Kreg Owners' Community

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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From time to time I have the same issues you are having.  I really never figured out what was wrong so I always screw in a test screw after I drill my first pocket.  If the screw does not exit at the center of the board I use the 5/8 setting.  It bring the pocket hole up and still gives a strong joint by keeping the entire screw in the board.  The key is to always test first.

You can try saving the boards with the "bad" holes by gluing Kreg wooden plugs in the holes, and after the glue has cured, cutting off the excess and sanding.  Then you can re-drill the pocket holes.
I have found that the slow/low clutch settings work much better on the soft woods like pine.  I am using a setting of 3-4 to set the screw.

Rod,

What's the torque at the ''3-4'' setting?

 


Rod Lowell said:

I have found that the slow/low clutch settings work much better on the soft woods like pine.  I am using a setting of 3-4 to set the screw.
Well you have to do something while the glue sets up.

Johnny said:

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

Johnny

Shift, this is 5 pages of replies, and I am not going to read them all.
In my limited experience I strongly suggest you to put your drill on either fast or slow speed, as long as it is variable speed -- meaning the less you pull the trigger the slower it turns the motor. If it is not variable speed, I highly suggest you get one (a cheap black and decker 18v firestorm works great from walmart). Put it on the lowest clutch setting, and drive your screw slowly. When the clutch starts to slip, stop, notch it up to the next setting and slowly pull the trigger. You will feel if the screw turns or not, and you need to watch the two boards pull together at the same time. Most of the time the issue you are describing when all settings and screw type and size are correct as caused by over torquing the screw through the pocket. I did the same thing when I first started playing with pocket holes. I was working with cedar. Cedar is a soft wood that likes to split. No telling how many 1/2 to 1/2 butt joints (L joints) I over torqued and drove the screw through the mating board. I had to learn the feel of the wood and the screw. you will feel the screw tighten up as you gradually adjust the torque setting and while you watch the two come together.
Also, using the kreg clamps is very helpful in getting a tight joint too... the butt joint corner clamp is great for your joint, but you want to make sure you do not over tighten the clamp or it can cause the board to break and split especially if it is a thin soft wood.
I hope this helps.

great explanation, I think we have a winner here!!!! jajaja, with that type of detail, there is no way to do it wrong.... I think....

Mike Kahle said:

Shift, this is 5 pages of replies, and I am not going to read them all.
In my limited experience I strongly suggest you to put your drill on either fast or slow speed, as long as it is variable speed -- meaning the less you pull the trigger the slower it turns the motor. If it is not variable speed, I highly suggest you get one (a cheap black and decker 18v firestorm works great from walmart). Put it on the lowest clutch setting, and drive your screw slowly. When the clutch starts to slip, stop, notch it up to the next setting and slowly pull the trigger. You will feel if the screw turns or not, and you need to watch the two boards pull together at the same time. Most of the time the issue you are describing when all settings and screw type and size are correct as caused by over torquing the screw through the pocket. I did the same thing when I first started playing with pocket holes. I was working with cedar. Cedar is a soft wood that likes to split. No telling how many 1/2 to 1/2 butt joints (L joints) I over torqued and drove the screw through the mating board. I had to learn the feel of the wood and the screw. you will feel the screw tighten up as you gradually adjust the torque setting and while you watch the two come together.
Also, using the kreg clamps is very helpful in getting a tight joint too... the butt joint corner clamp is great for your joint, but you want to make sure you do not over tighten the clamp or it can cause the board to break and split especially if it is a thin soft wood.
I hope this helps.

I haven't read the entire 5 pages but using pocket screws on the inside of an L is going to yield a weak joint. Especially so if the jig is not adjusted right. If adjusted correctly, the screw would not project from the endgrain of the mating board. The attached drawing is scaled for 3/4 stock, the dotted line is at the 15* angle provided by the jig and exits the pocket board exactly in the center.

I'm looking at your drawing (John Schaben): Vertical board corner (with pocket holes) sitting on top of horizontal board. And after reading the other replies.

 

Consider how the joint will be used and which way weight will bear on the joint.

1a. With the pocket holes angling down the vertical board to the outside, do not go all the way through the horizontal board by 1/4 or 1/8

1b...or consider doing pockets from the outside of the vertical board.

2. Make double sure pieces are flush right-on right angles.

3. Make a test for placement of the jig on the vertical piece.

4. Match screw to wood type: thread is coarse or fine; length of screw.

5. Match drill speed to wood, dense or easier to penetrate.

6. If the screw does go through the second board, might consider placing scrap wood under it to lessen exit tear.

Set the tip to the 3/4" setting. By setting it your way, you are drilling too deep hence the reason for the screws going through. Depending on the length and height of the two boards that you are joining, the flexibility will be dependent on that. The wider each is, the more flexibility you will see. If it flexes too much, you may have to add a few more screws to it. You may also need a clamp to pull it together tight while you run your screws down. Another factor is the type of wood and the corresponding screws to go with it. If you notice, you will have two different types of screws. One is for hardwoods and the other is for soft woods like Pine, MDF and so on. The coarse is for the softer woods and the fine is for harder woods.

Hi I have heard of this and to avoid the issue some simple steps may help

1. It is critical that all sawing has a square cut.

2. I have found setting torque to a mid way point say 12/13 out of 25

3.Even steady screwing with the drill at same angle as screw

If the material you are using is "pine" are you using the correct screws? Coarse usually give a good grip but be carefull with the torque setting.

 

 

I know this thread is old, but ...

I still wanted to wrap up it up with a big thank you to everyone for the bucket loads of great advice and tips you shared .... it got me over the hump and allowed me to complete a half dozen projects without a hitch. 

Fantastic community here ... can't thank you enough.

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