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I've been trying to set up some butt joints using 23/32 plywood and am very frustrated.

I THINK I am following the directions precisely but somehow the screws keep making it through and peeking out the other side.

When the 1 1/4" screws started poking through I went with the 1" screws but they made it through the two pieces of 3/4" wood, too. As you can imagine, I'm quite frustrated with this and am trying to figure out what to do to solve the problem.

Is it possible that I am mashing down on the drill too hard thus making the holes too deep? Is it possible that I am over tightening the screws so that they are sinking deeper than they should? The stop bit setting tool uses the same level for both the 1" and the 1 1/2 inch so I don't think that is the problem.

Does this make sense? Any suggestions?

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Richard, you are indeed using the correct screw length. When joining 3/4" to 3/4" material, it is recommended to use 1 1/4" screws, like you tried. Since your material is slightly under 3/4", 1" screws might also work. 

Before beginning your project, always drill in to a test piece(s) if you have some on hand.

Secondly, make sure you are adjusting the drill bit depth collar properly.
Place your bit inside the depth setting gauge on your Kreg Jig®, with the step of the bit at the marking that matches your workpiece thickness, as shown. Slide the depth collar towards the jig base and lock it in place with the included Allen wrench.

Lastly, make sure to set your drill clutch correctly. Crank it all the way up for drilling, to the highest number or to the drill bit icon. When driving, dial down to a lower setting. This way, the clutch will slip and stop the driver bit from turning so you won't over-drive or strip the screw.

If problems persist, feel free to contact Technical Support directly at 800-447-8638

FYI I am using the K5 model - sorry I forgot to mention that in my post.

Could the problem be that the stop collar setting block is not precise enough?  The "step" that I am using is the 1, 1 1/4, 1 1/2 one and that covers a full half inch in different screw lengths which does not seem very precise to me.  

I think I will slide the stop collar ever so slightly down the shaft to make the depth slightly less.  Does this sound like a good idea?


First, focusing on the material getting the pocket hole ... Since you're using the K5 jig its pretty easy to visually see if your Kreg jig settings are correct before you start making pocket holes.

  • Collar Depth: Before you mount the Kreg drill bit into a drill, slide the drill bit all the way into the jig hole. The tip of the bit should be "a nickel's thickness" above the bottom of the jig floor.
  • Jig Height: With the drill bit still inserted all the way in the jig hole, place a scrap piece of your plywood along side the drill bit. Looking from the side, imagine a line along the length of the drill bit extending to the jig floor. The point where that line would hit the jig floor should be about half of the thickness of the plywood.

    I picture how the Jig Height works by holding a business size envelope in front of me with the long side up & down. Hold a pen or pencil at about the same angle as the Kreg Jig drill bit in front of the bottom of the envelope, and then move the envelope up and down while watching where the pen crosses the bottom of the envelope. 

The length of the screw is mostly determined by the depth of the material that receives the screw (the non-pocket hole material).  If your Jig height and collar depth are set correctly, then the only solution to a screw that exits out the other side of the non-pocket hole material is to use a shorter screw.

I think your issue may be more related to the material you are using rather than the jig settings.  As you are already aware the plywood is not 3/4 inch thick and you're compensating by using shorter screws and setting the drill depth slightly shorter.  However most plywood, especially of the home center variety, has voids in between the plies making it very easy to crush the wood fibers thus allowing the screw to protrude through the receiving piece.  I would set the clutch on your driver to a softer setting as the Kreg rep suggested and possibly consider tightening the screws by hand.  that will give you a feel for when the screw has tightened.

