Screw and glue
Choose the right screws.
Coarse-thread pocket screws hold best in softer woods, such as pine, cedar, and poplar, as well as plywood; use fine-thread screws for hardwoods. Choose the length based on the workpiece thickness, as shown in the chart top right.
Most pocket-hole screws come with an oversized washer head for increased contact with the pocket shoulder, but you can also get screws with a smaller pan head for use with shallow pockets where a washer head would protrude above the workpiece surface. For outdoor applications, choose stainless steel or coated screws. Never use drywall screws -- they break easily while driving, and their tapered ("bugle") heads can split the bottoms of the pocket shoulders.
Don't forget the glue.
Screws alone make a plenty-strong pocket-hole joint, but adding glue helps prevent a joint from opening up due to seasonal shrinking and swelling.
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