Using Pocket screw joinery for boxes
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Greenville SC USA
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    252

    Default Using Pocket screw joinery for boxes

    My lack of a tablesaw or router leaves me looking for alternatives to building my long boxes, and some of the equipment to go with it. I've come across a simple $20 pocket scew jig for $20, and would likely be overkill for my hives, but I want somethings thats gonna last. I have a drill for it anyways, all I would need is the clamp to attach it to the board. I also have the S1 driver to drive the screws for it too, part of my job actually. Shame my job doesnt give me access to a table saw

    Or should I just stick with butt joints.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
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    1,175

    Default Re: Using Pocket screw joinery for boxes

    Pocket screws are strong but drilling and screwing through the end is stronger, but there is a catch - it's only stronger because you can use a much longer screw.

    Pocket screws put the screw head in the end grain, compressing it, and the screw threads bite into the cross grain. This gives you a strong connection.

    When you use conventional screws through the exterior end of the butt joint the screw threads are biting into end grain. Putting an equal length screw into end grain won't be as strong as a pocket screw, but a pocket screw engages only about 5/8" of thread, where you can use at least a 2-1\2" screw and engage 1-3/4" of thread or more for superior strength.

    You do need to pre-drill your holes properly, and the hole in the butted board has to be a clearance hole.

    If you don't have a well equipped shop, shop for precut boxes. It's doubtful you'll save money if you have to buy your wood as 3/4" wide boards from a home center.
    Last edited by JConnolly; 01-02-2017 at 07:39 PM.
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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Marietta, Ohio USA
    Posts
    489

    Default Re: Using Pocket screw joinery for boxes

    Pocket holes jigs are very nice and strong for the right situation. I think they will hold well, but so will good glue and a butt joint.

    I do not know if the hole left over from the pocket hole drill will present any problem for the bees or allow critters such as SHB a home.

    I think whichever you go with, as long as it is reinforced with good all weather wood glue, should do fine.

    In my area, unless you have accesss to mill lumber, it is cheaper to buy budget grade pre-cut boxes.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Bucks County PA
    Posts
    372

    Default Re: Using Pocket screw joinery for boxes

    Pocket screws are a nice way to assemble things and give reasonable strength. But for this application, I'd likely use a few to make it convenient for putting the boxes together, but I'd subsequently pre-drill and install longer fasteners on the outside of the butt joints so that they combined with the glue will hold things together better over time. I also share BeeMoose's concern about the pockets presenting an issue with vermin in the hive.

    As an alternative, a router with an edge guide and a 3/4" bit could let you construct boxes using rabbits (and make the frame support ledge) without larger machinery.
    Humble assistant to beek Alison as well as family purveyor of luxury Bee condominiums and Paparazzi activities...

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Derry, New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,295

    Default Re: Using Pocket screw joinery for boxes

    stick with predrilling and screws with glue. pocket holes are good for cabinet frames and hidden fastening but I wouldn't use it for hives.
    Terrence

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,127

    Default Re: Using Pocket screw joinery for boxes

    I did a bunch of nucs once with pocket screws because I just bought the jig and I wanted to try it out. They assembled well and are incredibly strong. Not a fast build but it was fun learning.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Eau Claire, WI, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Using Pocket screw joinery for boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by kaizen View Post
    stick with predrilling and screws with glue. pocket holes are good for cabinet frames and hidden fastening but I wouldn't use it for hives.
    Totally agree kaizen. Actually used pocket screws for our first batch of wooden ware. Worked well and has stood up well, but what a slow process. Stick with the glue and screw, and save the pocket screws for cabinets and such. And for what it is worth, the bees will fill the pocket holes and you won't get the screws out again.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Santa barbara, CA
    Posts
    779

    Default Re: Using Pocket screw joinery for boxes

    I use pocket screws, the 2-1/2" coarse threaded blue-cote ones to assemble my finger jointed pre-cut boxes (in the traditional one per finger manner) along with titebond 3. The regular wood screws split my wood while the pocket hole one really do a good job compressing the joint together.
    If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
    Abraham Maslow

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Rutherford Co. NC
    Posts
    549

    Default Re: Using Pocket screw joinery for boxes

    You can make nice plugs with pine dowels on the cheap for those pocket screw holes then glue them in. You could even use a small saw and cut them in place, seeing the bees are not perfecrionists. The bits you cut off can be another set of plugs when you turn them around.

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