Whether you own a pocket-hole jig or are considering buying one, these shop-won insights will help you get more from your jig.
Prepping the stock
Make precise, square cuts.
When making projects with right angles, such as cabinets or face frames, square cuts ensure square assemblies. Set your tablesaw's blade precisely 90° to the tabletop before cutting parts to size, and make sure your miter gauge is exactly 90° to the blade. Anything less will result in gaps or unsquare joints. If you cut stock on a mitersaw, tune it up as well.
Plan your work, work your plan.
After cutting but before drilling, lay out project parts in the orientation you want, and then mark the back faces, as shown top right. Be sure to also draw other layout marks, such as where a middle rail lines up with the stiles. Then drill pocket holes into the marked faces to prevent accidentally drilling into the best face.
Grab the best grain.
Drill pocket holes so screws thread into edge or face grain for maximum purchase; avoid screwing into end grain, as shown below right.