Kreg Owners' Community

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 construction but I thought I would give it a try because of the reviews that claim it is quicker and sturdier than conventional joinery.  I would disagree for a couple of reasons.

First:  I don't feel as if it is quicker at all because it takes considerable time to lay out and mark and drill all the pocket holes required.  I believe I could have made it with dado and rabbet joinery much quicker.

Second:  Many of the pocket hole joints were very weak because although I purchased a quality grade of ¾" oak plywood, a good percentage of those pocket screws hit voids in the plywood and they would not anchor tightly at all.

Third:  Although I used genuine Kreg screws with a quality Bosch driver with a clutch set on a low setting, several of the screws protruded through the face piece so that the tip on the screw was showing.  I had to put some washers on the screws to keep them from penetrating so far.  Yes, I did adjust the drill collar exactly as instructed.

Given my experience with the pocket hole joinery, I must say I am deeply disappointed and I believe I will sell my K4MS and go back to conventional joinery.

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Comment by Robert Brennan on November 4, 2020 at 2:14pm

As Jock said your application with ply is actually more aligned to the quality of ply we have available these  days. Trying to obtain AA grade is almost impossible and the classification varies just to complicate matters further.

My K4 has had a fairly rough life since ita purchase so I also would be interested in upgading too.

Mind you the errors I have had with and damage I caused are mostly operator generated, and could be classed as (RTFM) ones

Comment by jock sloan on September 18, 2020 at 8:35pm

 I do not like to make comment on other peoples experiences, but, in this case i will voice my opinion.

As you say,

  First:  In my opinion the art of building things from wood is not a race. It is to be enjoyed for what it does for you. It gives you a sense of satisfaction that you have built some thing with your own hands and it calms your mind. As far as the fact it takes longer to mark out an prepare for the final build it is part of the process of the art of building.

  Secondly: You may have though you bought a good piece of quality plywood but if it had voids in it, it may not be as good as you thought. Another point are you sure of the actual thickness of the plywood was a full 3/4" thick. Did you use the correct screws, remember that Oak is a hardwood. Also did you make any trial joints using a piece of your stock wood to be sure your setup was correct and there was a solid joint. After your failure to make a solid joint did you not think that if used a little glue that it might fix that problem.

  Third: The fact that you used genuine Kreg screws and a fancy battery drill to screw them in has no bearing on the fact that some where along the line you have not used the tool in the correct method. Either your screws where wrong or your hole was too deep. Did you ask for any help , from other members of the community , i am quite sure that if you had you could have been given help from thousands of experienced people.

 As you say " GIVEN MY EXPERIENCE WITH POCKET HOLE JOINERY " . I must say to you go back to your conventional joinery and if you should put you K4MS jig up for sale there will be a whole lot of people ready to buy it. If you want to learn how to use it join in the community , look at other members projects i am sure you will learn a great deal as i have.

  Jock Sloan Brisbane Australia

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