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Face frames and pocket screws

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  • #16
    Re: Face frames and pocket screws

    In reference to the strength of pocket screws, I seem to have a different take. I use 2 screws in almost all joints. If I go past 3" width, I use 3 screws. I also use glue.

    Using the "over center" clamp, the joint does NOT move or shift during screwing. Never has, it's nailed down good!

    On the strength, I and my son were loading a huge top section of an entertainment center into his truck, he lost his grip right just before the tailgate and it came down on the corner. It fell almost 3'!!
    This thing was about 8' long, 2' deep and 6 1/2' tall. It was done in white lacquer. Not one joint cracked, not one! Only damage was the trim on the corner where it landed. I was able to repair and re-shoot it and deliver the next day.

    The nice thing about the over center clamp is that you can lay out the frame on the table and just move it around from joint to joint. I put scraps under each corner to keep it all level.

    I dunno, maybe i'm just lucky, but sometimes we (I) can overthink things sometimes making them harder than they need to be.

    Congratulations to Mr. "the sky is falling" Al Gore, nominated the new Village Idiot!


    • #17
      Re: Face frames and pocket screws

      On the strength issue,

      I have made "L" shaped pieces and used two screws and glue, and the wood failed before the joint did, the same with dowels, some times the dowels will break or shear,

      I have yet come to a situation on a normal or any cabinet that I have ever made, that the pocket hole/screw joint has failed, and it is field makable if necessary. (I will agree single screws are minimal).

      No it is not mortise and tendon joinery, but it is a reasonably strong reliable quick and easy with a minimal tools, joint.
      Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
      attributed to Samuel Johnson
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      • #18
        Re: Face frames and pocket screws

        Originally posted by BHD View Post
        No it is not mortise and tendon joinery, but it is a reasonably strong reliable quick and easy with a minimal tools, joint.
        Yup, I agree with this. Pocket holes are strong enough and while not my favorite, I use them fairly often depending on what I'm making.
        I do find pocket holes to be a good choice on hidden cabinet side walls and bottoms to attach the face frames. It's faster than biscuits and I find the accuracy to be easier to achieve. For this I like to use the Kreg coarse thread screws, which I find work much better in ply.

        But lately, I've been using masonite splines for this. Turns out I have a Systimatic blade that cuts a kerf that is an absolutely perfect fit for 1/8 masonite. Fastest method I've found so far, cheaper than Kreg screws (or biscuits), easier than dados... and no metal in the woodwork. Where I don't want to see the end of the groove (i.e, furniture rather than kitchen and bath cabinets) I use a router to cut a stopped groove. Not quite as fast as the tablesaw, but still pretty fast and accurate. Sometimes I have to hit the textured side of the spline with the finish sander (10 seconds does it) because the groove made by my 1/8" bit is a tad tight.


        • #19
          Re: Face frames and pocket screws

          To simplify the pre-drilling of the wood that gets fastened, I drillled out a 3/8" dia rod to accept a 1/8" dia long drill bit. With some set screws I can adjust the depth of drilling.
          With this special drill I've been able to use the pocket hole technique with thicker lumber.

          I have seen a specially modified welding vise grip with one of the pads removed so that this jaw fits into the pocket hole. This allows clamping the joints together so that they cannot be pushed apart.


          • #20
            Re: Face frames and pocket screws

            Originally posted by Wood_Junkie View Post
            First pre-drill and pre-drive a couple of the screws (then back them out) before applying glue, because as you found, the glue is a lubricant.When you reattached the face frames post glue up the pre-drilling will help align and hold.

            You do need to clamp the heck out of the frame to keep it from moving shifting slightly when your screw contacts the second workpiece.
            Great sneaky TIP!!

            Thank you very much!
            Have FUN! Joe ... ..... My Small Gallery: