Kreg Owners' Community

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.

Views: 15981

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Are you using two Kreg holes in the face frame or just 1?  If 2, I would try just 1 hole centered in the 1-1/4" rail and then use #6 screws.  Also, do you have an adjustable clutch on your drill so you can control the torque of the drill?

Wayne Albers said:

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 have the junior kit, the cheapest one, I noticed that setting the collar on the drill, that the drill bit might not be properly aligned in the plastic frame designed to set the collar for the drill. Be sure the measurements are as they are intended to be. The hardest wood I have used is spruce or whitewood, so don't have experience with hardwoods. I use two kreg holes on my whitewood face framing, but the width of the face framing is 2 1/4" not 1 1/4" as stated in your comments. The 2 1/4" face frame is necessary because of the way my cabinets are constructed. I am piecing 8" wide shiplap into panels and use 1" x 1 1/2" whitewood to create the side panels. I do not use plywood to construct my cabinets. Hindsight, I should have trimmed the supports to 3/4" x 3/4" to save space, but what was started must be continued through the entire project. One other thing, the kreg screws are supposed to be tempered steel, switching to other screws means you are losing strength in the kreg screw system. Maybe a minor point considering the issues that are going on. If the #6 screw is still splitting the wood, is it possoble to drill into the other piece of wood with a small sized drill to relieve the pressure exerted by the screw invading the wood. The other option is to get #4 screws to use in place of the #6 screws.

Ed Rarick said:

Are you using two Kreg holes in the face frame or just 1?  If 2, I would try just 1 hole centered in the 1-1/4" rail and then use #6 screws.  Also, do you have an adjustable clutch on your drill so you can control the torque of the drill?

Wayne Albers said:

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.

The only place I had to assemble the face frames was on top of my table top saw. The frames were always bigger than the table of the saw, so I was forever trying to make do with the face frames. With the table I just built, the top is 60" long x 34" wide, a much better arrangement than I had before. The table top is not a perfectly flat surface but still better than what I had. I am hoping to have an improvement in my work area for putting the cabinets together.

I have also notice the clamps that slip along a bar do not hold true, so I now need to get other clamps that have stronger clamping power.


Ed Rarick said:

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.

Now I have to try to figure out how to post a photo.  You guys really know how to throw down a challenge.

I sure hope this works.  I got the wood from Root River Hardwoods in SE MN.  We have had really dry weather and it may have had something to do with this.  The wood if I remember was also kiln dried.  I looked today thinking that the split was following the grain, but as you can see one did one did not.

I have been trying two screws in the face frame (1.5 inch) and using 1.25 inch #6 pan heads in the Micro jig pilot holes.  The drill I am using does have a clutch and I have had it set real light and have been driving the last turn or two with one of those antique manual screw drivers.

The screws are very close to the edge/corner of the workpiece---

increasing the likelihood of fracturing.

Adding lubricant to the leading edge of the screw threads. will reduce friction and stress on the material--- 

reducing the risk of fracturing.

A drop of liquid dish soap, applied to the tip of the screw threads, will help.

Over-torquing will result in joint failure.

 

Wayne,

In boring pocket holes in a stile or rail that is 3/4" thick and 1 1/2" wide is actually not difficult. I never have problems with doing this in any kind of wood and I have bored many face frames that are set up with using a combination of either 2 inch stiles and 1 1/2" stiles or 1 1/2" stiles and 1 1/2" rails.

My method is boring the hole equally divided so that there is 1/2" of material on each side of the center line of the inserted screw and 1/2' between the center lines of each screw.

The problem with boring a hole in the center of the stile or rail and inserting one screw leads to twisting of the material.  You need two screws to prevent this problem.

Attached are two pictures of how I bore and screw the stiles together. The samples are red oak however I have had no problems using any of the hard woods as well as softwoods.  I use the normal settings and #6  x 1& 1/4" fine thread screws.  I use no additional clamps other that the simple clamps supplied by Kreg Tools.  I have no problems with making tight joints ( I do not use wood fillers) or maintaining straight &  square joints.  I do not have any problems with the wood moving as the screws tighten.

Some of the problems with wood moving, non-tight joints and un-square frame members could be from uneven machined wood thinkness, or un-true 90 angles in one or both directions.  Another problem is the holes are not bored at a 90 degree angle with the butt end sometimes caused by the wood not being set in the jig at a 90 degree angle either from being clamped at an angle or having wood from an prior boring operation sitting on the jig base.  The results of this is that the screw does not bore straight into the oposing piece and the results are less than desired.  Due to the screw not following the correct path it pushes sidewise on the pocket hole and you get a crack.

 

 

I have been trying to get the Micro jig pilot holes in the middle of the 1.5 inch face of the rail.  I just went and measured the location of the screw hole nearest the end of the stile and both are slightly more than .5 inch from the end of the stile.  I may try to move the pilot holes over to one side of the rail.  At this point Its not like I have a lot to lose.

Here's what I would do, when you get the two pieces clamped together \, drill a pilot hole into the second piece going through the  Kreg screw hole, I would try using 3/32" drill, you will need an extra long drill bit. that way when you screw the pieces together, there won't be so much pressure pushing sideways which is causing the wood to split. You may have to go to a tongue and groove joint. I would do the kreg hole 3/8" in from the edge of the wood.

