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.
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.
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.
And viola. It’s in the pocket.