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Drilling Pocket Holes in Thick Stock
Pocket hole joinery can be a quick, efficient way to pull your woodworking project together, especially if you don't have the time or need to cut tenons, dadoes, and rabbits. A simple pocket hole jig, as shown in the drawings below, makes the work even easier by guiding your drill bit exactly 15° — ideal for securing two pieces of stock at a right angle.
In our Workbench Rustic Retreat Deck project, we needed a quick way to secure 2×4 hand rails to the posts. Pocket hole joinery was the perfect solution. We used a pocket hole jig from the Kreg Tool Company to make sure all the deck screw holes were positioned exactly where we wanted them.
Setting up the jig was easy. We positioned it on the top surface of the rail where we wanted the screws to enter and used a face clamp to hold it in place while we drilled (Fig. 1). Pull the jig snug against the end or your stock and the jig stop will position your holes in the same place on every board. If you're working with 2×4 rails like we were, use the extension stop (included with the jig) to make sure the screw will exit at the center of the board (Fig. 2a). The jig includes two drill holes, which provide some different hole spacing options when you align the jig against the left and right edges of your board (Fig. 1a).
Notice in Figure 2a. that we used a special bit (included with the jig) to create a deep counterbored pocket and shank hole for the screw. Note that the shank hole doesn't go through the end of the board, but enters just far enough to get the deck screw started in the right direction. We also used a spacer block to support the rail while driving the screws into the post (Fig. 2).