In the pocket

The Pyramids at Giza weren’t built with pocket screws, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the artifacts inside were. The archaeological record suggests that the idea of pocket joinery may be nearly as old as the written record of humanity. It’s hard to say, though, because woodworking magazines weren’t doing reviews yet, and the irreproachable knowledge base to be found in online forums was still a ways off.

All Giza Pyramids
Pocket screws don’t work that well in stone.

Whether you’re willing to go back several millennia or not, there is excellent evidence in the furniture record to say that they’ve been around for a while.

The truth of this highboy revealed

I don’t know why I felt like I had to tell you all of that. I think it’s because I feel like there’s a stigma attached to the use of pocket screws these days; as if breaking out that little blue jig requires a confession.

I’ll confess that on the walnut staked desk build I used it to add mechanical reinforcement to the sliding battens. In the end I wish I hadn’t bothered. They didn’t need it, but it won’t hurt and the nice brass screws look handsome enough.
I’ll also confess that I also broke it out to attach the drawer guides to the underside of the desk, because, well, I couldn’t think of a better way to the attach 4″ wide pieces. I cut the guides to be the same width as the drawer sides (+ 1/6th”) and long enough to be even with the back of the drawer when closed. I then prepared each of them with four pocket holes. Each of the holes was reamed out to allow for seasonal movement.

I hid the Kreg jig as fast as I could (before the SAPFM police showed up), and I glued and screwed the glides to the bottom of the guides using matching brass screws.

After the guides were complete, I used the drawer to align them on the bottom and marked their placement with painter’s tape (the other blue secret weapon in my workshop).

I clamped the guides in place, removed the drawer and installed two pocket screws in each. After testing for proper fit I went back in and installed the rest.

In the final piece, the pocket screws for the battens are visible, but the fasteners for the guides are hidden inside. 


And viola. It’s in the pocket.



One Comment Add yours

  1. Ted Wojcik says:

    I’m pretty sure that our woodworking forefathers would have used all of our modern gadgets if they had them. Remember, they were making a living so anything that saved time, energy or money would have been adopted. I like hand tool woodworking for the quiet solace but I’m not making a living for my family at it. I don’t think that better, faster, cheaper necessarily means of lower quality. Craftsmen will still be craftsmen and crapmen will still be crapmen. You can tell the difference. No reason to be ashamed of using pocket joinery in the pursuit of craft. Now, quick, hide that blue thing before the Neanderthals see it. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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