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post #1 of 29 Old 04-07-2013, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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Pocket hole joint frustrations

I have no problems using a pocket hole joint with hardwoods but whenever I try with softwoods (spruce) I keep punching the screw straight through and if I try to ease off the joint seems a bit loose (this is even with wider threaded screws). Any ideas on what I am missing or are these joints meant for hardwoods only? Thanks!
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post #2 of 29 Old 04-07-2013, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Bluefilosoff View Post
I have no problems using a pocket hole joint with hardwoods but whenever I try with softwoods (spruce) I keep punching the screw straight through and if I try to ease off the joint seems a bit loose (this is even with wider threaded screws). Any ideas on what I am missing or are these joints meant for hardwoods only? Thanks!
Pockets aren't as easy as Kreg likes to make you think. The charts they supply aren't cut and dried but need to be adjusted some to accomadate different materials and other factors. Can't be sure but I suspect the soft wood is compressing more than the hardwood so I would try adjusting the bit stop collar to produce a shallower pocket. I am also assuming that you are following the chart concerning screw length. The other thing is stock thickness, I've found anything less than 1/2" is dicey at best.
Good Luck

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post #3 of 29 Old 04-07-2013, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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I bought a jig which supposedly sets for different stock thicknesses (see photo) but still had the problem. I guess it's an acquired skill, like pie crust. Will keep experimenting, that's the fun of it.
Thanks!

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post #4 of 29 Old 04-07-2013, 12:04 PM
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What is the thickness of your material and what length if screw are you using? My big box store does not carry the length of screw I most commonly use.
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post #5 of 29 Old 04-07-2013, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ttharp
What is the thickness of your material and what length if screw are you using? My big box store does not carry the length of screw I most commonly use.
Hello,
Usually dimensional limber sizes, 3/4, 1 1/2. The jig has a gauge which tells me what length of screw to use. I follow that but no luck with the softwoods. I have been using screws with wider threads but still punch the head through. One would think that with the proper settings one could tighten things as required. And yes my big box store carries only fine thread pocket hole screws (no thanks to them), so have experimenting with drywall screws etc. Very frustrating.
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post #6 of 29 Old 04-07-2013, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Bluefilosoff View Post
Hello,
Usually dimensional limber sizes, 3/4, 1 1/2. The jig has a gauge which tells me what length of screw to use. I follow that but no luck with the softwoods. I have been using screws with wider threads but still punch the head through. One would think that with the proper settings one could tighten things as required. And yes my big box store carries only fine thread pocket hole screws (no thanks to them), so have experimenting with drywall screws etc. Very frustrating.
Problem with drywall screws and pocket holes is that the screws are threaded from the tip to the head. Pocket holes really want that smooth shank below the head to pull the joint tight. Might try sears, they carry a pretty good selection of Kreg screws. Your particular store may not stock them but you may be able to get them to order some for you along with their regular shipments and avoid shipping charges.
http://www.sears.com/tools-power-too...e=CAT_REC_PRED

John

If I strive for perfection, I can generally achieve good'nuff, If I strive for good'nuff, I generally achieve firewood
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post #7 of 29 Old 04-07-2013, 02:22 PM
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You might want to try an alternative form of joinery.





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post #8 of 29 Old 04-07-2013, 03:30 PM
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You might want to try an alternative form of joinery.





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post #9 of 29 Old 04-07-2013, 04:55 PM
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As mentioned you move the collar to maintain a bit more wood though you want the threads all in the deeper board. It is also important to have and use a drill with clutch settings. This keeps the screws from stripping and is also important when using brass or other fine screws. I start with the clutch too loose and tighten it to only the desired force.
Some really soft wood is just likely not appropriate for pocket screws but they are great on woods dense enough to stand the stresses.
Bob
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post #10 of 29 Old 04-07-2013, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jschaben

Problem with drywall screws and pocket holes is that the screws are threaded from the tip to the head. Pocket holes really want that smooth shank below the head to pull the joint tight. Might try sears, they carry a pretty good selection of Kreg screws. Your particular store may not stock them but you may be able to get them to order some for you along with their regular shipments and avoid shipping charges.
http://www.sears.com/tools-power-too...e=CAT_REC_PRED
Drywall screws are not pan heads so they will sink into the wood more than the Kreg screws.
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post #11 of 29 Old 04-07-2013, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Bluefilosoff View Post
Hello,
Usually dimensional limber sizes, 3/4, 1 1/2. The jig has a gauge which tells me what length of screw to use. I follow that but no luck with the softwoods. I have been using screws with wider threads but still punch the head through. One would think that with the proper settings one could tighten things as required. And yes my big box store carries only fine thread pocket hole screws (no thanks to them), so have experimenting with drywall screws etc. Very frustrating.
Find a source of coarse pocket screws. Using a screw not designed for the system is likely the reason you have issues.

