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I am having a issue with spliting face frames when using Kreg screws.  I am using 1x2 oak and a 1 1/4 inch fine thread screw like the chart says.  Any ideas what I am doing wrong?  I am considering going to a 1 inch screw or changing the depth.

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how long are the screws that you used?

Another thing that may cause splitting---

is when a screw enters an area of the wood grain, that is subject to separating---

such as parallel to and at the growth rings of the wood.

A strongest joint will be achieved, when the screw enters at 90 degrees to the growth rings, in the wood.

  Make this evaluation---take a piece of scrap wood, look at the end of the cut piece---

take notice of the growth rings/arcs of the growth rings.  

Drive a nail or screw along the growth ring, and observe what occurs.

Yeah, I have seen #6 and #7 screws in the 1 1/4" length at the store. Working with hard woods, #6 would be better.

1-1/4" as noted in my previous post.

I have been cruising this forum for the past couple of days looking for help with my problem of splitting the stiles on 1 1/2 inch wide 3/4 inch thick maple face frames.  I went so far earlier this week to purchase a Micro jig thinking that would help, but as I worked with it I realized that the Micro jig only changed things in the rail.  Duh!!!  I only ruined a couple of stiles before I decided to go back to the scrap material and work it.  By the way I was using 1 1/4 inch fine thread pan head screws.  I even got so frustrated that I was looking for a good doweling jig so I could get the face frames done.  In frustration I left the woodworking to rake leaves yesterday and as I was raking I was trying to solve the problem of splitting.  After an hour of raking, I went back to the shop and took a joint apart.  I looked closely and noticed that the tip of the screw was not very far from exiting the front of the face frame stile.  I pulled out samples of 1 inch screws and was thinking of using those when I put the drill bit into the setting guide to check depth.  It was set correctly.  I decided to first back the bit out about 3/16 inch and try again.  Needless to say I ran about 10 scrap joints with no splits.  Today it is back to the face frames.  Just a couple of details that may have helped.  I run the screw out of the end of the rail and then back it out and clean the wood out and away from the hole on the end of the rail.  I lubricate the screw threads with carnauba wax.

My wife and I are finishing a 14 x 16 foot kitchen including the cabinets.  I have only done about 10 small projects over the years with the Kreg system.  I am still trying to decide whether the correct descriptor is brave or stupid.  I like the Micro jig as the pilot holes are much smaller on the face frames.  Fortunately, we have been planning this for several years and I had lots of time to pick up the needed tools including the Klamp table.  I hope this helps someone else as they begin their project.  I did not have time to read all 8 pages of posts so maybe most of this already appeared, but I needed to add my experiences.

I did my entire set of cherry kitchen cabinets with Kreg and once I switched to #6 screws on the face frames I had no splitting problems.  I am currently working with Maple on a china cabinet and used #6 screws on the face frames with no issues.  Since I glue the frames, the screws main purpose is to serve as a clamp until the glue dries so #6 vs. #7 is no concern. 

During each of these projects I have decided that the Kreg clamps do not hold the pieces tight enough to create flush joints so I now use bar clamps to hold pieces down or together.  My results are much better.

I have also noticed that on some pocket holes the Kreg screw tip protrudes out of the adjoining 3/4" piece.  I think this is due to the drill clutch not engaging the same on all pocket joints--probably due to wood density changes along the piece; I use a Makita cordless drill.  Setting the drill bit collar to a slightly shallower depth helps avoid this problem.

Hope this helps someone.

Back to looking for a doweling jig.  First two joints of the day and one split completely out and the other was a partial split.  I am beginning to wonder if I held my mouth differently last evening.  Or did I have different shoes on........

Hi Wayne - I know it's probably overkill but I still half lap my face frames. No jigs needed, for the most part they self square and are ridgid as all get out. Dado blade or router table are handy but not necessary.
Wayne Albers said:

Back to looking for a doweling jig.  First two joints of the day and one split completely out and the other was a partial split.  I am beginning to wonder if I held my mouth differently last evening.  Or did I have different shoes on........

Wayne if possible can you take a couple photos of the problem.  The standard face frame rail and stile is normally 2 inches wide however the beaded face framed chest I just finish is all 1 1/2 inch rails.  To make it even more difficult there is a bead cut in each edge of the rails.  I made them out of red oak which would be somewhat similiar  grains structure and never had any problems.   I bored and screwed in two screws per each rail end.  The screws I use are the standard kreg #6 1& 1/4 inch .  Been using the jig for several years and never have experienced splitting problems.  Maybe I can help you solve the problem.


Shoes may have something to do with that---

perhaps laced up and tied to tight?


Wayne Albers said:

Back to looking for a doweling jig.  First two joints of the day and one split completely out and the other was a partial split.  I am beginning to wonder if I held my mouth differently last evening.  Or did I have different shoes on........

My frames don't split, but I have trouble with keeping the alignment when I screw together. The screws cause the wood to more out of alignment. Have been using pony clamps. The clamps tend to block the screw holes. Not sure what to use for clamps.

I square up the pieces and then lock them down with C-clamps, Bar-clamps or Irwin clamps. I then use the Kreg-clamp as instructed to make sure the actual joint is forced flush.  Only then do I add the screws.  Doing this I have eliminated the wood shifting problem you describe--and I had that same problem before I started the process above.

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