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Five-Minute Face Frames

Pocket-hole joints provide the perfect combination of speed and strength for this job

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Pocket Hole Solution

Pocket Hole Solution

When it comes to assembling face-frames for cabinets, there's nothing faster than pocket-hole joints -- each joint takes about 90 seconds apiece using a store-bought jig. Attaching the frame to the case hides the holes.

Pocket-hole screws give the frame all the strength it needs and then some. The angled screws cut across grain rings instead of only passing straight through the weaker end grain, making the joint tougher to pull apart.

The mechanical advantage of the screws makes these joints so strong, you can skip gluing the joints for face-frames. That's a big plus if you plan to stain the frame and don't want to bother sanding away glue smears.

Continued on page 2:  How a Pocket Hole Works


Comments (32)
Danwoodman wrote:

If you take just a little time and a little money you can get a business license and buy your screws through a local cabinet shop supply house for a third or less than a place like HD, Lowes, Rockler, Woodcraft or even the internet, although the internet is a good choice if the shipping costs are included or low. I purchase mine from E. B. Bradley or Louis and Co.

9/30/2012 08:42:51 PM Report Abuse
lplutz1 wrote:

I have a bosch 4100 and it is super. It can be adjusted to rigid specs and it will stay there. It has the power to be used in a shop setting very well. Great saw!

9/27/2012 02:14:30 PM Report Abuse
roger_harman wrote:

As to the "formula", you put a nickel on the jig base as a shim. Put the bit in the jig and bottom it out on the nickel. Then put the stop collar flush against the bushing. Perfect fit.

9/27/2012 01:13:42 PM Report Abuse
mikej16592002 wrote:

why does nobody ever put the formula for figuring out where to put the stop collar on the drillbit so you don't drill through? Is there one?

5/13/2012 12:40:38 PM Report Abuse
tommandkay wrote:

I was avery good boy this year. Santa left me a full Kreg jig kit under my tree at Christmas. Hoopie Doopie! I have fun!

2/23/2012 01:40:31 AM Report Abuse
tommandkay wrote:

Screws can be found at most home stores and woodworkers stores. Be sure to select the right size and type for your project.

2/23/2012 01:38:38 AM Report Abuse
mwclark112 wrote:

The Master Jig seems to drill a deeper pocket than the portable jig. I had to use fine thread screws on Hard Maple. Hi-Lo screws were splitting out the face of the other board. Wasn't a problem with the portable jig. Am I doing something wrong/different.

2/20/2012 11:11:38 AM Report Abuse
snbolyard wrote:

I use pocket screws and glue on all face frames. I allways use glue. The end grain will soak up a lot of glue, so seal it with a dab of glue and let it set for about 10-15 minutes. Apply glue as I would normally and join it with pocket screws. I have never had one fail doing this.

2/18/2012 12:59:51 PM Report Abuse
dhellew21 wrote:

I noticed one comment that needs correction. Even the antique furniture was not all glued. You cannot glue end grain. Hand made antique furniture was fastened with dovetails, tendons, splines,wood 'nails', wedges, etc.

2/17/2012 09:07:33 PM Report Abuse
welling61 wrote:

If your screws are coming out of the face on the frame, you need to use shorter screws! that was for vg491! Also, I find the fine thread screws work fine in hard wood like oak! But the course thread seems to always work with me. If I can hide the holes, I always go with pocket instead of dowels. It's easier and makes a solid joint.

2/17/2012 03:41:18 PM Report Abuse
bwolfe4085166 wrote:

@vg491 Move the collar up a little on your drill bit so you don't drill so deep. That happens to all us at some point.

2/16/2012 07:11:21 PM Report Abuse
longhairedwhite wrote:

I've been a custom interior carpenter for 20 years doing things like fireplace mantles & surrounds, built in bookcase and such. Never have I seen anything better than the Kreg jig system !!! anything less is UNACCEPTABLE! And if you dont use glue in your joints myour a cheapskate who shouldnt even bother with any kind of woodworking period.

2/16/2012 12:43:54 PM Report Abuse
Hal Hogan wrote:

I have the Kreg master jig kit and I love it! Even with that I ALWAYS glue my joints..... screws can come loose over time!

