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Pocket-hole pointers

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Screw and glue
Screw chart
Enlarge Image
3 screws
Enlarge Image
Use fine-thread screws for
hardwoods. Use coarse-thread
screws for softwoods, MDF,
particleboard, and plywood.

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.

Continued on page 4:  Assembling the joints


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