Kreg Owners' Community

I purchased the kreg jig yesterday and have been learning to use it on some scraps of pine. (3/4 inch thick. I believe the jig is set up properly, but the 1 1/4 inch screws are not holding. The joined boards can easily be pulled apart by hand. I tried joining two scraps of hemlock with much better results. I also have been having problems with the pine on the joined board splitting.

Can two 3/4 inch thick pine boards be successfully joined with pocket screws? What might I be doing wrong?

Thanks in advance everyone.

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Do you have the drill guide block set at the 3/4" and the depth collar set to the 3/4" mark. From the sounds of it you have one of these two things set incorrectly since the drill is not going deep enough. One easy trick is that you can run the bit through your jig with no wood attached and your bit should be just short of touching the base by about 1/8" or so. Hopefully this will solve your problem.
Hi Dan:
Yes, I have both the drill guide and depth collar set correctly. I triied the 1.5 inch screw and while they held much better the screws just barely came through the joined piece. I have a strong sense that the screw is not going quite far enough.

I've noticed that the entry point into the second board is slightly (but noticeably) below center. I'm not sure if this matters.


Dan F. said:
Do you have the drill guide block set at the 3/4" and the depth collar set to the 3/4" mark. From the sounds of it you have one of these two things set incorrectly since the drill is not going deep enough. One easy trick is that you can run the bit through your jig with no wood attached and your bit should be just short of touching the base by about 1/8" or so. Hopefully this will solve your problem.
Richard,
I'm sure this is far too simple of a solution... but you are using coarse-threaded Kreg screws, right? Fine-threaded won't give you near the hold strength. Also, remember, you can always add three holes depending on the width of your stock! And glue.

Derek
Hi Darek:

Unfortunately I am using coarse screws. I'd love to be doing something obvious and easy to correct.

I'm a little suspicious of the angle the screws are entering the board. The entry point into the board being joined is slightly below center. I've had some splitting occur and the screw never really tightens. I tried using the next size screw, 1.5 inches, and it held better but the tip protruded slightly through the board.

I've also been messing around with hemlock scraps with much better, although not perfect, results, Even using hemlock, which is fractionally thinner than the pine, I am getting occasional splitting and screws that don't seem tight.

This is making me crazy.
Richard
Well I was wondering if you were overdriving the screws. If you tighten them much past when they hit the seat of the hole it can strip out the hole. This will make it so the screw has very little to hold on to and can create a weak joint that you can easily pull apart. Also make sure that your joint line is firmly clamp when driving the screws in.
Richard,
I just went out to the shop to give it a try for myself. I had everything set at 3/4", I was using soft pine, and I was using a 1-1/4" Kreg coarse screw. For me, it worked perfectly. The screw entered the receiving workpiece at about the half way point, and there was about 3/4" of threads holding. It was a very strong joint, and I don't think I could have broken it with my hands by a long shot. Jumping on it, maybe. :)

Not sure what to tell you at this point... Maybe you just have an extraordinarily weak piece of pine? Although, I've worked with MDF quite a bit and I've never had any problems with that either. The only other thing I might suggest is just that you could be over-tightening.

Anyway, maybe someone more experienced than me can help... but just thought I'd let you know that it worked ok on my end! Good luck.



Richard Harris said:
Hi Darek:

Unfortunately I am using coarse screws. I'd love to be doing something obvious and easy to correct.

I'm a little suspicious of the angle the screws are entering the board. The entry point into the board being joined is slightly below center. I've had some splitting occur and the screw never really tightens. I tried using the next size screw, 1.5 inches, and it held better but the tip protruded slightly through the board.

I've also been messing around with hemlock scraps with much better, although not perfect, results, Even using hemlock, which is fractionally thinner than the pine, I am getting occasional splitting and screws that don't seem tight.

This is making me crazy.
Richard
Richard,
I, like you, have just recently purchased my Kreg Jig, so I'm not an expert by any means. But, I saw a Kreg Video on repairs and when you are using 3/4 stock, you take the guide out of the holder and add the spacer bar that comes with it. You clamp it to you stock instead of putting the stock in the jig. Also, one other thought is that pine is a soft wood and are you using coarse threaded screws or fine threaded screws. Coarse is for soft wood and MDF. This may or may not be the answer to your question, but I thought I'd give it a shot.
You can find the video on this site and its the one about repairs.
I have never had any real problem joining pine with pocket screws. Occasionally a hole might strip out if the screw is over driven or the screw will very infrequently break for the same reason. More often the screw will compress the bottom of the countersink and expose the point due to over penetration. Taking care not to overdrive the screws makes joining SYP more or less trouble free in my experience. Now, with oak the broken screws are a little more frequent but the other two problems which I have with pine do not happen and that can be prevented in the same way.

Still if you are using the right settings, the right screws and not over driving the screws you may have to use an alternative method of joining that particular bit of lumber. I have used some very old pine boards recycled from the interior walls of an old house that was so dry and brittle that trying to use pocket hole joints would probably have caused problems similar to what you are having. In that case self penetrating fasteners such as nails or screws without pre drilled pilot holes should be avoided.
Thanks everyone.

I think that overtightening is my problem. I've backed off and am getting better results. I'm not sure about using the spacer, I haven't experimented with that yet.

Perhaps like some of you, this economy has been devastating to my wife and I. We are trying to do thousands of dollars worth of work for hundreds of dollars and have hopes of gaining the skills necessary to remodel our kitchen without professionally made cabinets. I'm a 57 year old former corporate controller and tasks that require attention to detail and lots of concentration very much appeal to me. Cabinet making is at least as difficult as being an accountant and those who have mastered the skills neccessary have my admiration. I wish I had started this 20 years ago.

Thanks again.
Richard
I use a cordless DeWalt and set the clutch to number two and it works perfcto all the time,You have been over torquing the screws
Good luck and happy building
I have built many cabinets using pocket hole joints to assemble cabinets and face frames using pine. My current project, consists of 36 cabinets, upper and lower.
Make sure your cuts are square, both surfaces are clamped down tight and the joint is pulled tight when applying the screws and the jig and drill are set at the proper settings. If these are not done right, you tend to tighten down the screws tighter to close the gap and strip the wood making a weeker joint.
Also I have another jig other than the Kreg, and believe me the Kreg is a lot simpler to use and more accurate at putting the screw in the right place.
Since I started using pocket hole joints for assembly I have reduced the amount of clamps needed and cut my time for assembly.
I use a low speed screw gun to apply the screws because i find I have less tendancy to over tighten the screws which I was doing with a drill. Just pull the joint tight, because it is easy to strip the pine.
are you screwing into the end grain on the second piece of pine?

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