George Vondriska

Pocket Hole Joints: Is Glue Necessary?

George Vondriska
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Duration:   4  mins

There are a handful of topics and questions that pop up pretty regularly in the woodworking world. Most commonly: should I or shouldn’t I add glue to pocket hole joints? If you ask a room full of woodworkers you’ll probably get answers that fall on both sides of the fence. We decided to do a little experiment. Now we know that we didn’t take a hugely scientific approach to this, but it provides some results that are interesting.

The Experiment

We made up two pocket hole joints. One with glue in it, one without (The specific glue used was Titebond Quick and Thick). With one leg of the joint held in a vise, we yanked on the other leg, looking for a fracture. One measure was; how much force does it take to break the joint. The other was; what exactly does the joint look like after it’s been broken.

The Results

Well, we’re not going to give away the results of our experiment here. You’ll have to watch the video. But we can say you’re going to want to incorporate the results into your projects.

Applications for Pocket Hole Joints

There are so many places you can use pocket hole joints and screws. This is a such a versatile way of putting wood together. While most of us probably use it for face frames, or similar applications, pocket hole joinery can be used in lots of other applications.

Also Important…

Choosing the right joint for your project is important, and choosing the right glue is important too. Have a look at 4 Types of Glue You Can Stick With to make sure you’re using the best glue for your projects.

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21 Responses to “Pocket Hole Joints: Is Glue Necessary?”

  1. Dave Linn,

    So how strong does a stile and rail joint really have to be? You're never going to be counter pressure on the joint and it will be secured to a cabinet box. So while glue makes it a stronger joint why does it need to be?


    Noted that you did not use Kreg pocket hole screws. Kergs have a much larger washer head than the screws you used. Bet they would take a lot more force to pull out of the pocket.

  3. craigt55

    A glued pocket hole joint which has cured is almost as strong without the screws as with. If it is a frame that will be glued and nailed to a carcass glue won't matter.

  4. Anthony Greer

    I watched your video regarding glue and pocket hole screws however, I was wondering how important you think it is to glue pocket holes where lateral force either forwards or backwards or even side to side is absent such as in the case of carcass construction? I do agree with your admission that adding glue like you showed in the pocket holes in your test is a good idea and something I would likely do in future projects where your example is applicable. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Jackie Mowery

    "Video" ran with no video. Audio was very informative, however.

  6. moucon

    Here's the thing... maybe you don't need glue for pocket hole plywood casework, but I'm here to tell you I'd never assemble pocket hole face frames without it. Not because it's adding any great amount of structural strength - it obviously won't - it's an endgrain joint. But what it DOES do - and I've done 100s of these with and without so I know what I'm talking about - it does help to keep that joint from twisting and moving seasonally. It adds just enough resistance to a 2" wide joint to help stabilize it through seasonal changes - and therefore it WILL - not maybe - look better after 5-10 years than a face-frame that wasn't glued. I don't use pocket holes very much period - but when I need to do face-frames quickly they can be a useful tool -but after seeing how the seasons impact them I'll always glue them. The $.10 it costs and 5 seconds it takes is simply a non-issue when you want something to look good year after year.

  7. Brew Holden

    How about we just use actual joinery? I get the speed of these pocket hole things, but I’ll never make something with them or buy anything made this way. I might as well go to ikea.

  8. Roger

    Thanks, I've wondered about this issue. I truely enjoy pocket hole joinery where appropriate, and knowing that Titebond will truely strengthen this joint is quite reassuring.

  9. Bill

    Hmmmmm. Who knew. Guess I'm gett'n the glue out next time.

  10. Jeff Scott

    Hi George, First, your videos and classes are great. Thanks so much for the work you do. I can agree that the face frame joints are stronger with glue. The question is does the joint need the extra strength. I am a novice woodworker and it seems to me that most woodworking professionals showing how to do things on the web overly focus on joint strength. I recognize joint strength is important but when is a joint design good enough for its purpose. Same thing for clamping pressure. How much do you really need to create a strong joint?

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