Pocket Holes Joinery is an incredibly versatile and simple means by which to join two pieces of wood together. Most often you will see pocket holes used to connect two pieces of wood at right angles to each other, but the technique is not limited to 90° joints.
Pocket holes can be used to assemble face frames, picture friends, laminated panels, cabinets, bookshselves, just to give you an idea. A pocket hole joint does not draw its strength from glue, but from angled screws.
- Pocket hole jig (such as these jigs via Amazon)
- stepped drill bit (or a piloted spot facing/counterbore or forstner bit)
- wide pad clamp
- pocket hole screws (or wood screws with wide flat heads)
Pocket Hole Jig Basics
While you don’t absolutely need a special pocket hole jig, they make drilling pocket holes a cinch. These days jigs are available at many pricepoints. starting at ~$20, so there’s really not much of a compelling reason to drill these holes by hand. In addition to making things easier, Pocket hole jigs offer high repeatability.
A pocket hole jig, in its simplest form, is plastic or metal block with a drill bushing guide angled into it. A stepped drill bit is then used, through the drill bushing, to drill into the workpiece. A stop-collar is used to control drilling depth, and is adjusted according to the thickness of the workpieces.
Once the pocket hole is drilled, the two pieces of wood are clamped and then fastened together with a pocket hole screw. Often pocket holes will be positioned so that they are not externally visible in a completed project, but you can use special wood plugs to help conceal them.
One thing to remember is that pocket holes are typically strongest when the hole passes through the midpoint of the workpiece thicknesses. Most pocket hole screws cut their own threads, so pilot holes are not often required.
In addition to adjusting the drilling depth stop collar, the proper length screws must be used as well. Fine threaded screws are used in hardwoods, and coarse threaded ones in softer wood.