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I bought a Kreg Jig a couple of weeks ago, and I'm having real difficulties making a decent joint.

 

I'm trying to make a simple right angle joint that looks like: with the pocket holes on the inside of the L.

 

But the joints are almost always ridiculously weak (I can rip them apart with my hands)  and sometimes the tip and side of the screw pokes through the end grain of the of the mating board. I'm working with 1" (actual thickeness 3/4") pine. I've checked the bit depth and collar depth a zillion times, both are set to 3/4" (using the shelf of the bit not the tip to set the collar).

 

What's strange is that I can drill three or more consecutive pocket holes on a single board, screw it to the mating board, and 1 screw might join perfectly while the other two will have problems ---- even though the bit depth, collar, depth, torque and speed of the drill never changed for any of the holes. And looking at the pockets holes, they all seem the same.

 

I'm at my wits end trying to figure out what's going on.

A weekend project that I could have just screwed and glued is becoming a real problem, and I  may just have to return the Kreg Jig ... even though I'm guessing that there must be something I'm not understanding or doing right.

 

Any advice greatly appreciated.

 

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Great, let's hope that is what it is.
When I'm working with soft woods (I use mostly cedar), I turn the screws by hand - you get a much better feel of where you are.  If I have a big run, I use the Ryobi 4 volt drill with 0 torque - I find any other drill will drive the screws through the wood, especially cedar.

Thanks Chris.

More evidence suggesting I'm really overdriving the screws. 

I have a little Ryobi 4v as well, and will try that in my experiments today too.

btw .... any suggestions on drill settings when drilling the actual pocket holes?

Drilling the pocket holes....full speed and torque. The guide stop does the work there.

 

I'm still laughing about the zig-zag comment. Wonder how many did not get it !!

Johnny

@Johnny - I missed that post. LOL that was really sharp. haha

The only thing I could think of from your post is that almost everytime I have seen this joint the holes are on the outside of the L. This way the screws are angled away from the end of the board you are attaching to. If the screws are on the inside you could be splitting the board and that is why the joint fails. You could test this by attaching a set so they make a "T", if this works with a solid joint... I might be right. If it still fails you might need to post pictures or take a sample of a failed joint to a local woodworking store and ask for a second set of eyes. The rockler near my house has employees more than willing to help out with strange questions.

Good Luck,

Mike

Thanks Mike ... i think that's definitely part of the problem. I've found that I get better results with  T's.

 

But part of the attraction of pocket holes is hiding the screws, and in this case the holes would need to be on the inside. Is it basically a given that I'll end up with weaker joints drilling pocket holes on the inside of an L? If I manage to get a decent joint on the inside, will i have to worry about it weakening over time because of it's positioning?

So I just experimented with really low torque on the drill, and was able to get a *much* better result. It's only one test, so I don't want to say that the problem has been solved yet, but the drill settings were definitely part of the problem. At lower settings though I'm having a tough time knowing whether i've gone far enough. But maybe that's just something that comes with practice.

Regarding Mikes post. I have no issues with the way that you are joining. Strong as nails. I have a Dewalt and Ryobi cordless drill and I hardly every take them over 2 / 24 for the torque settings on softwood. I would try using the lowers setting possible and work up until the seat of the screw just just pulls tight onto the seat of the drilled hole. 

 

NOTE: You want the screw to just nip tight to the other piece. So basically you want the pieces to tighten just enough so that there is a bit of glue squeeze out. You do not have to tighten the hell out of it. Just use more pocket holes. Try it and see. You just need to hold the pieces in place with screws. Not make them fuse :)

Thanks Alex ... I'm trying to avoid glue, but your advice still holds. I know at times I've tried to get the pieces ridiculously tight.

 

I just did another experiment driving the screws super slowly - and once again I'm getting a good solid joint.

 

I don't have a lot of woodworking experience, so it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the whole problem turns out to be me  overdriving the screws and trying to fuse the pieces together at a molecular level ... I don't have that feel for the materials that I'm guessing many on here have worked into the dna.

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