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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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btw .. If I want to try to try to rescue the pieces that I've stripped from overdriving by making new pocket holes, how close and far from the edge could I put the new holes while still creating a solid joint?

hi shift,

           i have had a few problems like you over tightening the screws, to get over this i scewed in by hand driver until i felt it tighten  if you put glue on the joint you will see it come out and you know thats enough,i had to set my drill on low then keep altering it unil is went in like hand now its easy,

Hello there, maybe it will help a little if you post some photos of the problem,

because is a very rare problem,

maybe is the quality of the wood you're using?

I'm a NOOB with this jig and never had this problem, always get a strong joint and 90º, most of times using pine,

hope I may help!


Thanks Tony.  I think the problem was overdriving the screws to the point where I was stripping the pocket holes and destroying the joint. I've done a couple of experiments with a lot less torque and it seems to be fixing the problem.
You must slow down the trigger and learn to feel the point at which it grabs nicely. Forget the stupid clutch thing on the drill. Wood changes density all the time and what works on one piece will not work on the next.

Here are pics of a couple of 1x8 boards where i've ruined the pocket holes by overdriving. In the second pic you can that I tried adding a couple of new pocket holes before I got people's advice here and they're stripped too. :)


Is there enough room on the outside of the original pocket holes to drill new holes and try to salvage the boards? I can't find any mention online as to how close to the side of a board you can safely put a pocket hole.




Uh ok Shift,

I think that overdriving is the problem, are you using a battery operated drill?  almost all battery drills have a torque limitator selector, I always use a battery drill using it in the "low" gear and the torque limitator in the "10" mark, as soon as it get to the wood only drives quarter to half turn until it stop,

doing this I always get a nice tight joint without spliting the wood

hope this help

Drill clutch on 2 is your safest bet. The kregg screws, being self-tapping, really like to go through softwood and ply. I back the drill bit depth down just a hair. I for one am going to try that thing with the nickle. Also the height adjustment on the guide can be tweeked abit. I find that the line indicating the depth should not be totally visable. Lastly, in the I just want to add two cents post, keep in mind that the soft woods and most of the ply material vari in density though out the board, so before I ruin an expensive peice of wood. Oops, to late. Test on scrap and drive the screws home by hand. When you get the hang of this seemingly simple device you will be looking for things to break to build new ones. Goodluck

Thanks Andrew. I was wondering about how to position the line on the depth guide ... I'm going to try hiding it on my next test.  ... Also had no idea that the density varied throughout the boards.


Being new to all this, I just assumed that driving the screws by hand or even slowly would somehow create a weaker joint. The tests today are showing that's not at all the case.

make sure your ends are square. I have an older master kit with all three jigs. I use the double most of the time. Also make sure that when you put the jig at the end its not to far to the end of the board. I had this come up on me. So I moved the jig back from the end of the board and no screws poking through. One last idea is to make sure the pockets are clean. Hope this will help. HAPPY JIGGING.              Thanks  Kelly
Pls use your drill to set the the screws. Slow and steady is always best speed. Even a medium pace will work. Just to emphisize the quality of the kregg screws and most self-tapping screws is that you must think of them as little drill bits. In fact they are just that; little drill bits attached to screws. You can use the kregg screws in most situation without predrilling a hole for it. Even close to the edge it will not split most softwoods. When in doubt predrill. Kregg screws have replaced all other screws I use for making jigs, screwing a stop to the bench or what ever comes up because they rarely split the wood. Keep that in mind when driving self-tapping screws, despite the washer style head the screw wants to keep going. That is why a low setting on the drill is so important.
When it comes to the exposed edges go easy then go back and check with a hand driver. I drill an extra hole or two in the event a screw pokes thru and just leave that hole empty. If you have the opportunity to build yourself a new work bench or garage/shed storage cabinets you will get the kinks worked out. The stuff in you garage will not get the same scrutiny as a coffee table or bookcase. When and/or if you work with oak and other dense woods it will become clear that there is amazing variation in how different woods like to be cut, drilled into and especially sanded. This is an addictive hobby so pace yourself. If this bad pic loads right the bench and cabinets are right from the Kregg plans. Again Goodluck

Thanks Kelly. I learnt about cleaning out the pockets the hard way :) 

What do you mean when you say move the jig back from the end of the board?

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