Choosing and Using a Pocket Hole Jig

Using a pocket hole jig is a fast way to create strong wooden joints with concealed fasteners. Pocket hole joints are similar to dowel joints except that a screw is used and only one joint element has to be drilled. The holes are drilled at a shallow angle on the back of the piece. These shallow holes conceal the fastener and create a very strong joint.

Pocket hole joints are commonly used to create face frames. A face frame is a decorative frame that shows no fasteners and is used in furniture and cabinet making. Pocket hole joints are also perfect for creating picture frames.

Picking A Pocket Hole Jig
Pocket hole jigs are available from a variety of manufacturers, but they all use the same basic principle. Your stock is clamped to the drill jig and the holes are drilled through special guides that create accurate, consistent holes. These shallow angled holes accept the screws that join the pieces of wood. Here are some items to consider when shopping for a pocket hole jig:

  • Strong guides. Look for hardened steel hole-guides. The hole-guides can take a lot of abuse from the drill bit and hardened steel will help your jig last longer.
  • Mounting system. A secure pocket hole jig is an accurate one. All jigs have different mounting systems and you'll want to pick the one that's right for you. A clamp-mounted jig will be portable, but will have to be set up for each job. A permanently mounted system will provide the ultimate in accuracy and is well suited to a shop environment.
  • Alignment guides. A well-made pocket hole jig should have alignment guides that are accurate and easy to see.
  • Materials. Although the most popular pocket hole jig on the market is made of plastic, several models available are made of heavy-duty aluminum.
  • Accessories. Make sure to get a detailed list of accessories that come with each pocket hole jig. A step drill bit is important to create properly shaped holes. Clamps to hold work pieces are necessary for accurate holes.
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