Wayne, what the photo are both showing is the the direction of the screw is going across the growth rings which is the weakest direction.  Ideal direction would be with the grain.  Is this quarter sawn or riff sawn.  I'm thinking your problem is the lumber and not your method.  Look at the photos that I just sent you.  Notice the direction of the grain in the piece I bored.  The bore direction is with the grain of the wood and not across it.  The screw is entering into the oposing piece which the screws enteres and bores its own path across the grains. It is a solid un altered wood and still has it's full strength.  In your sample both cracked pieces are going across the grain of the wood where there is little strength.  In my sample the bored piece would be the stile and the one the screws enter is the stile.  In a face frame you want the grains running up and down so the grain produce the strongest stile.  I would like to see a photo of one of your finished face frames or at least a stile and rail that is assembled.   I still think it is your lumber and not your method.  I say this because your screw is going across the grains , just as mine are,yet cracking out the piece.  I would suspect it is your lumber.

Wayne Albers said:

Now I have to try to figure out how to post a photo.  You guys really know how to throw down a challenge.

I sure hope this works.  I got the wood from Root River Hardwoods in SE MN.  We have had really dry weather and it may have had something to do with this.  The wood if I remember was also kiln dried.  I looked today thinking that the split was following the grain, but as you can see one did one did not.

I appreciate Wayne's problem. I had the splitting on extremely dry cherry even when using a single screw in the middle of the rail and even when hand tightening rather than using a drill.  It was VERY frustrating.  My face frames were 1.5 ".  Non-cherry test pieces worked just fine but the cherry split. One #6 screw in the middle of the rail was the only solution that worked for me.  I have not experieiced the same splitting issue on subsequent projects because, I believe, the wood was not so extremely dry and brittle.

Regarding using a single screw and twisting--I use glue on the joint so if the pieces are clamped together flush, flat and square before installing the screw they stay that way after installing the screw.  I would prefer 2 screws for the reason Jay describes but when the wood is splitting you have to find a fix.

Good luck Wayne; don't give up.  Once you figure out a solution you can concentrate on making a beautiful project.

Jay Boutwell said:

 

Wayne,

In boring pocket holes in a stile or rail that is 3/4" thick and 1 1/2" wide is actually not difficult. I never have problems with doing this in any kind of wood and I have bored many face frames that are set up with using a combination of either 2 inch stiles and 1 1/2" stiles or 1 1/2" stiles and 1 1/2" rails.

My method is boring the hole equally divided so that there is 1/2" of material on each side of the center line of the inserted screw and 1/2' between the center lines of each screw.

The problem with boring a hole in the center of the stile or rail and inserting one screw leads to twisting of the material.  You need two screws to prevent this problem.

Attached are two pictures of how I bore and screw the stiles together. The samples are red oak however I have had no problems using any of the hard woods as well as softwoods.  I use the normal settings and #6  x 1& 1/4" fine thread screws.  I use no additional clamps other that the simple clamps supplied by Kreg Tools.  I have no problems with making tight joints ( I do not use wood fillers) or maintaining straight &  square joints.  I do not have any problems with the wood moving as the screws tighten.

Some of the problems with wood moving, non-tight joints and un-square frame members could be from uneven machined wood thinkness, or un-true 90 angles in one or both directions.  Another problem is the holes are not bored at a 90 degree angle with the butt end sometimes caused by the wood not being set in the jig at a 90 degree angle either from being clamped at an angle or having wood from an prior boring operation sitting on the jig base.  The results of this is that the screw does not bore straight into the oposing piece and the results are less than desired.  Due to the screw not following the correct path it pushes sidewise on the pocket hole and you get a crack.

 

 

Thanks, Jay for your help.  I read your post twice and I am not sure if I am misreading what you posted or if my photo is not showing what you need.  The ends of the stiles were cut off and you are looking at the end with the screws having entered from the rail on the right.  The screws entered the top one on a downward angle from the point of view of the photo.  The bottom on had the screws entering at an upward angle.  I cut both of these ends off and reused the shorter stiles on different face frames where the shorter stiles split.  I am beginning to wonder about the wood also.  I do not have a moisture tester, but am beginning to wonder if I shouldn't get one.  The wood is not quarter sawn although I have some oak that is quarter sawn for two cabinets and the island.  I will try again, but since the cabinets with the exception of the oak will be painted (my wife's choice not mine), I am considering getting some poplar to use for the stiles and conceding defeat.  That is not in my nature, but I can't delay this much longer.  Winter is just around the corner and the unheated garage is my shop.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Need Help?

For Technical Support, please call 800-447-8638 or send a message. Reps are available Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm CST. 

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Forum

Pantry slides for heavy application

  Recently purchased two 96" tall pantry cabinets that are 23" deep that only came with two adjustable shelves and two fixed, (one at about 55" and one at the very bottom).  Shelf holes in the walls are drilled 2" O.C.  Like most store-bought…Continue

Tags: drawer, slides, pantry, pull-out, 75-Lb

Started by Paul Coon in General Woodworking Aug 11.

Miter Saw Recommendation 1 Reply

I’m looking to upgrade my miter saw. I’m willing to invest a good amount of money to get one with the precision pocket hole joinery requires. Would anyone like to offer a recommended model?

Started by Joe Racz in Beginners' Zone. Last reply by Scott Davison Oct 6.

Product Reviews

New Kreg 720Pro

I saw the video Kreg put out for this new jig and had high hopes for it.

I purchased one today and am very disappointed with it.

First the docking station is extremely cheap. The plastic is pathetic. A Lego has more…

Continue

Posted by Duke Leon on February 15, 2021 at 9:00pm

Not Pleased With Pocket Hole Construction

Several months ago, I purchased the Kreg K4MS so that I could build the Lego Table as outlined on the companion "buildsomething" web site which exclusively uses pocket hole construction.  I have considerable experience with conventional…

Continue

Posted by Robert Ringel on September 17, 2020 at 1:48pm — 8 Comments

© 2021   Created by KregRep.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service

_