

You are correct. Look at how many new forms of mortise and tenon joinery have been developed over past few years.

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1822 days


#12 posted 03-03-2012 04:37 AM

I’m not sure why pocket screw joinery wouldn’t be usable in “heirloom” furniture. I’ve worked on antiques dating back to the late 19th century and pocket screws were commonly used. The pockets appear to have been made with some sort of machine, too.

There seems to be a certain level of snobbery about furniture joinery. Apparently, only hand cut joints are acceptable. My belief is that those old masters were pretty much like modern craftsman and took advantage of any labor saving technology available at the time. As magnificant as trheir work was, they were also making a living.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

1836 posts in 1751 days


#13 posted 03-03-2012 01:19 PM

I am not being a snob for not using pockets holes….knowing the difference between strong joints and using them vs “just getter done”
Take a look at how Railroad Tressels were built years ago. The ones that lasted longer were built using timbers and beams. All the weight was on the timbers & beams, the “fastners” held these in place (the fasteners did NOT carry the weight) Pocket holes screws are just fastners ! After time they will be the first weak to fail.

http://www.finewoodworking.com/SkillsAndTechniques.joints.html
http://www.provenwoodworking.com/woodworking-joints.html

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

View PittsburghTim's profile

PittsburghTim

214 posts in 1076 days


#14 posted 03-03-2012 02:26 PM

Ken,

I don’t think anyone likes the looks of the joints, even with the special plugs. That being said, I’ve used them for assembling poplar childrens furniture with glue and plugs. Once sanded and painted, you would never know they are there and they have stood up to years of use. They also allow for quick assembly without the need for clamping. In other words, they have their place.

As for CanadianChips, consider that many Greene and Greene pieces used screws, sometimes covered with their hallmark square ebony plugs. I am pretty sure that Sam Maloof used screws as part of his chairs and in much the same many use pocket holes if I remember his chairmakking video. The wood joint provided the strength, but the screws held the joint together while the glue dried.

For that matter, Maloof used steel legs on a simple workbench. By some peoples standards, a true craftsman would have a traditional solid maple or beech woodworking bench. My point is, pocket hole joinery serves a purpose. I would not suggest they are perfect for every use.

-- She asked me, "Who are you going to please with that?" I said, "Me."

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1822 days


#15 posted 03-03-2012 03:11 PM

CanadianChips -

I did a fair bit of structural engineering in my career, and can assure you that pocket screw type joinery would never be used in a railroad trestle – at least not in a load bearing situation. – lol

In my cabinet and furniture building work, however, I’ve used hundreds (perhaps a few thousand) pocket screw joints but not for load bearing joints. Pocket screw joinery gives me a fast and effective way to make up assemblies such as face frames which need to look nice but carry no structural loading.

If you think about the house you’re in, every wall stud is attached to the top and bottom wall plates with toe nailing. Toe nailing uses the same principle as pocket screws but isn’t close to being pretty. The structural loading (compression) is carried by the studs and the toe nails hold them in place against lateral loads (shear).

I definitely agree that pocket screw joints aren’t pretty, but they’re seldom seen unless someone crawls inside or under a cabinet or piece of furniture.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

showing 1 through 15 of 55 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase