Kreg Owners' Community

The number one suggestion is to make sure that you are using Kreg Screws.
Kreg screws have several features designed to limit, and even eliminate wood-splitting in your joints.
- The self-tapping tip drills the wood as it’s driven.
- The small diameter shank displaces less wood.
- The flat head doesn't wedge the wood apart when tightened down.
- The half-threaded shank eliminates binding.

Use Pan-Head Screws (SPS)
Our Pan-Head Screws have a smaller diameter that displaces less wood as it’s driven.

Use Fine-Thread in Hardwood
Coarse-threaded screws displace more wood with a more aggressive thread pattern.

Screw it In, Back it Out
By driving your screw half of the way in, back out, and then in again, you’ll reduce any excess wood in the hole.

Bee’s Wax
In extremely hard woods like Maple or Hickory, by applying some bee’s wax or other lubricant to the screw, you’ll reduce friction as the screw enters the workpiece.

Clamp, Clamp, Clamp
The primary benefit of clamping is to eliminate joint shift and reduce the need for sanding. Proper clamping also reduces workpiece movement, which can cause wood-splitting.

Test Pieces
Test your wood before you drill into it. Use a scrap piece that isn’t intended to be used on your final project.

Dry Wood Splits
It's important to understand what causes wood to split. In addition to certain species of wood being more prone to splitting, wood with low moisture is also more likely to split. If you live in a low-moisture location, your wood will be more prone to splitting and you’ll need to take extra precaution.

When All Else Fails, Pre-Drill
When you use your Kreg Jig®, pre-drilling your holes into the second workpiece isn’t required. However, in unique situations, with unique humidity levels, or uniquely split-prone wood, it might be your best bet! Warning: pre-drilling is not easy or recommended in almost any circumstance.

Tags: drill, head, kreg, pan, screw, splitting, test, wood

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Good list, thanks!
Are you recommending using pan head as opposed to washer head "on a wholesale level" or in a particular circumstance?
Steve Gronsky said:
Are you recommending using pan head as opposed to washer head "on a wholesale level" or in a particular circumstance?

Good question, no. We're recommending SPS screws if you're having trouble with splitting wood, specifically. For the majority of situations, SML (flat maxi-loc head) is the way to go.
I used red oak on my cabinet project and using the Kreg jig pocket hole I never had any problem with the wood splitting. But I do think that clamping is essential to make the perfect joint with much less sanding. I also glued the joints and so far they are holding up perfect.

 

I have used red oak as well and used the correct length of screws as well as the fine thread to join red oak together for a face frame.  I have set up my drill clutch so that it doesn't over drive the screw.  I do clamp the pieces together.  I have split nearly every piece of red oak that the screw went into.  If the wood is not split, then the joint isn't tight (the joints are square), and then when I tighten it to pull it tightly together, the piece being joined splits out on the face with the screw point just below the surface of the face.

I have also changed the hole placement and I still have the result.  The only thing that I haven't changed yet is the depth of the stop on the drill bit.  The point of the bit is about 1/8th of an inch above the bottom of the jig.  I have not had this issue when I have joined the same thickness of plywood with the coarse thread screws.  Any suggestions on what to do would be appreciated for this hardwood challenge.  Thanks.
I would definitely check the depth of the stop collar and also the setting on the jig for the correct wood thickness. I built a complete set of cabinet faceframes using kiln dried red oak and have not seen a single split on any of the hundreds of joints. Also double check you are using the correct Kreg skrew for hardwood and board thickness. Kreg has a chart to match these dimensions up. Let me know if you find something other than these tips that is causing your splitting problems so I can learn something new also. Good luck

George Belton said:

 

I have used red oak as well and used the correct length of screws as well as the fine thread to join red oak together for a face frame.  I have set up my drill clutch so that it doesn't over drive the screw.  I do clamp the pieces together.  I have split nearly every piece of red oak that the screw went into.  If the wood is not split, then the joint isn't tight (the joints are square), and then when I tighten it to pull it tightly together, the piece being joined splits out on the face with the screw point just below the surface of the face.

