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Pocket holes for draws

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azk404

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I’ve seen a few mixed opinions when building draws out of plywood and using pocket holes to assemble them so I just wanted to get some opinions here to see what people think or if people have made draws with them and found doing it that was to be quick and easy.

Any advice would be good :)
 

Spectric

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I am in process of making some drawers and when you look into it the reasons traditionaly they used dovetails, at least on the drawfront was because of the stress put into the joints when pulling on the handle. I would not use pocket hole screws because although they are very good in the right application this is not in my view one of them. There are other joints used like finger joints and profiles done with a router like Drawer Locking Joint Bits - Infinity Tools and others like a sliding dovetail or simple rebate and brads, I am sure others will come along with more suggestions and will have made a lot more drawers than myself.
 

novocaine

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I have to disagree with you sceptic. This is almost the perfect use for pocket screws. It's one of the very few times where all the force is axial to the screw, which also happens to be the screws strongest alignment. Much like never using a bolt as a pin really.

I'm no advocate of pocket holes,i know they have there place in this world but tend towards joinery when i can. But for quick draws they are quick easy and capable. The draws beneath my pillar drill are pocket holed and they havent collapsed yet, which considering the 20kg (never weighed it but there is 4 of ever size between 0.5 and 15mm in metric and imperial in there) bits in the bottom draw riding on simple wooden runners is something of a surprise .

If im making drawers for in the house they would be dovetailed or lock joints but for the workshop I'd say go for it.

(Thats a lie. The draw in the bedsode table is chipboard and mdf with pocket holes because its a stupid angled thing).
 

Jacob

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I have to disagree with you sceptic. This is almost the perfect use for pocket screws. It's one of the very few times where all the force is axial to the screw, which also happens to be the screws strongest alignment. Much like never using a bolt as a pin really.
..
The screw won't break but the end of the screw could pull out.
I always think that if people want to use crude but fussy processes like pocket screws why not go simpler and choose nails (+ glue). Much under rated. Cheaper, more discrete, quicker.
To oppose the force of pulling a drawer out, the nails have to go through the sides into the end boards, otherwise the end boards could pull straight off. This leaves the end grain visible on the front of the drawer but this could either be hidden in a rebate or covered by a false front.
The bottom of a the drawer can be nailed straight on to the sides, which is structurally excellent as all the load in the drawer goes to the bottom board and then direct to the runner, rather than into a flimsy slot in the side or added on drawer slip. Assuming trad runners of course - also cheaper than bought and much easier to fit/build in.
The secret of nailing into thin materials is to pre-drill.
PS I should add - I've got a 100(?) year old Pembroke style table with a drawer made like this, from oak boards, with a false sycamore front. Still going strong.
 
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azk404

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The draws will be for a chest of drawers for cloths and the internal cabinet width is 940cm so I feel the construction will have to be something quite strong and durable. I was planning to give the draws a false front so the pocket holes could be hidden at the back of the draw and the front if I went that route.

The other options I guess would be a 6mm dado and 6mm rebate but as I don't have a router table only a 1/2 router machine I was worried this might take a bit long, although I probably should do a test when the wood is delivered to see as maybe I'm concerned about something I shouldn't be :)
 

TheTiddles

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My drawers in the cabinet under the drill press are made this way, not pretty but have been fine for the last decade, cheap MDF sides and bases into shuttering ply fronts. They’re about 550mm wide and deep and carry lathe chucks, fasteners etc. So not lightly loaded.

If pocket screws were around 100 years ago, you’d find them on antiques. Just because something was done a long time ago, doesn’t mean it’s still the best way of doing it.

Aidan
 

Jacob

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My drawers in the cabinet under the drill press are made this way, not pretty but have been fine for the last decade, cheap MDF sides and bases into shuttering ply fronts. They’re about 550mm wide and deep and carry lathe chucks, fasteners etc. So not lightly loaded.

If pocket screws were around 100 years ago, you’d find them on antiques. Just because something was done a long time ago, doesn’t mean it’s still the best way of doing it.

Aidan
You do find them on antiques - they were used as a crude fixing from a long way back. Suits table top fixing with the pocket being out of sight and the join with the table top being fairly unstressed. No special kit needed - you can do "pocket" screws just with a chisel and drill.
Just because nails were used a long time ago, doesn’t mean they are not still the best way of doing some things!
 

TRITON

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I'd like to have a whine about the sheer unadulterated laziness factor.

Away and cut some comb joints for goodness sake
 

azk404

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Your probably right, I am being a bit lazy and should just take the time to do it and get it right :)

Il leave the pocket holes to the workshop draws as they might change through their life time anyway
 

Stevekane

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I rebuilt our old pine chest of drawers a couple of years ago, a very simple cottage piece and whilst the drawers are indeed dovetailed the main carcase is held together with miniature cut nails, which I mostly reused, I think a good bit of their holding power is that they rust slightly and really do grip. Of course nailing into ply isnt so easy, how about glueing the joints and then drilling and tapping in some glued dowels?very strong and quite quick and simple.
 

Trainee neophyte

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15 years ago, before I knew any better, I made my kitchen using pocket holes. None of the drawers have had any problems - in fact nothing pocket hole has failed anywhere. 18mm ply everywhere, with the standard hardwood fronts screwed on.

It's not a pretty system, but it seems to work extraordinarily well.
 

moosepig

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I made my shop drawers with pocket holes - hidden back and front as you've suggested - and never had any problems with them despite a fair amount of use. One thing I found is that alignment can go a bit wonky during assembly even when clamped; if I made those drawers again I would add a couple of small dowels to each joint just to force the mating pieces to align accurately.
 

Amateur

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At the end of the day whatever you use you will be the only person to know how you constructed it, why you did it that way, and have to live with it.
You will know that area quite not square, the part that is two mm short and the gap which has been filled in the bottom left hand corner.
But people see the whole and will love it.
 

Spectric

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Well we have not heard much from someone who must make a lot of drawers and has to get it right for the customer, plus it would be nice to know a bit more of what construction is behind some of them great looking kitchens they have made and shown us on the forums, can you advise @doctor Bob
 
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