Particle Board and Kreg Pocket Fastening - Router Forums
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Default Particle Board and Kreg Pocket Fastening

I am considering making a couple of 30"w x16"d x64"t cabinets with doors using 5/8" particle board. I called Kreg, and they said it will work fine...but don't overtighten the screws, and use glue.

My question is... has anyone used a Kreg pocket hole jig to fasten butt joints using particle board? How well does it work? Any pitfalls? Any recommendations?

I want to make it from particle board because it's cheap.
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 10:01 AM
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any stress will break the screws loose and fracture the surrounding material around screws ...
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 10:52 AM
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Forget it. As Stick said, the screws will not hold. Spend a little more for some good plywood. A/C would work but, BB would be my choice.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 01:20 PM
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I made a 96" tall, 16" deep and 30" wide cabinet for the garage about 20 years ago. It was made with 3/4" particle board covered with melamine. The back was 1/4" plywood. I used 3 european style hinges on each door -- doors were 96" x 15". I had 3 fixed shelves -- one at 3" where I kept my 10 gallon air tank, one at 3 feet and one at 6 feet, plus a top. there were also 3 or 4 other adjustable shelves. I did not use Kreg screws - I used 2 1/2 " or 3" wood screws at each fixed shelf and the top along with glue. While most of the shelves were used for storage, I would not say that there was ever a great amount of weight on them.

I also built a 3 foot tall x 6 foot long x 15" deep file storage shelf unit that I use for file storage from 3/4" melamine covered particle board. It has no doors. There are cubbie holes about 11' tall x 18" wide. This unit is pretty well loaded with supports for the shelves about every 18". I've had it for about 8 years and it has held up well. I did use Kreg screws on that unit.

I also built a 6 foot tall x 30 inch wide by 12 inch deep bookcase out of the same material. The shelves at the 2 foot level and forefoot level are fixed as are the top and bottom. I used Kreg screws on this unit.This unit is fairly well loaded with books, three ring binders and other items, but they're not jampacked in. This bookcase is not subjected too much stress or movement and items stored on its shelves are not regularly moved.

None of these units was ever subjected to a lot of stress. The file storage shelf unit has a few files taken out and put back on a daily basis, but the files would be about the size of a pretty good size book. The bookcase and storage shelf were each moved on one occasion to another building without any significant problems; the taller garage cabinet was never moved. It had seasonal things taken out and put back from time to time but was not used on a daily – or sometimes even weekly – basis.

I don't believe that I would use 5/8 inch particleboard on the project. If the unit is going to be subject to much movement or stress, plywood would be by far the better choice. I agree with Stick and Gene that stress and particleboard are not a good combination.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 01:45 PM
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What are you planning on using them for Gary? That info might make a difference.

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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 04:42 PM
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Do you mean particle board or MDF? With MDF, you have to pre drill for each screw, if you don't, it will lift out a chunk or cause a split. I have an MDF cabinet, first I ever made, that is holding up OK. It holds the sander and has an MDF door and a shelf that holds a belt sander and the sandpaper. It was put together with rabbets, dados and glue. LOTS OF GLUE. If I were doing it again (no thanks, I'll use ply), I would put a coat of glue on the edges to be connected, let it dry, then re-glue. There area a few screws in it, but all holes were pre drilled.

I have collected a number of sheets of premium 5'x5' Baltic Birch in both half and 3/4 thickness. They are not really that much more expensive than 4x8 big box ply. I keep them covered with canvas and inside the garage so they won't turn yellow from sunlight. I just can't get acceptable results from the crumby ply at the Big Box store, and it's nice to always have some on hand.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 07:25 PM
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The trick with particle board & screws is to not over tighten them. Holes should always be pilot drilled. There is a lot of difference in various grades of particle board. The crap that the box stores sell is generally meant for underlayment not anything structural. Even the board meeting industrial standards varies a lot. Screws into the edges of ply have their problems also. Glue helps a lot. So does any form of inter locking joinery. Dados, biscuits, dowels, Dominos, splines will be stronger than just screws into an edge. Strong enough depends on the application. Use the correct screws for the material. Dry wall or wood screws are not the correct screws for particle board or MDF! The correct screws will have an auger point, deep wide spaced threads and a self counter sinking head. Caution about the "self counter sinking head" it will only work if you have enough thread into the board to pull well. Best to use a counter sink first. It will almost never work with a melamine coated board. Pocket screws have a different type of head and need to be used for that application. It's the same principle as hunting a bear with a 22 cal.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Larry42 View Post
It's the same principle as hunting a bear with a 22 cal.
It is a proven fact, it has been done. I wouldn't want to try it tho.

I don't believe I have ever worked with particle board, plywood is my material of choice. If I did work with particle board, I would use glue blocks at every joint. I do that with plywood, no nails or screws, and it has worked well for me so far. Made a plywood toy box that way a bit over 20 years ago, for my son's then mother-in-law, who wanted it for the child care center she worked in at the time. When she quit it passed to my grand-daughter, then on to her young brother. It is still in use. Not saying it would work that well with particle board, but I would go that route before I went with screws.

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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 12:20 AM
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...and only use coarse thread screws....

I have a 'toy box' I made for the kids 40 years ago that I made from 'chip' board, before I learned about wood working. It is still in use as a tool storage...

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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 07:15 AM
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If I'm going to put time and money into a project I'd rather use solid, reliable materials and technique to build something that doesn't need to be babied over the years to stay useful. If it costs a few dollars more so be it. Better to build right and solid than produce, use, and scrap. Just my opinion of course...
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