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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's somewhat surprising to see some of the bitter debates over the merit of pocket holes. They are the good, the not so bad and the ugly of the wood working world for some people.

I think the Kreg Jig HD works well for some outdoor projects. They can be easier to work with for face frames and cabinets.

I will never use a pocket hole for joints that are visible in any way shape or form, even if it's meant to be decorative. There's a lot nicer ways to complement a piece with decorative joints.

What's your take on pocket holes? Love them, hate them, can't live without them?
 

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I don't often use them. I have never trusted the long term effectiveness of a screwed joint but in some cases they are a good way to get the job done. I just have the drill bit and about a $10 drilling jig that you clamp onto a board but for how much I use it it's good enough for me.
 

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Doug
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I find pocket holes very handy for projects. I have used them in end tables, benches, storage boxes, and the like with success over the years. I use them also as a substitute for clamps, adding a couple of them to hold pieces as they are being glued up.

For heavier duty joints, I still use dados, dowels or biscuits (yes, I still use biscuits), or floating tenons.

I think it is funny how tools have a following. First biscuits were awesome, then they fell out of style to router cut floating tenons, then pocket holes came into fashion, now they are frowned on. Now you have to have a Festool Domino just like Stickley and the others used in their works...
 

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I have no favorite, and will use whatever seems to be best for the purpose at hand.

I won't use pocket hole screws where they can be seen. I also always use glue along with them, but they sure speed up assembly where I do use them. I rarely use dowels, but still use biscuits where appropriate, but I use them for joint alignment and I usually avoid gluing them. I've had to remake a pine table top that developed biscuit shaped dents in the top after the glued in biscuits had thoroughly dried two months after the build, so since then, biscuits don't usually receive glue.

I have a Leigh FMT Pro jig that I use for M & T work, but also use it for floating tenon mortise work when a truly floating tenon seems more appropriate. I do not own a Domino jig or Mortise Pal, but still own a Beadlock jig. If I use dowels I have a Dowel-It 1000 jig, but I also rarely use it or dowels for joint assembly. The last three times that the Beadlock has been used has been when it was loaned out to a former student or close friend who didn't have mortising capability for their project, since it only requires a hand drill and a clamp to get good floating tenon joints.

Charley
 

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I'm with all the guys above, I have a small pocket hole jig, and use it for face frames, don't do much of that anymore, and biscuit jointer with biscuits for alignment, Bead locks for M&T's , for the little I do of that , I have a doweling jig for dowels,can't remember the brand.

I like the lock miter ,drawer miter, rebates and dados, on the table saw and router. Splines are good , don't use any pin nails except on Jigs, Screws and plugs along with glue I use quite often, kind of a hold over from working as a carpenter.

The pocket hole joint is not my first go-to joint, just depends on the operation
Herb
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I used the KregHD's to assemble the legs and frame for the cedar BBQ tables I made for my Kamado. It's held up well for 5 years without any issues. I wasn't aware of floating tenons. Cedar is too flimsy to create trust worth Tenon joints.

Domino would have been stronger. So far the Kreg HD's have held up to the abuse. I also used the KregHD for the sheld shelving. The KregHD's are holding 500 lbs without any issues after 3-years.

For a lot of outdoor projects where the holes can be hidden, they have been great. The standard Kreg pocket screws never get used for anything but face frames and occasionally for drawer bottoms on box jointed or dovetailed box joint. They're faster than doweling a drawer bottom and cleaner than using a saw cut dado for the drawer bottom.

Supporting rails for countertops are a good place for pocket screws too.
 

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Rick
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There indispensable to me , but I haven't used them for a furniture scenario yet . I love my pocket hole jig and wish I knew about them years ago .
Funny , as I used to look at the Kreg pocket hole jig in stores and had no idea what they were for .
I had to add numerous pieces of wood for my tub/shower , and the pocket hole was a life saver imo
 

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I use the Kreg pocket hole jig for face frames and drill the holes where the cabinet sides will not be seen. Glue and screws for me.

In one form or another, I am approaching 100 cabinets built with face frames.

I started with the basic K4 jig. I also have the one holer and the two holer for drilling on the job.

Yeah, I got a jig...a Mikey version of the Kreg jig, only lightly modified! :surprise::grin::grin::grin:
 

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Pocket holes are a wonder for face frames. Of course, that's only if your cuts are absolutely square. But I don't like using them on anything that's goint so show. There's no rule against combining them with dados and rabbets to make something look great. If they can be concealed, they are terrific. And I also respect those who don't consider furniture fine if it has any metal connectors in it at ll. Seems a personal preference matter to me. But I'm done with face frames any other way. My pocket hole frames are square and perfect every time.
 

