Working with wood can be intimidating at first. The great news is that there are easy techniques that will allow just about anyone to build awesome things. The purpose of this post is to inform the beginner about some of the easiest ways to join wood. I mention these methods in a lot of my projects, and this post will hopefully explain these references to those unfamiliar with these techniques.
A pocket hole is a great and easy method to join wood. In order to make a pocket hole, a pocket hole jig is needed. I use the Kreg Pocket Hole Jig, and I love it. Although the jig is around $100, it is well worth the price. To use it, you just set the jig and the drill bit to the size stock you are using, clamp the wood in place, and then drill the pocket hole. Pocket holes are strong, and I use them as often as I can in my projects. The downside to pocket holes is they leave a hole in the wood. I try to hide them, so they are not visible, or I use pocket hole plugs.
The purpose of a countersink screw is to hide the screw from sight by drilling a hole wide enough for the face of the screw to sit below the surface of the piece of wood. There are drill bits you can buy to make a countersink hole, but I just use the drill bit that came with my Kreg’s Jig. After the screw is in place, I use wood filer to cover the hole.
A biscuit is a small oval piece of wood that is inserted into matching holes in different pieces of wood. When glued, the biscuit swells and makes a strong joint. The best way to make a biscuit joint is to use a biscuit joiner (a router could also be used). Then, the two pieces of glued wood will have to be clamped together until the glue dries.
Brad nails are nails made to be used in a nail gun (or a staple gun). The nails are narrow with a narrow head. The narrow head leaves a very small mark on the wood that can be easily be covered with wood filer. Brad nails work great with some projects (like connecting a face frame), but they are weak. I do not use them on projects that need to hold any significant weight.
These methods can be used by the beginner woodworker or DIYer. You don’t have to be a master woodworker to make great furniture for your home. Give it a try; you will be amazed at what you can do.