Pocket Screws for Stair Assembly

Advice on fastener choice for screwing treads to risers from the back side. December 28, 2014

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
We're doing a substantial project with white oak treads and risers. We normally pocket screw the tops of the risers (from the back) to the treads above using a shop made jig with pan head sheet metal screws - usually #12. I've found that GRK is making a #9 pan head that they say works well for pocket screwing. I'd appreciate hearing from anyone who has used them for pocket screwing with a Kreg setup. The info available on their site is less than complete and it would be good to hear from someone with experience with them. I'd like something a bit more substantial than the Kreg washer heads. I've always been impressed with toughness of GRK's fasteners. If appropriate, these might speed our assembly substantially.

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor M:
I use their #8's for face frames. I get occasional splits in white oak. I won't touch birch with them without predrilling: a major pain. Good screws, there's just no where for the chips to go.

From the original questioner:
These screws will be run up into a thicker x-section of material and well away from an end. White oak, I believe, is less likely to split in this situation. Each screw would be about 8" away from the next.

From contributor M:
Yeah, that should be fine. About 3" to the edge seems to be the danger zone for the #8's. If the piece looks dense, drilling halfway, backing out, then driving it home seems to help. It unloads some of the chips.