Hope this helps, Don

Hello Richard, speaking from experience and using the kreg jigs for better than 27 years now , what I know to be true is that there are only 3 things that will make a screw protrude from the back.  They are:  1.Too deep of a pocket hole in the material you are using as the screwed piece.  (pocket hole piece)  If you are screwing to a piece the same thickness you will need to adjust the depth of hole.  2. Wrong length of screw with it being too long.  3. screwing the screw down too tight crushing the wood fibers,  The exception of this would be hitting voids in the wood.  This is most often in plywood where the wood fibers are soft and or missing.  I have for years tried to teach that the use of a clutch setting driver is like using a pointed steak in the ground.  The depth that it will go will depend on the difference in the hardness of the ground it is being pushed into.  The same as that of driving a screw into wood.  Each piece of wood and for that matter each section of wood will vary in hardness and resistance to the driving of a screw.  My advise to anyone wanting to become a serious woodworker is to avoid the dependence of using a clutch setting as it will not be the same across any piece of wood.  it stops the driving when it reached a set torque that is generated in the wood.  That will be determined by the wood itself and how much resistance it will put against the turning  of a screw.  I guarantee that it will differ from hole to hole across the same piece of material.  The best method is by listening to the screw as it enters and drives into the wood and let off when it reaches the bottom of its prepared hole.  You can tell also by watching the wood as it seats against its mating surface.

Most of the time woodworkers screw the screw in so fast they have no time to react when the screw reaches bottom and the results most of the time is a screw tip extending outside of the mating surface.  I am telling you the best and assured method of inserting screws with out a fighting the screw exits in the wood.  Heck I use an air driver as well and it is not equipped with any clutch setting and have no problems driving screws one after the other in panels of plywood after panels of plywood.

In the modern day ply from all over the world you get varied thickness marked and sold all over the United States.   The simplest method of setting of the bit collar is the lower the bit collar from the 3/4 inch setting the same distance as the difference as the thickness as the plywood being sure to use the difference in the thickness of the two pieces.

Thank you to all of you for your help and suggestions.

As it turns out I removed any of the screws that I had already used and started again. This time I set the drill stopped guide at 5/8 of an inch instead of 3/4. I then used 1 inch screws. While screwing I made it a point not to drive the screws too hard or far.

I think that I was too gentle with the screws because my small bookcase is not as sturdy as I had hoped it would be. However, I am hopeful that I will be able to repeat the process and make the joinery much tighter and stronger.

Part of the problem may be that I did not use any wood glue with this project. This is for two reasons. The first is that I was struggling to get everything square and in place before I drove my screws and secondly I did not want the thing stuck together if I had to remove any pieces.

I will take some time to practice and experiment, too.

Again, thank you all for taking the time to help.

I had some screws protrude when using pine boards. I put some washers on screws to keep them from going to deep.

I've wondered if the guide block is off for the K5, which I've had for 2 years now as my screws also protrude.  I just simply use the guide block, then shorten the collar up a bit to compensate and I'm usually fine.

Hi Richard,  Me again,  You did right when you set the bit to drill for 5/8 inch but you could have used the 1 &1/4 screw.   The added length would have made your book case stronger as well as the use of glue.  It is like I mentioned, if the ply wood is near 3/4 " thick measure the true thickness and substrace that x's 2 from 3/4" and set the stop collar to that distance on the drill bit.  Ease up on the tightening and stop turning the screw when it has pulled the two pieced together.  If you think you need to tighten more, tighten by hand.


In plywood you should be using the screw with the large flat head so that there is some surface to contact the plywood's drilled hole's bottom.

I can only echo what Jay mentioned. I use an impact driver to set my screws and don't have any problems with break out.  I set the stop collar about 1/32" to 1/16" short of the mark when plywood is involved.  I don't use the impact when joining 1/2" ply to 1/2" ply using the micro jig - but still set the stop collar short of the mark.

Again, thank you all for the responses, comments and suggestions.  They are all helpful to me.

If I could also add my experience to this discussion, I have NEVER been able to use the "standard" setting for joining 3/4" plywood using my K5 depth guide. Every screw protruded even with the driver set at a very low level. I have from day 1 needed to drop the collar on the pocket hole bit by an eighth of an inch to avoid protruding screws.

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