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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Making more and more cabinets with pocket-hole construction and been working round holding parts in alignment while driving the screws. I watch these YouTube videos where the assembler holds the part with one hand, drives the screws with the other and it winds up in the exact place he's locking for - this doesn't happen for me. I wind up digging out a scrap of plywood, clamping it to the one part and using it as a stop while I'm driving the screws as shown in the first photo. This works pretty well, but you still have to get (and hold) the edges lined up so they don't move. Getting ready to assembly some cabinets and decided that it was time to make something that worked.

A couple of scraps later, and I have a little fixture that locates on the edge of the panel, holds the part being attached flush to the edge and allows me to drive the screws without the parts pushing out of alignment.
 

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I usually do it the way that you are doing it, because they move on me too. Some wooden shop made T squares and sometimes a clamp or two to hold it in place. I love pocket screws, but hate their appearance, so I will only use pocket holes and screws where there's no way to see them from the outside of what I'm building, or when reaching into a cabinet. I'll usually use biscuits, glue, and clamps or dados, glue, and clamps where the pocket holes and/or screws could be seen, but pocket screws sure make assembly easy for me when I can keep them hidden in the design. Oh, I hate the pocket hole plugs too.

Right now I'm building burial urns. The mahogany wood that I'm using is only 9/16" thick and not 3/4" (from my source that size). The 4 sides are mitered and splined at the corners, but the top is attached using the Kreg mini pocket hole jig to drill a pocket hole in the center of each side and a stainless #7 round head screw is used in each of the four sides, from the inside (Kreg doesn't offer 3/4" #7 fine or coarse thread stainless pocket screws) to attach the top. I use the same stainless screws countersunk into the bottom to attach it into the sides. The bottom can then be removed to place the cremains, but no fasteners will be visible when the urn is fully assembled and sitting upright. The urns are being stained and finished like fine furniture, but they should survive well if ever placed in the ground.

Charley
 

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Good solution. Pretty much what I do in this circumstance, although I'm inclined for appearance sake, to use a Dado instead. Like you, I don't care tor the look of pocket holes. I have never been able to fill the in so they look OK.
 

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We have no way of knowing how many takes were taken in preparation for the demo on the otherwise great concept of pocket holes assembly. As happens so often a little inhumanity is required to get the final results that one is looking for.

Great photos showing what your did Tom.

Jerry
 

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Good idea Tom. I discovered that when I use the short drivers I have a tendency to angle my drill too far away from the surface with the pocket hole. That was pulling my pieces out of alignment. Using the longer drivers helped me a great deal. It is always the little things that make you crazy.
 

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Good idea Tom. I discovered that when I use the short drivers I have a tendency to angle my drill too far away from the surface with the pocket hole. That was pulling my pieces out of alignment. Using the longer drivers helped me a great deal. It is always the little things that make you crazy.
I have the same problem, and using the longer driver really does help. I discovered something by accident that I may use in the future. I drilled a couple of holes in a board, not knowing that the stop collar was slightly out of position. It was allowing the bit to go a little deeper than I intended. I realized it when I took the board out of the jig, and saw a slight indentation cut into the blue plastic where you set the board down to be clamped into the jig.

When I was assembling the joint, I decided to see if the tiny amount of overpenetration would allow me to make a starter hole in the piece I was joining to. I got the joint into postition, then inserted the bit into the hole and turned it by hand enough to spin the bit without actually drilling the shoulder any deeper. It put just a little more than a dimple in the blank piece, and it seemed to make the screw start where it was supposed to instead of "walking". It may have been a one time piece of luck, but worth trying.
 

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................It was allowing the bit to go a little deeper than I intended. I realized it when I took the board out of the jig, and saw a slight indentation cut into the blue plastic where you set the board down to be clamped into the jig..............
Oh heck, glad it isn't just me that has those on the blue jig :grin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Still working on the bathroom cabinet, doing all the prep getting ready for assembly. I have the pocket holes all drilled, now prepping the parts for the biscuits. The plan is to attach the face frame to the sides with biscuits but use pocket screws in the top, bottom and fixed center shelves. Rather than take the chance of everything being perfect, I offset the biscuit slots in the stiles to give me a nominal 1/16" overhang which I plan to trim off after assembly. Wound up double-sticking a couple of strips of laminate to the bottom of the biscuit joiner, looks as if that will give me exactly what I'm looking for. While I was at it, it occurred to me that I was going to have to clamp across the side panels when I was attaching the face frame so I made a bunch of blocks so that I wouldn't damage the edge where the rabbet had been cut when I was clamping up the assembly. Maybe I can get to assembly tomorrow.
 

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I've found that the most important factor in aligning pocket hole construction is the precision of the cut on the end pieces. Taking the time to make sure the blade is exactly 90 to the table means that when the screw is tightened, it pulls the pieces together perfectly. I just use face frame clamps (Kreg), or the special clamp that fits in the hole, to handle corners. But I too like to use them only when it will be invisible. They are a Godsend for face frames.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, the jig worked just as intended, puts the "partitions" dead in line with the front edge of the sides with no fuss. I went back to the old way when I attached the first side/shelves to the second, now thinking that I need to make a second - although screwing to the second side is not that bad because the partitions are pretty stable. The diagonals wound up a little less than 1/16" different so I think it's going to square up nicely when I attach the face frame. I nailed bumpers on the bottom of the panels so the edges wouldn't get damaged moving it around - it has to stand up when I put everything away for the day. Now it's time to cut some grass.
 

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