Drilling the holes
Set the correct pocket depth.
For strongest joints, set the stop collar according to your jig's instructions. The pilot point should stop 1/8" from the workpiece's end or edge, as shown right. Check this each time you use the jig to avoid accidentally drilling too deep.
High speed = cleaner holes.
A corded drill bores a cleaner hole than a cordless one because of its faster bit speed. Excessive tear-out around the pocket could indicate a dull bit. Keep a second bit on hand so you can switch to it when the first begins to dull.
Smooth the way.
Before drilling, spray the bit with a dry lubricant, such as Bostik DriCote, to reduce drilling friction and prolong sharpness. Repeat after every 20 or so holes.
Clear chips frequently.
Pull the bit out when you've reached about half depth to clear the chips; then finish drilling. This reduces friction and bit dulling.
Match up different thicknesses.
When joining boards of two different thicknesses edge-to-edge or end-to-edge, as shown below right, set the pocket-hole depth for the thinner board. If joining boards end-to-face or edge-to-face, such as in a table apron to the top, set the depth for the thickness of the board with the pockets, regardless of which is thinner, and then use a shorter screw if necessary.
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