domingo, 15 de enero de 2017

Pocket holes without special drillbits!

Pocket holes seem to be something really mysterious in Europe!  Wait, what is a pocket hole? Well, this image from is worth 1000 words:

 As you can see it is an easy way to join two boards. You just need to drill a counterbore at a certain angle to fit the screw head, plus a pilot hole to drive the rest of the screw. The thing is, drilling those holes precisely at the required angle is a bit challenging.

I've always had a hard time finding jigs in stores simply because pocket holes are not a thing in Europe. Whenever I've seen one at a store, it had a ridiculous price. 

Small kreg jig

But anyway, why buy it when you can make it? It should be simple, it is just a thing to drill at 15º.  The challenge is that you need two diameters, the counterbore and the pilot hole. These commercial jigs usually include a special drillbit with a smaller diameter end that takes care of the pilot hole. That is because regular drillbits of such a small diameter usually are not long enough and the drill chuck ends up interfering with the board.

And additionally you will need special flat head screws to prevent the wood from splitting and those require a special square driver.

Well. I think that is enough. This was supposed to be simple. Suddenly you need a special drillbit, special screws and a special driver. No thanks :D 
There is a much simpler solution if you are not going to need massive amounts of pocket holes every day: Drill each hole from each side. This solves all the issues at the same time. Now you can use your regular drillbits and you can decide how long you want the pilot hole to make sure that area is strong enough and won't split with a countersink head.

The jig in this is a bit more complicated but it should not be a challenge, check the video for detailed instructions!

You can download free templates for 16mm and 30mm boards in this link

If you prefer to buy the jig, you can use the following links depending on your country: