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I have finished making the carcass of the kitchen cabinets for my sister (the corner cabinet was a challenge to make:DayDreaming:). I have cut all the rough hickory up into the pieces for the face frames, doors and drawer fronts. Yesterday I took out my Kreg pocket hole jig that I have had for many years but just recently attached it to a sheet of plywood. I only have a box of coarse pocket hole screws and when I started attaching the rails to the stiles, the screws split the wood on the stiles. Is this due to using a course screw? Would a fine srew be better? 


So Kreg jig  experts, what do you think? Is there a way to join the pieces with course screws? 


Best regards 


Ron Peterson 

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you never did say if you were screwing into or out of end grain...

is the head of the screw splitting the wood or is it the threads...

keep in mind that Hickory is naturally a brittle wood...


coarse screws... use fine thread..

too large of a diameter of a screw.. drop down in number size or two...

lack of a pilot hole.. make one.. make the pocket and use that as a guide to make a pilot hole in the adjoining piece..

screwing into end grain resulting in splitting..   pocket the end of the long gain piece...

over torquing the screws.. tighten just enough to hold let the glue pick up the slack....

screws too long.. shorter screws.. a ¼'' of length will make a difference..

screws too close to the edge... single centered screw and glue...


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Hickory:  should use fine thread screws on hard woods.  Lowes in this area carries a pretty full selection of Kreg p-screws.

When attaching rails, I assume you're using two screws into the stiles:  screw the stile hole furthest from the end of the stile first. 

Don't use impact driver. 

If you just "gotta use" coarse screws, I'd pilot hole the stile, but it might take a pilot larger than the shaft due to the wider diameter of the threads.


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Ok, first to answer a few questions. I am making the pocket hole through the end grain into the edge of the straight grain


I have stiles of 31" and the bottom rail for the base cabinets is 2 3/4" wide, so I had drilled two pocket holes in it. The bottom screw was splitting the wood. I took Sticks suggestion to do the upper hole first and that solved the splitting problem. The other rails are 1 1/2" wide and the pocket holes in them seemed not to split the wood. If it did split the wood, I backed out the screw and got some glue in the split then clamped them and drilled the screw in and let that cook 4 hours. That seemed to correct the problem. I will have to see how the look after I do some sanding. 


Best regards 



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for the best glue application..

hold a throttled down vacuum hose under the split while it is open...

apply glue to the top side of the split..

use the vacuum to pull the glue all the way into the split..

clamp and then scrape the excess glue off the surface before the glue completely dries...



after the glue dries, redrill and then reinstall the screw...

suggestion.. don't drill the pocket so deep...

drill it only deep enough pit the head of the screw flush or even a skosh proud...

a shallow pocket hole warrants a screw clearance hole be through drilled in the pocket holed piece only..



is it the head of the screw or the screw shank doing the splitting???

you painting or staining???



The word skosh comes from the Japanese word sukoshi, which is pronounced "skoh shee" and means "a tiny bit" or "a small amount." The Japanese word was shortened by U.S. servicemen stationed in Japan after World War II.

Edited by Stick486

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