We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Pocket Screw Jig?

By Dale Marshall
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A pocket screw jig is a device used by woodworkers to drill pocket holes, a technique used to strengthen butt joints, which are frequently used in cabinetry and other woodworking applications. Some woodworkers design and build their own jigs, but the quality and cost-efficiency of those available on the market are good enough to justify most woodworkers buying them. When used properly, a pocket screw jig will dramatically reduce the amount of time spent in creating pocket screw holes. The earliest use of pocket screws is believed to have been in ancient Egypt, where two pieces of wood would be clamped together and a hole drilled from the outside piece into the inside piece. A glued-up dowel was then inserted into the hole and cut off flush with the surface.

A butt joint is created when two pieces of wood are joined surface-to-surface. When secured only with glue, they’re very weak, especially when one of the glued surfaces is end-grain, which is difficult to glue securely. There are a number of ways to strengthen a butt joint, including mortise-and-tenon connections, dowels, biscuits, and pocket screw holes. For many joints, carpenters will prefer one of the other methods, but when many butt joints must be made, as in making cabinet carcasses or face frames, an easy and efficient solution is to use a pocket screw jig to make pocket screw holes.

Pocket screw holes are usually drilled in pairs for enhanced strength, near the end of the workpiece being butted up against the other. The holes are generally drilled from the back side of the workpiece, so that they won’t show on the finished piece. The pocket holes must be drilled at a very sharp angle to the surface, toward the end, so that the screws will come out of the end of the workpiece. Once the holes are drilled, self-tapping screws are inserted and used to join the two pieces together. If done without a jig, the cabinetmaker must measure carefully and attempt to drill the hole freehand; most freehand pocket screw holes will have problems, the most common of which is that the hole will exit the other face of the workpiece rather than the end.

A commercially purchased pocket screw jig is made of metal and when configured properly and clamped to the workpiece, lines up paired guides for drill bits to drill the holes neatly and accurately. It can be configured to accommodate different size workpieces and screw lengths so that the screws will have maximum gripping power. Special stepped drill bits are used, and care is taken to control the depth of the drilling, usually with collars secured with a set screw. A commercially purchased pocket screw jig will also have comprehensive instructions for the woodworker.

Many dedicated woodworkers prefer to make as many of their jigs as they can, eschewing store-bought products for shop-made equipment. Making a pocket screw jig in one’s own shop can be a very rewarding project which has been undertaken by many woodworkers. There are many approaches, some of which use a drill to make the holes, and the jig itself is portable, moving from spot to spot on the workpiece. Other approaches call for a router to be the cutting tool, making a swept cut into the workpiece, following which the screw hole is easily drilled. Plans for shop-made pocket screw jigs can easily be acquired from other woodworkers online, and give the home-shop woodworker the added advantage of being able to modify them however desired.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.