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Pocket Hole Joinery

You can easily make pocket hole joints for your projects at home with a pocket hole jig and a portable drill.

Pocket Hole Basics

Professional furniture makers have used pocket hole joinery for years ...and for good reason. It's a simple way to achieve a strong, permanent joining of two pieces of wood.

So exactly what is a pocket hole, and what's so special about it? A pocket hole is simply a hole drilled at an angle that forms a pocket for the screw. Think of it as a highly engineered toenailing technique. What makes it precise is the design of the pocket hole jig that guides the drill bit into the wood at a specific angle to produce an engineered hole to house the screw head.

After the pocket hole is drilled, a specially designed fastener is used to assemble the joints. These case-hardened screws are designed with self-drilling tips that will not split the wood when the screws are driven in, even in hardwoods such as oak and maple.

One of the advantages of pocket hole joinery is that you only need to use one clamp to complete a project — because each joint is assembled individually.

Another advantage is that there's no need to wait for the glue to dry before continuing on with your project. Once you drive the screws, the joint is permanently assembled, allowing you to continue building and giving you the opportunity to complete your project in hours rather than days.

Two Simple Steps to Wood Joinery

These two steps will allow you to create strong, professional wood joints in a fraction of the time needed with other joinery methods.

Step 1

Drill the pocket hole. A special step drill bit not only drills the pocket hole, but it also drills the guide hole for the screw in one quick motion (for more on step bits, see our Drill Bits Buying Guide). Simply clamp the pocket hole jig securely to your wood, and drill the hole.

Step 2

Align the pieces to be joined, temporarily clamp them to hold them in position, and then drive the screws. A variety of specialized clamps for assembling pocket holes is available.

Who Can Use Pocket Hole Joinery?

Everyone from the do-it-yourselfer to the trim contractor and the professional cabinetmaker can use pocket hole joinery to build stronger, more professional wood joints in less time. The practical applications are endless. Cabinets, bookshelves, tables, chairs and even simple garage storage can all be joined easily. Once you realize how fast, strong and simple pocket hole joinery is, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

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