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Pocket Hole Joinery – What It Is And Why It Is So Useful

cutterPocket hole joinery, also known as pocket screw joinery, is great for any woodworker to use in many applications. Cabinetry of any sort for sure is always better if you use pocket holes. Not just kitchen cabinets mind you, but if it is a box with a door – then it is best to go with pocket holes and screws.

This joinery involves a hole being drilled at about a 15 degree angle into the piece of lumber, and then it will be joined to the second work piece with a screw that is self tapping. A little history (very little) is that this technique came from ancient Egypt. They would clamp two pieces of wood together and then bore a hole at a similar angle and insert a dowel into both pieces of wood, glue them, then cut the excess flush at the surface of wood.

The only difference is today’s pocket joinery uses screws instead of dowels. (And it is a lot faster and easier to use the pocket hole jigs and screws than dowels.) Some of the benefits of using this method are:

  • The screws act as a clamp internally, so glue isn’t necessary (though many recommend it) for most joints. If you do use glue, then you don’t have to have a clamp to hold the joint until the glue dries – the screws will act as the clamp.
  • It only requires one or two holes and screws, and once the pieces are lined up and screwed together, you don’t have to worry about them falling out of place like the normal clamp and glue-up process.
  • Mortise and tenon joinery require math and a learning curve – pocket joinery doesn’t. It is a very simple process.
  • It is easy to repair a joint like this if something wasn’t done correctly, or a mistake was made. Try to repair a mortise and tenon joint or similar joints if you have already cut and fit everything – and especially if it has been glued up.

Here is a video on pocket hole screws. It will help you visualize how these are made, and how easy they are to use!

Image at the top attribution:

Image is from Terence T.S. Tam on Flickr:


Updated: March 31, 2015 — 2:12 pm
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