Using pocket holes to join materials of different thicknesses can be confusing. Here’s the simple rule to remember how to set up your Kreg Jig to join thicker and thinner materials.
Joining different thickness with pocket holes is one of the most common joints we use for building DIY furniture projects, but how should we set up our Kreg Jig to join thicker and thinner materials? Here’s the simple rule to remember when joining different thicknesses.
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A few months ago I updated the site to make it easier for you to find pocket hole related tips and added a page where you can ask your pocket hole questions. Ever since the “pocket hole hotline” has been lighting up with questions! First, we looked at pocket hole plugs and 9 Secrets to Make the Best Pocket Hole Plugs. Then, we looked at Need to Know Pocket Hole Tips for Edge Joints.
Today, we’re answering new pocket hole questions from Riaz, Roy and Jackie. Riaz plans to “join pieces of different thickness” and wondered how to set up the drill guide, the drill bit depth collar and what size screws to use when joining workpieces. Roy wants to join a 3/4” workpiece to a 1-1/2” workpiece and would like to know what size screw to use.
And Jackie asked:
I am building a desk out of 2 x 4’s. The instructions say the end pocket holes will have 2-1/2” screws and the pocket holes on the long edges will have 1-1/4” screws [to attach to 1x6s]. I have the K5, so I set my block for 1-1/2” thickness, but when I set my drill bit depth to 1-1/4” screws it takes my collar too high on the drill bit. Am I doing something wrong? I had to remove the collar to make it work.”
Joining materials of different thicknesses with pocket holes can be confusing. How should we set up our Kreg Jig to join thicker and thinner materials? Today we’ll learn the simple rule that will help us remember how to set up our pocket hole jig for joining different thicknesses with pocket holes.
The Simple Rule for Joining Different Thicknesses with Pocket Holes
There’s one, simple rule for drilling pocket holes when joining materials of different thicknesses and that rule is “Think Thin”. When setting up the drill guide, drill bit depth collar and choosing screws for different thicknesses always set up to join the thinnest piece you’re working with. In other words “Think Thin”.
Set the Drill Guide
Let’s take Jackie’s example and say we want to join a 2×4 workpiece to a 1×6 workpiece. How should we set up the drill guide to join these two pieces?
“Think Thin” and set up the drill guide for the thinnest material you’re working with. In this case, our thinnest material is the 1×6. A 1×6 is actually 3/4″ thick, so we’ll set up the drill guide to drill pocket holes in 3/4” material.
For the Kreg Jig Mini, Kreg Jig R3, Kreg Jig K4, Kreg Jig K5 set the drill guide for the thickness of your thinnest workpiece. Do you have a Kreg Jig Mini? Then skate over to the Kreg Jig Mini Makes Hard-to-Reach Repairs Easy post and grab your FREE 9-page Ultimate Kreg Jig Mini Setup Guide while you’re there!
Set the Drill Bit Depth Collar
In Jackie’s example, we’re joining a 2×4 workpiece to a 1×6 workpiece. We’ve already set up the drill bit guide, but how should we set up the drill bit depth collar to join these two pieces? “Think Thin” and set up the drill bit depth collar for the thinnest material you’re working with. In this case, our thinnest material is the 1×6. Remember, a 1×6 is actually 3/4″ thick.
IMPORTANT: For the Kreg Jig Mini, Kreg Jig R3 and Kreg Jig K4 set the depth collar for the thickness of your workpiece.
For the Kreg Jig K5 set the depth collar for the length of the screw you’ll be using to attach your workpieces. Jackie mentioned she’s using the Kreg Jig K5, so we’ll also use it for our example below. The pocket screw length used to attach 3/4″ workpieces is 1-1/4″, so we’ll set our depth collar for a 1-1/4″ pocket screw.
Choose the Screw Length
So far we’ve set up the drill bit guide for our thinnest material and the drill bit depth collar for our thinnest material. Our next step is to attach the workpieces, but what length pocket screw should we use? “Think Thin” and choose a pocket hole screw length for the thinnest material you’re working with.
In Jackie’s example our thinnest workpiece is 3/4”, so we need to choose a pocket screw that we would typically use for joining 3/4” material. For 3/4” material, we would typically use a 1-1/4” pocket screw, so that’s what we’ll use to join our example. Please check out 9 Pocket Hole Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make for more recommendations on pocket screw lengths for your projects.
More Tips for Pocket Hole Joints
Now that we have mastered joining materials of different thickness with pocket holes, let’s take a look at tips for joining other common joints with pocket holes.
Edge joints are used to join the edges of boards to form a wider piece. Common uses for edge joints are to make panels and table tops for DIY furniture projects. Skate over to Need to Know Pocket Hole Tips for Edge Joints for more information.
Miter joints can add a decorative element to picture frames, door frames, and DIY furniture projects. Drilling pocket holes on miter joints requires a little extra thought and planning but is just as easy as drilling pocket holes on butt joints and edge joints once you get the hang of it. Skate over to Drilling Pocket Holes on Miter Joints Requires Careful Planning for more information and be sure to grab your FREE Drilling Pocket Holes on Miter Joints Cheat Sheet while you’re there!
Avoid These Pocket Hole Mistakes
Master your pocket hole projects with this FREE ten-page Pocket Hole Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make Guide! The guide is overflowing with useful hints and easy tips to help you avoid time-consuming mistakes. Click below, get your FREE guide, and tackle your next pocket hole project with confidence!
Pocket Hole Questions
Having some pocket hole problems? Can’t get your Kreg Jig setup properly? Are your pocket hole joints loose? Do your pocket holes crack? If you have a question about pocket holes and you didn’t find the answer in Kreg Jig Tips and Tricks directory then skate over to this form and ask your pocket hole question!
Using pocket holes to join materials of different thicknesses can be confusing. Use the simple rule “Think Thin” to remember how you should set up your Kreg Jig to join thicker and thinner materials.
Thank you for stopping by. If you found this information helpful, would you please pin it to Pinterest? Other DIYers would appreciate it and I would too! Thank you – Scott