Pocket screws sure make face frame construction easy, don’t you think? But, there’s one hitch in their getalong for me: clamping up the joints before driving the screws. Since I don’t use pocket screws day in and day out, and for lack of a quick and better solution, I still grab those locking pliers with the disk-shaped heads to hold my joints tight. Sometimes they work as advertised, sometimes they don’t. The longer the joint parts, the harder it is to wrangle them with those clamps.
In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that I was assembling a huge face frame. The parts were long and pretty cumbersome. Every few joints, my clamp would loosen up just enough to allow the rail and stile to separate a tad when the screw entered the target workpiece. It was annoying, and in two instances, it resulted in the part faces skewing out of flush. I also would have really appreciated a way to lay the joints flat on my worksurface while clamped. Still, I muddled through it.
Little did I know, but Rockler has a fairly new product called Pock-It Hole Clamp™ that looks as though it could have saved me a bunch of expletives that day. Maybe you’ve seen or even use them already. Ralph Bagnall, one of our regular Woodworker’s Journal contributors, tried out a pair for Rockler and reported his experience here.
Dern it. I found that post about two months too late.
These little clamps look handy. According to the catalog, they’re made of aluminum and have a ratcheting handle that enables the clamp to function flat on a bench. That would have been super helpful for me. The body is narrow enough to clamp one pocket and still drive the screw into the other hole on a two-pocket joint. A screw-adjust pin on the clamp sinks down into the pocket hole to hold that side of the joint while you tighten things up.
I think I’m going to need to make a trip to my local Rockler store before I build that next big face frame. For around $20 each they’re not too spendy; buy four or more and the price drops a couple bucks for each. Depending on your needs, you might even be able to get by with just one clamp.
Have you tried these Pock-It Hole Clamps out? If so, post a comment here and tell us what you think. Or, if you’ve got your own solution for a different clamp gets the same job done, I’m all ears.
Catch you in the shop,
Chris Marshall, Field Editor