Q&A / 

Pocket Hole

DEAR TIM: Someone told me I could use a pocket hole jig to join two pieces of wood together instead of using dowels, biscuits or dovetail joints. What is a pocket hole? Is it an acceptable way to connect wood together? What is a pocket-hole system? Are these tools easy to use? Can you make really tight joints using pocket holes? What are some of the tricks you know about them? Loreli R., White Plains, NY

DEAR LORELI: A pocket hole is an ingenious invention thought up by some craftsman many years ago. I’ve seen them on antique furniture made well over 100 years ago. If you look under a table, inside a drawer or on the underside of just about any piece of furniture you may see an oval-shaped hole that has a screw head deep inside it. This is a pocket hole, and I have to tell you that they can be used to create strong joints that will pass the visual inspection of just about anyone who looks at the finished product. Expert woodworkers may scoff at a pocket hole as being a shortcut to a dovetail, mortise and tenon or lap joint, but everyone has their own preference.

The underbelly of this table shows how pocket holes were used to join the pieces of wood together. PHOTO CREDIT:  Tim Carter</p><!-- Ezoic - wp_under_first_paragraph - under_first_paragraph --><div id=

" src="http://media.askbuild.com/legacy/780.jpg" width="350" height="262" /> The underbelly of this table shows how pocket holes were used to join the pieces of wood together. PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Carter