08 Jul. 2008|
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Fans of pocket screws explain why they like to use them for assembling face frame cabinets.
After reading the obvious scorn for pocket screw construction of one poster, I would like to hear about your methods of face frame construction and methods of attaching to the case. I think that the scorn was directed at using pocket screws to assemble the cabinet box, which I still think is sound, solid construction.
I agree with dowels being stronger, but let's think about how much stress a frame is actually going to take. I just finished a job that was an hour drive from my shop and had a cabinet get damaged while waiting to be installed. I use pocket screws to assemble my FF, and use dados and cleats for frame attachment, for obvious reasons. I pocket screw the rails to the stiles and then pocket screw the frame to the carcass from any area that isn't going to be visible.
My theory is that if the cabinet can make it through the delivery and installation process, it's as strong as it will ever need to be.
The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.
Don't forget, with dowels, you eventually take the clamp off after glue-up, but with pocket screws the clamp remains in place after glue-up.
So then, from a business perspective, the justification becomes speed of process (product out the door), and labor savings (money in your pocket), which greatly outweigh any perceived advantage of doweling, in my opinion. Now we just glue and pocket screw the frames together then glue and clamp the frames to the boxes.
Obviously though, you can't use pocket screws for everything, although some people believe a plug looks okay. I will admit that it's overkill for a kitchen cabinet, but when I show it to my customers, they love it and it has helped me sell a lot of jobs where I've been able to beat others out because of my "better " construction.
Furthermore, the same movement is happening with the pocket screws, at least as it pertains to the FF.
I know this takes more time waiting for the glue to dry, but with enough clamps, by the time all the clamps are used up, the first frame is ready to unclamp.
The place that a doweled FF really paid off for me was the time I was delivering a large liquor storage cabinet to a bar and the guy on the other end of it dropped his end on the ground when he lost his grip and the whole thing held together. As for strength, I have no doubt that if you were to take 2 pieces of wood, one being doweled and the other pocket screwed into an L and tried to break them apart, the pocket screw would fail first.
Now thanks to you all on this site I can glue and screw without having to clamp and wait for the glue to dry. I go back to a point I made in my last post - yes, it may be overkill for kitchen cabinets, but as I said, I use it as a sales tool also.
Basically, if you have to literally lie on your back and stick your head into the cabinet, then it doesn't matter.
The big plus of the pocket screw system is that it doesn't require the investment in an expensive machine to do the horizontal boring needed for dowels. I totally agree when you pocket screw your frame to the cabinet, you have a bombproof structure. If 14 to 28 hardened screws into hardwood will not hold a box together or support the weight of 12 to 14 sq ft of doors, I would be surprised.