How To Make Pocket Holes

Pocket hole joinery has been used by carpenters extensively over the years. This technique has its roots in ancient Egypt. It has proved to be an indispensable approach in permanently joining two adjacent pieces of wood. Before proceeding further with the article, it’s necessary we understand what a pocket hole is. It’s going to be a simple definition, no technical terms: it’s a hole that forms a pocket shape for a screw when drilled.


Pocket hole joinery isn’t limited to the professional carpenters. You can use this modus operand in your DIY projects. Mastering the technique is easy. When tackling DIY’s, you can make the pocket holes using either a portable drill or Kreig Jig (Pocket screw jig).

Why use Pocket Holes?

Their extensive use, especially in the furniture industry, has been attributed to two main advantages it presents:

  • Ease of clamping: You only need one clamp to see the project to completion.
  • Fast joint assemblage: You need not wait for drying of glue. Therefore, the project will take less time to complete.

The other merits are:

  • It only requires the drilling of one hole. Consequently, the need of precisely lining up workpieces is eliminated.
  • This technique doesn’t require complex mathematical formulae as used by other methods such as mortise and Tenon joints.

Moreover, it’s easy to repair furniture with such joinery since you don’t require disassembling its parts.

How To Make Pocket Holes Using A Drill

• The first thing to do is to own or have a borrowed drill with the required drill bit set.

• On the pieces of wood, mark the position where you want to drill the holes.

• After the above step, drill the pilot holes, usually two, when holding the drill straight. The two holes are crucial in hindering the breaking of the drill bit.

• On the pilot holes, start drilling them further by moving the drill downwards as it slants almost in contact with the wood.

• Congratulations to you! After keenly following the preceding steps, you have made pocket holes. You can make them as long and deep as you’d want them to be.

• To finish off, place a screw in the pocket hole and screw it to the other piece of wood.

How To Use The Pocket Screw Jig?

• This tool comes in a set that consists of a stepped drill bit, pocket hole jig, locking clamp, a 6’’ driver bit and pocket screws. You can purchase this tool from any woodworking store.

• The Kreig Jig has been defined as a ready to go tool. All the user needs to do before using it is to first over the bit, slide the stop collar. Then adjust the depth of the bit ensuring the collar is tight. The initial setup of the jig is assembled to join ¾ ‘’ materials with 1 ¼’’ screws. To join 1 ½ ‘’ thick materials such as 2 x 4’s, add plastic spacers with a Kreig rocket and drive into the wood 2 ½ ‘’ long screws.

• To mount the drill holes and the jig, place the bit in the guide before commencing drilling. Allow the bit to reach maximum speed before drilling it into the wood. To remove the wood shavings when drilling, withdraw the drill once or twice. Moreover, the bit’s withdrawal keeps it cool and makes drilling easier.

• Pocket hole screws are relatively expensive compared to their counterparts, nail. They have three fundamental features that identify them as the most suited in pocket hole joinery:

  • Their self-drilling tips make it easier to penetrate the wood.
  • They have strong heads, and the square recess makes slip- proof driving possible.
  • When joining to wood elements like plywood, their washers prevent them from being overdriven.

Use fine- threaded screws when using hardwood lumber and for soft lumber such as pine use screws that have a coarse thread.

• To ensure you have tight- fitting joints, hold the faces of the wood lined up when driving in the screws. I recommend using the locking pliers clamp in keeping the wood in alignment. Place the metal pad against the visible part of the joint. Then clamp the two pieces of wood together. Clamping ensures precise alignment when driving in the screws which make the joint tighter.

However, you can clamp both pieces of wood to flat surfaces. Therefore, it’s up to you to decide what works best to meet your needs. Moreover, despite glue having no role to play in the strength of the joint, it’s advisable to glue both wood surfaces before screwing them.

Want To Reach The Maximum Performance Of Your Jig?

Consider the following

• Make accurate square cuts: When undertaking projects with right angles, to ensure perfect assembling of the woods, make precise square cuts.

• Plan the project beforehand: As is the case with almost everything you do, plan the work before starting it. You should lay out parts of the project in your preferred orientation. Mark the wood on its back face and similarly mark other layouts such as the point where the stile lines up with the middle rail. On the marked positions, drill the pocket holes.

• Avoid driving screws into the ends of grain: Drill pocket holes in such a manner that screws are threaded into either the face or edge of the wood grain. This is because screws don’t achieve maximum strength when threaded into the end grain.

• Set the appropriate pocket depth: To have the strongest joints, the stop solar should be set as par the instructions of the jig. The pilot hole should stop at 1/8’’ from the form the wood’s edge. This prevents you from drilling too deep into the wood.

• Use high-speed drills: High-speed drills produce cleaner holes due to the fast movement of the bit.

• Smooth the bit: Before you begin enjoying drilling the wood, apply lubricant on the wood to reduce friction and prolong the bit’s sharpness.


According to your preference, you should choose either to use the Kreig Jig or the drill to make the pocket holes. You should, however, bear in mind the ease of each. Moreover, it’s certain that pocket holes are necessary if you seek to undertake some furniture DIY projects. Thus it’s vital to familiarize yourself with this technique. I hope that this article has been of help to you!

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Jose A. Brown

Jose A. Brown is a mechanic engineer and an enthusiastic blogger whose mission is to provide the readers with the best tips, guides in the Home Improvement, DIY Project, and Industry.

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