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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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Thanks for the insights Andrew ... drilling an extra hole or two sounds like a good idea.

(and that bench is *exactly* what I should be building right now)

I would go with a manual screw driver, get the feel of seating the screw. This will give you the opportunity to see if the problem goes away. If it does, you know that you need to make adjustments on your power driver and your technique using it. I love my Kreg and am rushing to get my new shop finished so I can start some projects that I have planned. Good luck and enjoy your Kreg

Shift said:

Alex ... thanks for the detailed check list.

and Samurai for the advice ... I'm using coarse screws on pine, so no problem there.


I think the two of you may be right in suggesting that I'm overdriving the screw and stripping hole. I'm going to do some tests this afternoon using a much lower clutch setting and let you know how that goes.

Hey Shift,


I posted a reply last night from my phone but I see it did not go through. Any way, to rescue the stripped holes there are 3 things that you can do:

1. Drill new pocket holes. Bit of a messy option.

2. Move the board that you are attaching (not the one with the pocket holes) forward so that the end of the board is not flush with the pocket hole board. There will be a slight over hang. Then you can go ahead and flush tim the end with a router. That is is you have a router of course.

3. The best one. All you do is mix a little wood glue with some sawdust and push it into the screw holes that are stripped. Let it dry and sand it flat. Presto, drive the screws again into the same holes that now have new grip.


I saw your pics, it is a better idea to do all your joinery and then when you are done to start staining your wood and finishing it. 


Why were you avoiding glue?

I think i read they recommend 2" from the edge for your first pocket hole

Shift said:

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?

I also believe you are overdriving the screws.  I also use a Ryobi 18V drill, but I use the slower #1 speed and set the clutch at 5 for pine to pine joints.  I also like to use a little glue in face frame and cabinet door frame joints.  I'm assuming your work is clamped tightly during assembly. 

Try to not get frustrated.  This is a great joinery system, and saves loads of time

Try screwing the short end piece to the long end piece.  The thickness of the wood is what matters.  Sometimes the side your are screwing it to is wider than 3/4 inch, so you can use longer screws.  Just make sure the screw is not too long.  Hope this helps.  I've used my Kreg and it had worked great.  Make sure your lumber is flat and even.

sounds like you dont have the spacer instaled..if the screws are poking out the bottom..on the side of the has a wood depth it set to the depth of your wood?


Is there any chance you could put you pockets holes in from the other side?
I had this problem and then realized I didn't have the depth gauge on the bit set correctly. It is a bit confusing.
Hey Shift My Kregg is an older model. So not sure if you can move the board like I can. My Kregg has the main 3 hole jig with clamp and I have the double hole jig that I can clamp on the wood, so I can move this any where on the board, and the single jig. Clamps the same way as the double. If you would like you can call me to talk about this. My cell # is 530-598-5306. Saturday & Sunday are my days off . Hope this might help Thanks Kelly

Shift said:

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?

Can't thank everyone here enough for all the advice and insights.


Slowing down the drill, driving the screws by hand when I can, and not trying to tighten the living hell out of each joint seems to have solved the problem as all of you suggested.


I've made a few dozen solid, tight joints now, and I'm actually enjoying the process more now that I'm driving some of the screws by hand ... I can  feel how the wood is responding in a way that just wasn't possible for me using the drill.


Again a big thank you to everyone here.


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.

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