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I'm in the process of building a table saw/router table extension. I've been using pocket hole joints made with a Kreg jig for the case so far. I was wondering if the pocket holes screws would be enough to hold the drawers and shelves without a dado. I'm using 3/4" construction ply for the sides and back and solid wood for the front. I'd like to have a couple of drawers at the bottom and an open space for the router and the lift. In everyone's experience are the pocket hole screws enough or should I add more support to the inside shelving. First post with the app. Might edit on the computer later if requested

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    I'm going to hold off on answering this in case someone has any definitive information they can post but bottom line is I think going to be it depends. The main variable here is the quality of the plywood you're driving the screws into, since there's a vast difference in strength between high-end plywood made with hardwood veneers throughout and cheaper plywoods with softwood core veneers (and further differences beyond those two extremes as well). Obviously if non-standard screws are used they'll also affect how strongly the pieces can be held together. – Graphus Oct 27 '16 at 0:24
  • That's true. I was trying to be specific. I haven't posted a question in a while and probably don't have enough experience with ww to answer too many questions. I was hoping that by means of a question afoot pocket hole screws there might be something for someone else to use in their project at a future date. – Dano0430 Oct 27 '16 at 0:27
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    Sorry in case it wasn't clear I wasn't saying it's a bad question, quite the opposite in fact given the popularity of pocket screws (and they're only going to get more popular over time)! Just wanted to mention that unfortunately it won't be a simple yes or no because of the variables. But broadly speaking yes, pocket-screw joints are strong enough for most of the applications they're used for (especially when paired with glue of course, since the glue joint then will provide some or most of the final strength). – Graphus Oct 27 '16 at 0:31
  • No worries. Didn't mean to sound defensive. – Dano0430 Oct 27 '16 at 0:32
  • @graphus: ... Or lumber-core plywood, which might be better for this purpose. – keshlam Oct 27 '16 at 2:28
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Yes, pocket screws AND glue are enough to hold most drawer boxes together. We will often use them in a pinch for drawer boxes in the cabinet industry, and some shops will even use them regularly.

That being said, there are usually two weak spots in drawer construction, the bottom, and the drawer front.

For our typical drawer construction, we use 1/2" - 3/4" sides with a 1/4" bottom dadoed into all 4 sides. This makes construction and assembly simple, and results in a sturdy box. The drawer front is a separate part, applied to the front of the drawer box, usually using screws through the subfront of the box.

enter image description here

Building the box this way accomplishes a few things. First, your box itself has 4 sides, with the sub-front and back running between the drawer box sides. This hides any end grain from view. Also, you can put your pocket holes on the drawer box sub-front and back, where they will be completely out of view once in use.

Lastly, if you were to just screw the sides directly to the drawer fronts in a butt joint, those screws would be more likely to fail and pull out over time, and your drawer then has completely fallen apart. Having the sub-front, the screws holding the box together are perpendicular to the force from pulling the drawer open, and that force will be shear force, so that joint will be stronger.

enter image description here

  • Also forgot to mention another benefit of a separate drawer front. You can mount your drawer boxes in the cabinet, and then mount your drawer fronts, adjusting the reveals to be right. – Jacob Edmond Oct 27 '16 at 19:44
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Here is an interesting video on the strength of pocket hole joints: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apsH8eBfjVA

  • Links without an associated explanation do not make very good answers. Can you provide some description about the results of the tests in the video? – mmathis Oct 28 '16 at 1:49

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