save time with
pocket holes

You won't find a faster way to build basic cabinets, and they're handy for assembling tricky joints, too.

With all of the great woodworking joints at our disposal, most of which don't require hardware of any kind, a woodworker has to wonder: Why use a pocket-hole joint? The answer is simple: Pocket holes offer the quickest way imaginable to build a face frame, assemble a cabinet, or join parts that would be difficult to clamp. And they provide plenty of holding power, too. Of course, you could try to drill the pocket holes freehand, but a commercial jig helps you do it far more accurately and efficiently. Let us show you the basics, using a Kreg K2000 jig as our main example. (Kreg's Mini jig is represented in the drawing below.) To learn more about pocket-hole jigs, see page 62.
When using a jig like this one, take a minute to mount it on a plywood panel. Then, you can easily clamp the unit to your workbench.
A pocket-hole joint at a glance
A pocket hole enters wood at an angle of about 15 to the workpiece surface, allowing you to drill toward the end or edge of a project part as shown in the photo above. A specially designed drill bit equipped with a stop collar (Drawing 1) creates a hole large enough to accept the head of a screw, while also drilling a small hole for the shank.
Use screws with coarse threads to join softwood, plywood, or medium-density fiberboard (MDF), and fine threads for hardwoods (see photo below). Pocket-hole screws have a self-tapping auger point. This point, combined with the untapered profile of the screw, allows you to drive the screw into the adjoining part without a pilot hole. Even dense woods, such as oak, should not split.
The screws also feature a round washer head (so named because it has extra bearing surface built into the bottom of the head). This design, which prevents the head from being pulled into the wood, guarantees a tight connection.

Drill at least two holes to resist twisting. Add glue to the mating surfaces if you don't intend to disassemble the parts later. Use clamps to ensure flush surfaces, as shown in Drawing 2. Now, insert the screws, and drive them to full depth, drawing the two parts together.
Let's put it to use
Face frames come together quickly with pocket-hole joinery, as shown in Photo A. As you can see, we built a support platform out of 2x4s to make the process go even more smoothly. The platform holds your workpiece up off the bench, creating space for clamps. Pocket holes save a lot of time when you build basic cabinets, as shown in Photos  and C. Pocket-hole joinery also stands out as a way to assemble angled, hard-to-clamp joints, like the ones found in a multiple-sided frame. See Photo D for an example. Pocket-hole joinery creates long, unsightly surface holes at each joint. That's not a problem for concealed surfaces. For sometimes-seen surfaces, you might decide to fill the holes with commercially available plugs, as shown in Photo E (or make your own plugs from dowels). The result might not be acceptable on highly visible project surfaces, though. In such cases, another joint type, say biscuits, might give better results  

A clamp, such as this specialized version, keeps the joint members flush while you drive the pocket-hole screws. Use 1 1/4" pocket-hole screws for 3/4" stock.
You can drill into panels of any size; just make sure to provide level support. If your jig doesn't include accessories for that purpose, cut scraps of wood to suit. Drill on the inside face of each panel if the outside will be visible; for a cabinet that will be part of a row of attached cabinets, drill on the outside face.
 
Rather than struggling to hold these joints in place during glue-up, we used pocket holes. Drill holes from opposite sides of each joint for extra strength.
 
Pocket holes make cabinet construction quick and easy. Use them not only to attach a cabinet's face frame, as shown here, but also to join sides, back, and bottom. Clamps help you keep large pieces aligned as you drive the screws. If you choose to use plugs, brush glue on each one, and tap it in place with a wood block and hammer. You have to plane or sand the plugs flush, which eliminates some of the timesaving advantage of pocket-hole joinery.