Pocket holes are one of many methods of joining wood together. It uses the simplest of joinery- right angle cuts mostly, and relies on the mechanical strength of screws to hold an assembly together. Although glue is sometimes used to augment it, the screws themselves do most of the work. Commercial jigs are expensive, and for occasional use this project delivers economy, precision, and ease of use. As an added feature, the guides can be dismounted and used freely about the workpiece.
Step 1: Drill Guide Modifications
Although I made mine years ago, the main guide system is still available here:
The 3 modifications I made to the guides was to drill and tap for a ¼- 20 [M6x1] screw so I could mount them vertically, and also drill a clearance hole for 1/4” [6.4mm] round guide rod, and finally drill and tap for a 10-32 [M5x.08] setscrew to lock the rod in place.
Step 2: Setup and Use
I designed this to be used on 3/4” [19mm] thick stock, the most common cabinetmaking material in both sheet goods and solid wood frames I use, however it is readily customizable for other sizes. It can adjust from a minimum frame stile or rail width of 1-1/2” [38mm] up to 6” [152mm] to drill a pair of holes. When multiple holes are needed such as carcase sides, floors, and walls, the work is merely slid laterally left or right for the desired number of holes; clamped to a benchtop, this process moves along swiftly. The plunge clamp is adjusted for a good grip of the work to jig, but bone- crushing force is not needed to obtain accurate holes, a sharp drill bit and a fast R.P.M. corded drill will produce exceptionally clean work.
Step 3: Details
It is advisable to nest the support wall in a dado joint for maximum resistance against the clamping force. Although a step drill that includes a through hole for screw clearance is a very handy tool, for years I simply used a long shank 3/8” [9.7mm] brad point drill with a stop collar and followed up drilling the screw's hole after.
Step 4: Parting Thoughts
If the plunge clamp is unavailable, a simple piece of scrap angle drilled and tapped, and fitted with a threaded fastener can be used in it's place, or for the plainest method, use a “C” clamp for narrow width stock such as face frames use. Utilize your favorite search engine to see how easy this method is for making sturdy, quick, and accurate woodworking projects with an absolute minimum of tools and experience.