Holding strength of pocket hole joinery

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Forum topic by pingpingpang posted 625 days ago 1496 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 626 days

625 days ago

I’m planning on doing a project that will involve using pocket hole joinery to connect a sheet of 3/4 Oak plywood to 1×4 Oak boards (as stair tread edge) for stair treads. Those stair treads will be connected on top of the old treads by liquid nail. I am just wondering if pocket hole joinery has enough holding strength. Or I just have a bad idea.

18 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13826 posts in 971 days

#1 posted 625 days ago

Should work. Don’t be cheap with number of screws used though.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View bluekingfisher's profile


1011 posts in 1613 days

#2 posted 625 days ago

You may have issue with the overall rise of the tread. I looked into doing exactly that but was advised the additional rise created by the thickness of the new boards could create a trip hazard. Perhaps those providing the information were being a little over cautious, however they were building professionals.

Perhaps you should seek guidance on this…..just a thought!

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3325 posts in 1828 days

#3 posted 625 days ago


-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View crank49's profile


3378 posts in 1604 days

#4 posted 625 days ago

If you add 3/4” to the top of every step there is no increase in the rise except the first and last treads will have more or less rise than all the others. All the rest of the steps are the same relative to each other.

Building code usually requires no more than a 1/4” difference in any step within a stair. It can be made stricter by local codes.

I have been living in my house for 36 years and just discovered a couple years ago that the steps between my great room and the rest of the house are almost 1” different from top to bottom in both rise and run. Never knew it till I went to replace carpeted steps with hardwood and had to cut new risers and treads. I think the trip hazard must be over rated.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Earlextech's profile


962 posts in 1324 days

#5 posted 625 days ago

Pocket hole joinery with glue is plenty strong for that situation.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "finished"!

View a1Jim's profile


112016 posts in 2211 days

#6 posted 625 days ago

ditto Earlextech’s

-- Custom furniture

View Loren's profile (online now)


7437 posts in 2281 days

#7 posted 625 days ago

If I am visualizing this well, you’d be driving pocket screws
into the back side of the plywood with the points coming
through and pointed at the flush corner of the solid oak
lipping. There won’t be a lot of material there to shape
without running into screw ends.

Gluing alone is sufficiently strong, but nails or countersunk
and plugged screws through the front edge allow one
to forgo a lot of work with clamps.

I would not do it with pocket screws, personally.


View pingpingpang's profile


12 posts in 626 days

#8 posted 625 days ago

Thanks for all replies.
Basically I want to put two pieces wood together by using kreg pocket hole jig and glue in order to get a stair tread. The edge of a stair will be 3.5 inch oak.

And Building code is now my concern.

View Loren's profile (online now)


7437 posts in 2281 days

#9 posted 625 days ago

The veneer on ply is very thin and not rated for
flooring and will not hold up.


View pingpingpang's profile


12 posts in 626 days

#10 posted 625 days ago

You are right. I may need to change my plan

View DS's profile


2131 posts in 1054 days

#11 posted 625 days ago

Also, keep in mind that most fasteners are only there to hold things until the glue dries.

Glue isn’t typically an optional accessory. (Just don’t tell some of those production guys.)

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View MrRon's profile


2798 posts in 1877 days

#12 posted 625 days ago

I would not use oak plywood or any plywood for that matter. The veneer on the plywood is much too thin to stand up to foot traffic.

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

491 posts in 673 days

#13 posted 625 days ago

Good catch Loren, I wasn’t even thinking of that either, but you are right.

-- Mark Smith, Tracy, CA.,

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1603 days

#14 posted 625 days ago

Could you not use some semi solid flooring instead for the treads?

Just on the pocket screws, I recently ‘dismantled’ an early bookcase I made which was put together with pocket screws. It took some full on blows with 20oz Estwing to take apart and the material broke before the joints did in a couple of places, if that gives you an idea of their strength.

View pingpingpang's profile


12 posts in 626 days

#15 posted 625 days ago

I will use my solid flooring for wood treads.

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

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