How to Use Pocket Screws

This ingenious fastening system simplifies all types of wood joints.

Time

An hour or less

Complexity

Beginner

Cost

$51–100

Introduction

Even a novice can build nice cabinets. Make tight, strong wood joints quickly and easily with pockets screws. No clamps, no dowels. We show you how to do it in two steps.

Tools Required

  • Combination square
  • Drill/driver - cordless
  • One-handed bar clamps
  • Pocket screw kit

Materials Required

  • Glue
  • Pocket screws

The pocket screw system and the key tools

Special drill bit

The pocket screw drill bit is stepped to simultaneously drill two different diameter holes. The stop color is the depth adjustment.

Don’t be put off by projects that call for tight joints or simple cabinet building. The pocket screw system is so easy to use that even a novice woodworker can make strong, tight joints on the first try. It works like this: You clamp the pocket hole jig onto your workpiece and drill angled holes with the special stepped drill bit. Then you simply align the two pieces to be joined and drive a pocket screw at an angle into the pocket to connect your pieces. The result is a tight joint that’s as strong as a doweled or mortise-and-tenon joint but takes a fraction of the time to assemble.

In this article, we’ll show you how to set up the jig and assemble joints using pocket kreg screws. We’ll show you techniques for assembling a face frame and a table leg and apron and for attaching shelf nosing. Refer to the instructions that came with your jig for ideas for other types of joints.

Buy a top-quality jig. Less-expensive jigs that lack built-in clamps or alignment guides aren’t worth messing with. The Kreg screws Rocket jig is a great mid-priced tool. The kit includes everything you’ll need to get started: a pocket hole jig, a special stepped drill bit and stop collar, a 6-in. driver bit, a locking pliers–type clamp and a handful of pocket screws. Buy Kreg screws jigs at woodworking stores or on-line, or shop for a high-quality pocket hole jig with similar features.

Video: How to Use a Pocket Screw Jig in Woodworking Projects

Pocket screws are a good way to put woodworking projects together. Jeff Gorton, an editor at The Family Handyman, shows you how to use a $40 kreg pocket screw jig (Kreig jig) that makes using pocket screws to assemble woodworking projects very easy.

Project step-by-step (8)

Step 1

Step 1: Drill the pocket screw hole

Set the drill bit depth

Tighten the stop collar onto the shank of the stepped drill bit. Leave a 1/8-in. space between the tip of the bit and the built-in stop on the end of the pocket hole jig. Pocket screw jigs are ready to go right from the package. All you have to do is slide the stop collar over the bit, adjust the bit depth and tighten the collar (Photo 1). The jig is initially set up for joining 3/4-in. material with 1-1/4 in. screws. Add the plastic spacer included with the Kreg Screws Rocket and use 2-1/2 in. long pocket screws to join 1-1/2 in. thick material like 2x4s. To join 1/2-in. thick material, reverse the stop on the front of the jig (refer to the instructions included with the kreg pocket hole jig) and use 1-in. long screws.

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Step 2

Square board edges and ends

Check to make sure the edges of the boards are square to the face. Also check the end cuts to make sure your miter box is properly adjusted to make perfectly square cuts.

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