Drilling a hole at an angle for a screw creates a pocket hole. This is one of the cheapest, most advanced, and highly feasible methods of drilling and screwing. Pocket holes have made life much easier. They can work in plywood too, and you can build things that are very strong with no special skills or experience needed. Also, it is highly affordable and convenient to use.
Can You Pocket Hole Plywood?
Plywood is a sturdy material and is great for construction projects, but it often happens that there are no ply edges. This is also not a problem anymore as you can easily cover the edges with pocket holes. Of course, you still need to use the correct size of screws according to the need of the project building, which matters a lot when using plywood.
Are Pocket Holes Good for Plywood?
Yes, pocket holes are good for plywood as they allow highly strong joints and are quite simple to use. They are best for making wooden items such as furniture, including chairs, wooden boards, and other DIY projects too. So it is a good option for Plywood too.
In some cases, you’ll need some wood glue while using it. Using pocket holes with wood glue will strengthen the joints and hold them in place. At times, it happens that these joints come apart, such as in a chair, so the parts of the chair can become loose.
How Do You Make Pocket Holes in Plywood?
Sometimes screwing into the end-grain of a board is perfectly okay, but remember that doing so doesn’t offer the strongest connection. Screwing into the face grain of a board will give you much better holding power. Therefore, in a situation like this case, the point is how to connect and join the boards.
The best solution is to drive a screw through the face grain at an angle. For a strong and sturdy connection, you must have a special drill bit along with a special screw. You can start screwing after you finish cutting the board and making two holes.
Attaching a Jig
Using a jig during this process is a great option. This is because the jig allows it to stay fixed and not move from its place. The very basic step would be adjusting it to match the thickness of the plywood. Then, you will have to set the depth of the hole by setting the collar on the drill bit. Then, simply drop it in the guiding holes of the jig.
The main point is to set and adjust it according to the thickness of the wooden board. This will help you save precious time and make things feasible for you.
For a visual representation, check out this short video.
Different Types of Jigs
There are various Kreg Jigs. These include the following:
- Kreg Jig Foreman, this is mostly for small to medium and sometimes large projects as well.
- Kreg Jig K4 is specifically for small-scale to large-scale projects.
- Kreg Jig R3 is good for smaller projects.
When Should You Not Use Pocket Holes in Plywood?
Many woodworkers, for example, don’t like the idea of using pocket hole screws in their projects. Even in projects where they do use them, they try to limit their use to some simple places.
But for DIY project enthusiasts and beginner woodworkers, pocket hole screws are a go-to technique. Instead of dismissing their potential, I’ve embraced the convenience and simplicity they provide in various projects.
But it’s important to mention that there are instances where the use of pocket holes is inappropriate and shouldn’t be recommended.
So let’s evaluate situations and conditions in which pocket holes in plywood are strictly prohibited:
When You Want To Ensure A Better Presentation
This may seem self-evident, but you should not use pocket holes in areas where you can see them. The two exceptions are 1) if you don’t care about how the piece looks and 2) if you’re going to paint the piece with plugs.
For Tabletop Assembly
It’s important to consider that wood moves across the width or the grain of a board. Trying to stop the wood from moving will damage it. The best building techniques will take this into account so they work with the movement of the wood rather than against it.
While you can use pocket hole screws to assemble a tabletop, it won’t be long before it separates and develops cracks. That’s because these screws bind parts of the wood across the grain. Here’s a good analogy: pinch a part of a dry sponge and submerge it in water. You’ll see that the sponge expands, except for the area under your fingers. If you look closely, you’ll see that the sponge expands more in areas that are farthest from where you’ve pinched it, and less so in areas that are close to it. This is exactly what happens to the table when you use pocket hole screws.
When Linking the Tabletop to the Apron
Another big no-no when it comes to building tables is using pocket holes to link the tabletop to the apron. This, once again, prevents the timber from moving. There are various simple ways to get your attachment done correctly.
As I did with my kitchen island, I prefer to use figure 8 connectors*. The reason I like these is that figure 8 swivels in its groove when the wood travels in different directions. I also like them because you can use them as hidden hangers, as I demonstrated in my piece on how to make honeycomb shelves.
This was all about pocket holes, what they are and why they are good to use, especially in plywood. Hope you found this article a useful guide for all your queries related to pocket holes and how they function.