I have also changed the hole placement and I still have the result.  The only thing that I haven't changed yet is the depth of the stop on the drill bit.  The point of the bit is about 1/8th of an inch above the bottom of the jig.  I have not had this issue when I have joined the same thickness of plywood with the coarse thread screws.  Any suggestions on what to do would be appreciated for this hardwood challenge.  Thanks.
I am having the same problome with my face frame with Cherry. Every time I screw them together it splits. Very frustrating. No problome with the cases but the hard Cherry forget it! I'm using the fine thread at the right length.
I'll try these tips. I do live in San Diego and it is usually pretty dry.
 I screwed in the screw half way then backed out and lubed with Remi lube and reapplied the screw and there is no more splitting of the wood . Thanks for the info, it worked.
OK, I just left my garage and got my Kreg Jig Set out and double checked the settings I used for my cabinets. In my set it has a gauge that has different wood thickness and hardness, For red oak or any hardwood use the fine thread and length recomended, I think it is 11/2" , and set the stop collar at the correct setting that comes with almost every Kreg pocket hole kit you can buy. This is VERY IMPORTANT, to have the stop collar set correctly!! If you do this bit of homework I promise you that your joints will not split. I am now on about my 2000th joint and not had a single splkit yet!! You have not got something set correctly according tyo the Kreg Jig Parameters. Please let me know how this works out, I really needf to know what is going on here and will adjust my work accordingly! Thank you very much for including me in your project.

John Magee said:
I would definitely check the depth of the stop collar and also the setting on the jig for the correct wood thickness. I built a complete set of cabinet faceframes using kiln dried red oak and have not seen a single split on any of the hundreds of joints. Also double check you are using the correct Kreg skrew for hardwood and board thickness. Kreg has a chart to match these dimensions up. Let me know if you find something other than these tips that is causing your splitting problems so I can learn something new also. Good luck

George Belton said:

 

I have used red oak as well and used the correct length of screws as well as the fine thread to join red oak together for a face frame.  I have set up my drill clutch so that it doesn't over drive the screw.  I do clamp the pieces together.  I have split nearly every piece of red oak that the screw went into.  If the wood is not split, then the joint isn't tight (the joints are square), and then when I tighten it to pull it tightly together, the piece being joined splits out on the face with the screw point just below the surface of the face.

I have also changed the hole placement and I still have the result.  The only thing that I haven't changed yet is the depth of the stop on the drill bit.  The point of the bit is about 1/8th of an inch above the bottom of the jig.  I have not had this issue when I have joined the same thickness of plywood with the coarse thread screws.  Any suggestions on what to do would be appreciated for this hardwood challenge.  Thanks.
OK, the depth of the stop collar is the MOST IMORTANT part of this part of the job! Please do your homework and get the correct thickness gauge to determine the correct setting on the stop collar. Like I said befor, I have joined maybe 2000 joints in kiln dried red oak and never had a SINGLE, joint split on me when joining face frames or any other woodworking project I have undertook! Im NOT a Kreg representative, but I do use these pockethole joints on everything I possibly can and these are in my opinion the best and highest quality joints.

John Magee said:
OK, I just left my garage and got my Kreg Jig Set out and double checked the settings I used for my cabinets. In my set it has a gauge that has different wood thickness and hardness, For red oak or any hardwood use the fine thread and length recomended, I think it is 11/2" , and set the stop collar at the correct setting that comes with almost every Kreg pocket hole kit you can buy. This is VERY IMPORTANT, to have the stop collar set correctly!! If you do this bit of homework I promise you that your joints will not split. I am now on about my 2000th joint and not had a single splkit yet!! You have not got something set correctly according tyo the Kreg Jig Parameters. Please let me know how this works out, I really needf to know what is going on here and will adjust my work accordingly! Thank you very much for including me in your project.

John Magee said:
I would definitely check the depth of the stop collar and also the setting on the jig for the correct wood thickness. I built a complete set of cabinet faceframes using kiln dried red oak and have not seen a single split on any of the hundreds of joints. Also double check you are using the correct Kreg skrew for hardwood and board thickness. Kreg has a chart to match these dimensions up. Let me know if you find something other than these tips that is causing your splitting problems so I can learn something new also. Good luck

George Belton said:

 

I have used red oak as well and used the correct length of screws as well as the fine thread to join red oak together for a face frame.  I have set up my drill clutch so that it doesn't over drive the screw.  I do clamp the pieces together.  I have split nearly every piece of red oak that the screw went into.  If the wood is not split, then the joint isn't tight (the joints are square), and then when I tighten it to pull it tightly together, the piece being joined splits out on the face with the screw point just below the surface of the face.

I have also changed the hole placement and I still have the result.  The only thing that I haven't changed yet is the depth of the stop on the drill bit.  The point of the bit is about 1/8th of an inch above the bottom of the jig.  I have not had this issue when I have joined the same thickness of plywood with the coarse thread screws.  Any suggestions on what to do would be appreciated for this hardwood challenge.  Thanks.

I am building some cabinets out of "1X4" pine as my first kreg Jig Project. I was having some issues with splitting especially on the rails at the end of the board. Two things that I found that were causing this are:

My 1X4, which I assumed to be 3/4" thick, were actually closer to 5/8ths thick. (Measure your boards, don't just assume that they are correct, set up your jig and use the correct screw length for that thickness.)

By placing my pocket holes farther away from the edge that will be near the end of the mating board, I ran less risk of splitting.

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