2/16/2012 12:16:36 PM Report Abuse
vg491 wrote:

I have had a few pocket hole screws emerge through the face frame when I attacted it to the cabinate. What am I doing wrong ?

2/16/2012 11:44:08 AM Report Abuse
Roger L. wrote:

While I do see the advantage for speed, it's like all things today scrape for tomorrow. Imagine what antiques would be here today if the craftsmen of yesterday skipped the glue. And by the way you don't have to sand the glue run off if you keep water and a rag close and wash any runoff out.

2/16/2012 10:37:27 AM Report Abuse
vgpmckinney1 wrote:

There are other brands of pocket hole jigs Porter Cable and CMT make jigs also. I like my Kreg jig but for some reason it really bugs me that Kreg calls it the Kreg joint in their ad. Pocket holes have been around a lot longer than Kreg. The joints seems to be easier and better than dowels.

2/16/2012 10:19:50 AM Report Abuse
zxdean12r wrote:

Man! This is tough crowd! Edgey-kated woodworkers... who would of thunk it. But you got me, not COURSE but COARSE of course;-)

2/16/2012 09:58:20 AM Report Abuse
knotcutter wrote:

coarse,coarse,coarse lol of coarse i spelled it wrong

1/28/2012 10:59:26 AM Report Abuse
knotcutter wrote:

excuse me for being a gramatorical idiot see i didnt spell that right either like it matters. im a woodworker not a college graduate. and i dont capitalize either

1/28/2012 10:57:35 AM Report Abuse
rknok wrote:

I had to disassemble a face frame once, 2nd time around the screws didn't hold as well as the 1st, so I used 1 1/4" drywall screws...worked great, wondered why I hadn't used them before?

1/9/2012 05:29:34 PM Report Abuse
grandpa1791265 wrote:

You want good price on screws go to

1/5/2012 09:20:07 PM Report Abuse
arvid4 wrote:

Not to be a grammatical snob, but would someone please spell "coarse" correctly--with an "a", not a "u".lol.

1/5/2012 12:23:47 PM Report Abuse
knotcutter wrote:

I too bought the Harbor Freight jig and used it once and took it back and went next store to woodcrafters and bought a kreg master jig kit. I also use course thread for all my work dont pull out or rip up the wood. you can also glue joints that you plan on pocket holing if you really want a good tight joint.

1/5/2012 11:34:40 AM Report Abuse
zxdean12r wrote:

I agree with robbyw11, I use course screws for everything and I build faceframes all day, 5 days a week.

1/5/2012 09:56:11 AM Report Abuse
richard.koplow wrote:

Kreg pretty much has a lock on nice jigs, and sales prices are controlled; however, Harbor Freight (!) has a very similar clamping jig which unusually sturdy and well made for a HF tool. HF has a generous return/exchange policy. With ubiquitous coupons, the jig is under $50. I just got one, and will post if I find problems - but simply a hobbyist, I doubt that I will.

1/5/2012 09:49:10 AM Report Abuse
robbyw11 wrote:

I have to disagree with the screw thread thing. I use the course thread screws for everything. I have had the fine thread screw just spin in the hole, pulling out when they get tight. I don't have that problem with the course thread screws. Plus I only have to stock one screw type.

9/9/2010 06:23:08 PM Report Abuse
ywander wrote:

nice tip , good info

8/27/2010 08:23:41 AM Report Abuse
greiner111 wrote:

Wonder if you could use the 3/8" dowels instead of screws?

8/27/2010 08:13:37 AM Report Abuse
lpozella wrote:

I buy my screws from McFeely's.

8/26/2010 04:00:41 PM Report Abuse
kpanterm1 wrote:

I've been using these for years. Works great, but I still prefer gluing the joints. Screws are cheapest at Amazon, but Lowes has them in a pinch.

8/26/2010 02:59:47 PM Report Abuse
bmpedersen376273 wrote:

Check Amazon for screws. Sample packs, 500-packs, 1000-packs and 5000 packs. Free shipping on a lot of them.

8/26/2010 01:26:26 PM Report Abuse
billrd01 wrote:

Screws are "special order". Min order 5000. Overnight air delivery only.

8/26/2010 01:19:39 PM Report Abuse
cguerrero.carpentry wrote:

I use it and a likeit

8/26/2010 12:26:49 PM Report Abuse

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