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Pocket screws allow you to quickly and easily join pieces. Several companies sell similar variations of the pocket screw jig, and they all work pretty much the same way. One exception is the Route-A-Pocket. It takes a few more tools and a little more effort, but produces what the manufacturer thinks is a better-looking and stronger joint.

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Line up the Route-A-Pocket jig on your work piece, chuck the special router bit and a 3/4″ bushing into your router, and you’re ready to make the pocket. Once the pocket is cut, you stick the pilot hole drill bit into a bushing on the end of the jig and drill the hole.

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There are two advantages to this method: The first is the pocket screw goes into the wood at a 10º angle rather than a 15º angle, allowing you to use a longer screw. The second is more subjective; some might think that the pocket that the system cuts looks cleaner than a normal pocket screw pocket.

Included with the Route-a-Pocket jig are the Route-A-Pocket router bit, a pilot-hole drill bit, a #2 ball tip square drive screwdriver and insert bit, some sample pocket hole screws, a set-up template, a transparent screw overlay, the user manual, and a storage tube for all the loose parts. Pricing for starts at $90 before shipping.

If you want to plug the holes made by the Route-A-Pocket, you can buy a plug-making jig for $150.

Route-A-Pocket [White Oak Tools]
Plug Cutter [White Oak Tools]
Route-A-Pocket [MLCS]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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11 Responses to Route-A-Pocket

  1. Fong says:

    I can see the beauty in this style pocket hole. I cannot; however, see myself ever considering trying it due to the complexity of the fixtures and doubling the number of steps to make the hole. If they can figure out how to automate this, it might take off but as it stands doesn’t provide enough of an advantage for the benefits.

    1. Whenever I make pocket holes, I make a lot of them and doubling the work is not appealing.
    2. The holes I do make are usually hidden so I’m the only one who ever sees them. Pretty isn’t so important.
    3. Most of the time, I’m using pocket holes to build faceframes which are eventually attached to a cabinet so the holding strength of the step drill method is plenty strong enough to keep it together before their holding strength becomes less critical.

    Anyone see an advantage in using these that overcomes the extra work required to make them?

  2. Ben says:

    There’s another big flaw with this jig. Actually a major one! The screw will not sit flat at the bottom because the router will leave a round bottom just like the old Porter Cable pocket hole machine (not their new QuickJig). Even the Kreg pocket hole jig that is perfectly designed for this application has a tendency to creep out of alignment, I’m afraid any joints made with this jig will hardly stay together and line up well.

    The complexity and longer setup time of this jig makes it a total turn off. This jig must have been invented by someone who never did any woodworking. Pocket hole joinery is designed to be hidden so regardless of how the hole looks, it will never be seen. What’s the point of this jig?

  3. dotScott says:

    With the standard (kreg) pocket jig you use the same tool to create and fasten the hole. This seems really bulky and inconvenient with no dust collection on the jig. This would be a mess. Where Kreg could benefit is to figure out a way to prevent creep. Really my only bitch with the assembly process. Face framing doesn’t seem to be as big of a problem as 90s. Any tips?

  4. Barks says:

    More pain No gain.

  5. Gary says:

    Ok, the hole is cleaner. It requires additional steps and more work. The one minor gain isn’t worth it.

  6. Kyle says:

    Anyone ever do freehand pocket holes? My woodshop teach can. he is one hell of a craftsman. He told me that the were done freehand with a spade bit and I was quite shocked.

  7. @Kyle:

    About 11 years ago, before I had ever heard about pocket screws I used a regular drill bit to make pocket screw holes for some speaker stands. I know it was 11 years ago because the stands were the first thing I ever made in my shop.

    I had asked my dad how to join two pieces together end to end at about a 170 degree angle and he told me to use a floor drill press to drill angled holes. Since I didn’t have a drill press at the ready, I started drilling straight into the face free-hand then angled the bit to make the pocket once it started grabbing. I used some wood screws to make the connection without drilling a pilot hole.

    It worked pretty well, the holes weren’t as clean as ones done with a pocket hole jig, but they were on the back of the stands anyway. I still use them today.

  8. JeffD says:

    Sure, it’s a cleaner hole, but holes are meant to be hidden or covered with a plug. My Kreg works well and has allowed to be build some nice furniture for my family. By making more steps (and work) they’re taking time away from my family. No way!

  9. ted says:

    i’m with JeffD – beautiful pocket holes. They’ll look great plugged and facing the wall.

    I saw a book at the library JUST on pocket hole joinery. The guy was highlighting plugged pocket holes like they were hand cut dovetails. He had them on the fascia of a hand made clock, even. (GROAN). It would be a great product for him, I guess.

    Me? My $30 General does the quick and dirty with total reliability and results are out of site in the end.

  10. fred says:

    @dotScott

    In our shop we use a commercial assembly table – pneumatic clamping – to speed up the process – avoid creep etc.
    Ours is a Castle table – but Kreg markets one too – at 4ftx8ft and upwards of $3k – probably out of range for a home shop

  11. Dave says:

    Glue should do most of the holding anyway, unless you’re making knock-apart furniture.

    Most of the face frames I’ve done have been mortise and tenon or biscuit joinery. IMO a good table saw jig is faster that pocket hole joinery.

    The only time pocket hole appeals to me is when I am making stuff on site, which being a DIY’er is almost never. Even the custom fit vanity I helped out with for a bathroom was carefully measured, then made in the shop and assembled on site. Fit like, well, it was made for the space.

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