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
Finishing is 3 parts chemistry and 1 part VooDoo http://lrgwood.com
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post #12 of 29 Old 04-08-2013, 01:07 AM
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Are you clamping both pieces together during the screw installation?
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post #13 of 29 Old 04-08-2013, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mics_54
Are you clamping both pieces together during the screw installation?
Will try that. It may be that the softwoods I use are too soft. Thanks for the help!
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post #14 of 29 Old 04-08-2013, 01:41 AM
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As Leo suggested.... The drill bit is the big problem.

The first thing that I noticed was the drill bit. It is just a nice taper bit with a stop collar. The Kreg system requires a drill bit that creates a shoulder in the hole. Then the Kreg screws have a place to hold without pulling through.

I have used the Kreg system on a poplar face frame with no problems at all. I did use Kreg washer head screws and the appropriate drill bit. The drill bit is expensive, like $20 or more but is the correct drill bit for the job. This drill bit (Difficult to describe w/o getting banned.) is really two drill bits in one. The front of the drill bit has a 5/8" long bit that is intended to be a body drill for the Kreg screw shank. The rest of the drill bit will cut a 3/8" hole with a flat bottom. When used in a pocket joint fixture, the point of the drill bit should barely protrude through the wood.

The effect of using this drill bit is similar to using a 3/8" Forstner bit to drill to a depth that leaves 5/8" material undrilled. Then use a 5/32" bit to drill through the remaining material.


There are a few things unique about the Kreg screws. The 1-1/4" screws are a true washer head screw while the shorter screws have a smaller head. The underside of these screw heads are square to the shank of the screw. The Kreg screw is a clamping device. Finally the Kreg screw is a self drilling screw. (Similar to a self tapping metal screw.) The Kreg screw has a Robertson (a.k.a. square) drive. HOWEVER all Robertson drive screws are not pocket screws.

Use the right tool for the job.

Rich (Tilting right)
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Last edited by rrich; 04-08-2013 at 01:51 AM.
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post #15 of 29 Old 04-09-2013, 12:52 AM
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Compare the picture of a pocket hole bit here http://www.factoryauthorizedoutlet.c...l-bit-for-k200 with the bit you are using. It will help explain rrich's post. The bit you are using doesn't have a shoulder for the screw head to leverage against.
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post #16 of 29 Old 04-09-2013, 02:09 AM
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I keep a small package of compatible washers with my PH jig.

If the screw protrudes a little on my test pieces and I don't have a lot of joints to do I'll slip a couple of washers on each screw rather than messing with a jig adjustment.

When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did in his
sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

Jack Handey
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post #17 of 29 Old 04-10-2013, 04:54 PM
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I keep a small package of compatible washers with my PH jig.

If the screw protrudes a little on my test pieces and I don't have a lot of joints to do I'll slip a couple of washers on each screw rather than messing with a jig adjustment.
`
if it is literally a tip of the screw poking thru, I drive the screws almost all the way in then pull them and clip the last twist or ~3/16 from the tip with side cutters then drive them in. this avoids the breakthru and keeps the part of the screws doing the holding. - the whole screw drills and taps the hole.
Bob
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post #18 of 29 Old 04-10-2013, 05:06 PM
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post #19 of 29 Old 04-10-2013, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jschaben

Problem with drywall screws and pocket holes is that the screws are threaded from the tip to the head. Pocket holes really want that smooth shank below the head to pull the joint tight. Might try sears, they carry a pretty good selection of Kreg screws. Your particular store may not stock them but you may be able to get them to order some for you along with their regular shipments and avoid shipping charges.
http://www.sears.com/tools-power-too...e=CAT_REC_PRED
I was surprised to find pocket hole screws in the hardware section of Lowes.

They are on the aisle of packaged and bulk screws in the "specialty screw" section.

If I remember correctly they were less expensive than the Kreg screws found in the tool department and they had a fair selection of sizes and tpi's.

When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did in his
sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

Jack Handey
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post #20 of 29 Old 04-11-2013, 10:06 PM
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I used to have a problem till i started to use fine screws for hard woods and coarse for soft woods. I have found a supply available at loews and home depot. My local hardware store has them now too. They also sell them at woodworking shows and events and on line.
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