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theksmith

easy, better corner joints with plywood (building drawers, sleep platforms, etc.)

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not being much of a woodworker, i've always just used simple butt joints when making corners. they aren't ideal though, especially with plywood. there are much stronger joint techniques. however, i don't have a tablesaw and i'm fairly dangerous with a router, so i've never even attempted a basic dado or rabbet joint. 

 

i'm about to re-do my rear storage & sleep platform though, and was wanting to step up my woodworking game like one notch above beginner... this led me to pocket-hole joinery! you just need a special drill bit and jig, which can be had for under $25, and you get much stronger corners without expensive tools or difficult/time-consuming techniques!

 

check out the well-done video below that fully explains the how, what and why.

 

i actually went with a small $40 kit from the popular Kreg company. it's versatile, virtually idiot proof, and supposedly the Kreg drill bit is nicer than cheaper alternatives. it came with everything i needed except a clamp (and a drill of course). FYI, for 1/2" plywood you'll want the 1" coarse thread screws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by theksmith
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I use the Kreg tool as well.  The pocket holes work very well.

 

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Yup.   Pocket screws for the win!

 

You can see my liberal use of them in this drawer box.  They work well in place of clamps.

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Btw Kris, if you need some pieces run over the table saw on this project, (or any other), just give me a shout and we can use my saw.

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29 minutes ago, jgaz said:

Btw Kris, if you need some pieces run over the table saw on this project, (or any other), just give me a shout and we can use my saw.

 

thanks Jim!

 

btw, nice router (and drawer box too)! for that cutout you have there - were the corners done with hole saws, or was that entire shape cut with the router?

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Kris,

I’m not sure if you can tell from my picture but there is a template that has been double sided taped to the plywood side.

 

I did drill the larger radius corners with a hole saw but that cut was not my final edge.  It was only to take out the waste within about an 1/8” or less from the edge of the template.  I then connected the corner holes with a saber saw again leaving a small amount to clean up with the router.  The router combined with the template makes for a nice, finished cut, that is really quite simple to do.

 

The template is made out of 1/4 MDF, available cheap ($4 for a 2x2), from Home Depot.  It’s really easy to shape with a sanding block and file to get the template the shape you want.  Much easier than sanding 1/2” or 3/4” plywood.

 

That router was my Dad’s.  Its probably 40? years old.  I like using it for that reason.  

You’re  welcome to borrow it as well if you want.   My Dad would like to know his tools are still being used.

Edited by jgaz
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Looks good Kris.  

Since I believe you’re using 1/2” Baltic Birch I was glad to see you bought the type of pocket screw you did.

 

I have the earliest plastic version of the Kreg jig.  

When drilling the pocket for the screw in 1/2” Baltic plywood using my old style jig, the recess isn’t quite deep enough to use the pocket screws with the washer head.

 

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Both styles are shown here.  There is about .070” difference in the OD of the head between the two styles.  In some applications that’s not a big deal but in my outer drawer box shown above I didn’t want the washer protruding into the interior.  

When I’ve run out of the smaller OD screw there have  been times I’ve had to hit the washer head screws with a little angle grinder to flush them to the plywood.

 

The issue I have with my Kreg jig may have been corrected with the newer models.  I’m not sure you’ll ever run into this problem. I just thought I’d mention the possibility  since you are new to using pocket screws.

 

Also, I haven’t found a step drill that works as well as the drill bit Kreg supplies.  Kreg  used to offer a sharpening service but that’s been discontinued.  

I’m going to check tomorrow with Woodworkers Source to see if their sharpening service will sharpen these step bits.  Their service did an excellent job on the three saw blades I had them sharpen recently.

 

 

 

 

Edited by jgaz
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thanks for all the info Jim!

 

even with these screws, they still don't stay completely tucked in the pocket:

 

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if you stop just before they crunch the wood at all, the problem is minimal. but if you are trying to crank them down much, they still slide down/out.

 

they really need to make a separate smaller diameter drill bit for 1/2" wood use. they might could even make one that would work with existing jigs if they made it with 2 steps to keep the same overall shank diameter...

 

hmm... looks like they do make a "micro" guide & bit combo for exactly this reason, but it fits into their larger jigs.

 

ooh, that micro block works with this small base too, but still you're looking at another $50 for the micro kit plus $18 for the base if you don't have a K3/4/5 type jig already. worth it if you do a lot of 1/2" stuff, but i'll just make do with the kit i have since i'm 75% done with this project already.

 

 

Edited by theksmith
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Good find Kris.

I never really looked into all that  Kreg offers these days.

 

 I just keep using what I have.  But your new design, basic kit, is so much easier to adjust than my old stand by that I’m thinking about upgrading.

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