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Theo
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What's your take on pocket holes? Love them, hate them, can't live without them?
I was taught from very young, you only use screws in something you may want to take apart later. I never use screws.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I use the Kreg pocket hole jig for face frames and drill the holes where the cabinet sides will not be seen. Glue and screws for me.

In one form or another, I am approaching 100 cabinets built with face frames.

I started with the basic K4 jig. I also have the one holer and the two holer for drilling on the job.

Yeah, I got a jig...a Mikey version of the Kreg jig, only lightly modified! :surprise::grin::grin::grin:
I might copy the first jig you have for the K4. You did a good job with that set-up.

The K5 is a bit disappointing from a quality perspective. Kreg dropped the ball on their design.

The wings are cheap and easily crack with a slightest knock. They used a cheap plastic on the wings to cut cost. The clamp on the K5 is very finicky for an Autoclamp.

I plan to buy a Festool Domino, I already have the Jessem dowel jig, and the router table will open up even more options for jointing.

I'll probably end-up reducing the number of projects where I'll use the Kreg pocket hole jig.
 

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If it can be done with a pocket hole then that's how I'll do it. To make cabinet frames any other way is insanity. I can knock off a cabinet in an hour that if using standard old school joints would take me 3 hours. It would take me longer to set up my mortising machine than it would to make a frame.
 

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My wife got me a Kreg jig several years ago for Christmas. I was thinking to myself that it was a shortcut and real woodworkers use time-tested methods like dowels and mortice/tennon joints. I used it first for a few projects that weren't important, just thrown together. It was so quick and easy and strong that I began to use it more and more, but always backed up with glue and always where it doesn't show. I still don't use pocket holes in furniture, but for everything else, it's just the thing. Just like Rick, I used it to install blocking when building a new shower. I used it outside on the fence and inside on cabinet carcasses but not yet for face frames. I'll never be without one, and a LOT of screws.
 

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Interesting discussion of what is clearly one of the neat innovations in woodworking. I've also noticed that quality often declines a little as products move through their lifecycle. My K4 setup is on a chunk of ply and sits, ready to use, right next to my workbench. Amazing how many of the screws it takes to build something, so packages of 500 sit nearby. Definitey find the square drive screws are easier to use than the Phillips. But one more time, the results depend on making certain the cuts are exact 90s, so My Wixey gets a lot of use. No reason to believe those blades will hold their adjustments over time. Be fussy, fussy, fussy about the blade angle!
 

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I have a knock-off of the Kreg system. It is basically a one hole deal that I got real cheap. I have supplemented the screws that came with the kit with screws from Lowe's. Haven't used it but for a few small projects. I did see where someone made a table top by joining the boards with pocket screws. If the holes are going to be visible in any way, there are matching wood plugs that you can buy.
 

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I have done stiles and rails and used both, but only on square edge type. Pocket screw, biscuits and many other methods like M&T, Festool domino, dowels and more can be used for square edge(and probably more) stile and rail.

I mostly used cope and stick stile and rail method in the past though. The cope and stick profile gives extra glue surface so only glue is needed, nothing else. I have made floating raised panel within a cope and stick rail and stile that have endured 20 years of opening and closing and slamming shut and they are fine as can be, glue only.

Today the styles have changed so cope and stick isn't as prevalent for kitchen cabinets as it once was, still a great choice and in style for many current interior designs though.

So many ways to get the one job done whether encasing panels for cabinet doors or just making face frames. For me pocket screws are really more suited to face frames than a stile and rail for a door.

Here is a frame and panel for square edge profile using nothing but glue to connect the rail and stiles. It is very simple and strong:

http://www.woodmagazine.com/woodworking-tips/techniques/joinery/frame-and-panel-door-construction
 

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If it can be done with a pocket hole then that's how I'll do it. To make cabinet frames any other way is insanity. I can knock off a cabinet in an hour that if using standard old school joints would take me 3 hours. It would take me longer to set up my mortising machine than it would to make a frame.
Tried a Domino? Much, much faster than "old school" (i.e. proper) joinery and far stronger than a pocket hole joint, especially in sheet goods

Personally, even though I have a jig, I don't like pocket hole joints. Too many bd experiences where guys have made-up stuff with them which required reworking or rapiar when it comes to site especially if the sheet material is MFC (melamine) or MF-MDF (melamine-faced MDF)
 
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