Л laminate trimmer slides along a shop – built jig to rout a recess, or “pocket,” for a screw in the face frame rail shown at right. Pocket holes are commonly used with screws for joining face frame mem­bers or attaching a tabletop to its support­ing rails. Because they recess the fasteners below the surface of the workpiece, pocket holes solve the problem of having to screw straight through 3- or 4-inch-wide stock;

they also conceal the fasteners. The jig shown, designed by Patrick Spielman, features a slot that allows a laminate trimmer to rout the screw recesses.


Making the pocket-hole jig

Cut the jig body and fence from hardwood, then taper the top face of the body in a gentle concave curve, starting the cut 5 inches from one end. Now rout a ’/^-inch-wide, 3&-inch-long slot through the body, centered on the tapered face, as shown above. Drill two peep holes through the body near the tapered end; the holes will help you align the workpiece with the jig. Notch the top of the fence to accommodate the body, then glue the pieces together so the end of the body is flush with the outside edge of the fence. Once the adhesive has cured, bore the Мб-inch-diameter guide hole through the fence; align the bit with the slot in the body as you drill the hole. Screw

the body to the fence, making sure the fastener does not inter­sect with the guide hole. Finally, drive two brads into the inside edge of the fence, leaving their heads protruding, then snip off the heads with pliers; the pointed ends of the brads will help you position the workpiece against the fence. To pre­pare the laminate trimmer for the jig, cut a narrow shim from %-inch hardboard as long as the tool base is wide, drill a hole through it for the bit and template guide (step 2) you will use, and fix it to the base of the trimmer with double-sided tape. (The shim will allow the router to ride smoothly along the slightly curved surface of the taper.)

2 Routing the pocket

Install a cutter and template guide in the laminate trimmer; the cutter diameter should be slightly greater than the heads of the screws you will be using to join the workpieces. Then set the stock on a work surface, place the pocket-hole jig on top and, with the brads securing the work – piece flush against the fence, clamp the assembly in place. Holding the trimmer above the jig with the bit centered over one end of the slot, turn on the tool and plunge the bit into the stock until the hardboard shim is flat on the jig body. Then feed the tool along the jig to the other end of the slot to finish the cut, pressing the template guide against the inside edges of the slot through the cut (right).


Drilling the pilot hole

To complete the pocket hole, you need to drill the pilot hole for the screw used to secure the joint. Fit the bit into the guide hole in the jig fence and bore the hole (left). The bit should emerge from the top of the workpiece, centered in the pocket you routed in step 2.

Updated: March 15, 2016 — 4:48 pm