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Pocket screw thats not flush-how to plug it?/flush it?

2422 Views 20 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  jw2170
I built a cubby shelf and used the pocket screws I had at hand,to only realize that they were 35mm and the thickness of the plywood I used was 16mm.So I couldnt drive them all the way through and they arent flush,they stick out a little bit

maybe If I sand on top of them I could make them flush so I can then plug them??

any secrets from the masters?
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Pull them out and grind off the tips of the screws so you can run the screw in further. Photos always help, btw.
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I think you pretty much stick to 1 1/4 long pocket screws for 3/4 stock. Snipping off the ends might do the trick rather than using a new screw, but I'd replace the long one with a shorter one. I keep lots of different sizes around. They're pretty much my go to for faceframes. I like the way they pull the pieces together. Add glue and you'll never pry it apart.
thanks for the answers
In the process I already drove the screws more than once till I finally had realized that it was just a techical issue with the length of the screw.I really wouldnt want to pull them out again
Maybe a orbit sander could flush them up?
Many moons ago I tried sanding the tips off of screws and it didn't work for me. The wood sands faster than the screws and pocket hole screws are harder because the tips are like drill bits. Maybe pull the screws and put a washer or spacer under the head?

I just realized that it might be the screw heads that are proud. I think that would be difficult to sand off as well. I think the only solution is shorter screws.
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I think you mean the screw is too long, but the more I re read your description, the less certain I am about what you really mean. How about a quick picture. I do agree that you should replace the screw. Sanding really won't work, especially in plywood. First step is to measure a screw identical to the one you're having problems with, or remove one screw, and measure it.

If the total length is 1.25 inch, something odd is happening. If it's longer and you're joining 3/4 thick pieces, then try a new, shorter screw, but drive it in slowly so you don't tear out the threaded portion of the wood.

If you are going to add glue, that joint will be solid forever.
Newer plywood has changed from 3/4" (18mm) to under 16mm, which the OP is using.
I believe he has to go shorter than 1 1/4"...

1" recommemded by Kreg...
You might be able to grind them with an angle grinder, but I suspect you will not be happy with the results. I think going to the smaller ( ie shorter) screw is going to be the better way to deal with this.
Thanks to everybody for the help!
Ill add a picture so you can see what i mean.The thing is that since the screw is too long for this 16mm plywood,I dont drive it all the way in so i doesnt portrude on the other side,and what happens is that the head stick out and it doenst end up being inside the hole all the way,I think it pops out about 1mm
I believe they rely on the head to be fully inserted into the hole to provide the clamping pressure?
Oh well,,,i used clamps and glue together with the pocket screw.Although I did notice it wasnt as tight and strong joint
I dont really have at hand anyway to get shorter screws,I would have to order online and it would take 2 weeks-a month to come.And this is a shelf I desperately need.
Ill give a shot to sanding the heads
Maybe routing them with a straight bit so theat they are flush?
or maybe yes to drive them all the way and the part that stick out on the side to sand flush? maybe easier to sand the tip than the head
If you use a router bit to flush trim the protruding screw tip, you will likely ruin the router bit and may have parts of it fly off and hit you.You might also consider disassembling the joints,cleaning the glue off to give fresh surfaces, then applying a new coat of glue and screwing the joints tight with the pocket screws.After the glue has had a chance to set remove the screws and hopefully the joint will be strong enough to hold. Good luck and wear safety glasses.
Don't use the router for that!!! Very dangerous thing to do. Carbide is actually vulnerable to breaking up trying to do something like that, or it may grab the screw and the bit be pulled out of the collet, and you don't want ever to be near a flying bit, spinning at thousands of rpm.
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would an angle grinder cut off the tips of the screws?
heres a pciture i finally was able to uplaod (aftre having tried to sand the head down)


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If you remove screws to shorten them., when reinstalling the take a hand screwdriver and insert screws, turn ccw and you will feel the screws rise up and then fall. This when you want to install them by hand.This method will place screws back in original threads. This method is the best way to reinstall crews in plastic.
Pocket hole screws are available as short as 3/4". I am not sure where you are but my local Home depot and Lowes both carry them
would an angle grinder cut off the tips of the screws?
heres a pciture i finally was able to uplaod (aftre having tried to sand the head down)
A completely different approach you might consider, taking a lesson from politicians: a cover-up. Add a thin piece of molding or rip some scrap and put it over the screw heads (a couple of smacks with a mallet will set the heads into it), extend it out to the edge and you have a bonus in that you have covered the raw edge of the plywood.
The bottom line for pocket screws is that when you drive them in all the way, they close up and square the joint. If the head isn't all the way in, then there is not force applied to square up the joint. You can easily buy pocket screws that are just one inch long. That should be about right. If the joint is already glued, then I would remove the long screw and replace it with short one. If it's still too long, remove the tip since the threaded hole is already opened up.
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Welcome to the forum @RasySumka
Hi @RasySumka. Sanding or grinding off the screws is very likely to damage the surface of the wood, especially if it's ply.
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