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All Replies on Kreg jig, worth it?

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View Greedo's profile

Kreg jig, worth it?

by Greedo
posted 06-11-2011 06:40 PM


32 replies so far

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2710 days


#1 posted 06-11-2011 06:44 PM

If you build cabinets a lot it’s well worth the money. Also it you’re not into a lot of fancy joinery it works great as a replacement.

You will probably have all your friends coming over to borrow it :-)

If you want to manufacturer things for sale and do it quickly it’s hard to beat. There’s no waiting for glue to dry.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12300 posts in 2819 days


#2 posted 06-11-2011 06:45 PM

I Like mine. I’ve used it for a variety of things.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View ShaneA's profile (online now)

ShaneA

5411 posts in 1320 days


#3 posted 06-11-2011 07:07 PM

Worth the money, versatile jig with lots of uses and short learning curve. You can get by without master system.

View mminella's profile

mminella

15 posts in 1682 days


#4 posted 06-11-2011 07:15 PM

I have a Kreg because I couldn’t afford the Domino. To answer your questions specifically:

1. How useful is it: Very. Mine has been used in building the facefame of the cabinet I’m currently working on as well as most of the jointery involved in my mail holder project. It is a quick way to join dimensional lumber in a variety of ways. An advatnage of this type of joint is that it can be easily tightened over time as it loosens. Any joint that depends on glue for holding things together is much harder to maintain over the years IMHO.

2. Limits & drawbacks: There is really only one I can think of. In order to use pocket screws, you need to drill a pocket which leaves a pretty big hole in your work. Yes, you can plug it but typically you are left figuring out how to just hide it in your work (the back of the mail holder looks like swiss cheese because of the pockets IMHO).

3. Does it work with regular screws: While I haven’t tried this, My bet is that if you could find a self drilling screw with the same or nearly the same sized head, it would work. A screw is a screw after all. However, you’ll probably spend more time hunting for that perfect screw than just buying pocket screws.

4. What types of wood: Since it uses screws for the jointery, I would argue that if you can use a screw in the wood, it will work. The only limitation here is that you need a board wide enough due to the angle of the screw. I think kreg requires the piece with the pocket to be 1/2” but I don’t have mine in my hand to check.

5. It doesn’t need clamps: Well, I’ve seen that also, and that is a lie. However, what you need clamps for probably wouldn’t be what you’d expect. Instead of using a clamp to hold the pieces together as in a normal glue up, you need to use a clamp to hold the pieces flush (say on a face frame) because as you drive the screw, the pieces will have a tendency to shift out of flush (is that even a phrase?).

Overall, I think that adding the Kreg to your collection would probably make life easier for you in times when you just don’t want to drag out the Domino, cut the mortises and wait for the glue to dry. The Kreg offers you a quick and easy way to join two pieces of wood in both an economical and quality package.

One more thing, you asked which version to get…I have the standard Kreg Jig which to my understanding is the same jig as the master system but doesn’t come with a face clamp to hold work flush (I have plenty of clamps) or the work support/stop. It sells for around $100 in the US. I would not bother with the mini or the junior, but that is just my opinion. Let us know what you decide!

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2698 posts in 2008 days


#5 posted 06-11-2011 07:27 PM

I have sold lots of Kreg products. I don’t know that anyone has been disappointed yet.
It is best for cabinets, but certainly can be used for a variety of things. You can get their cheaper versions, so it is not terribly expensive to get started.

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View Greedo's profile

Greedo

468 posts in 1682 days


#6 posted 06-11-2011 07:43 PM

thanks for the quick replies all, what is special about pocket screws? i mostly use Reisser torx screws with self drilling head. a quick google search makes me think real pocket screws have a wide and flat bottomed head that helps pressing the wood. the screws over here typically have a conic head that i presume would tend to split the wood in a pocket hole. not sure i can even find such screws here.

edit, does it also work on particle boards?

View Loren's profile

Loren

7809 posts in 2369 days


#7 posted 06-11-2011 07:55 PM

The joints move around. Unless you have a fast clamping system that
controls movement of the parts in all directions when you are putting
the screws in, the joints will drift and you have to sand out the deviations.

The screws split wood sometimes, and especially plywoods and particle boards.

They are not a strong joint in melamine and MDF and cause more problems
in these materials than they solve, imo.

The joints look cheap and uncraftsmanlike. Looks DIY.

Still, they have their uses.

I do use pocket holes sometimes, but I’ve discovered their limitations and
regret using them in past work where I could have used something that
didn’t look so awful from the back.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View sawblade1's profile

sawblade1

754 posts in 1748 days


#8 posted 06-11-2011 07:59 PM

Yes it is I have the simple kit use it all of the time building cabinets :)

-- Proverbs Ch:3 vs 5,6,7 Trust in the lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways aknowledge him and he shall direct your path elmerthomas81@neo.rr.com

View scottv11's profile

scottv11

29 posts in 1285 days


#9 posted 06-11-2011 08:00 PM

It does not work well on particle board. Here is what the pocket screws look like:
http://www.mcfeelys.com/pocket-hole-screws

View RKW's profile

RKW

326 posts in 2169 days


#10 posted 06-11-2011 08:04 PM

i think regular screws would work, but the system comes with two drivers, a long and a short, that fit the heads on the pocket screws. I like the system, especially for constructing face frames for cabinets. The pocket screws are a little more pricey than regular screws.

Also, the thickness of your work piece determines what size screw to use. If you try to keep several size screws on hand for various thickness it can get expensive. There is two different types of pocket screws that i am aware of. One is for soft woods and the other for hard woods. Im thinking the finer threaded screws are for hardwoods and the coarser threaded are for soft woods.

The system comes with instructions on what size screws to use for what thickness. Be sure to follow those guidelines. I have tried to get away with using the wrong screws because i didnt have what i needed and it didnt work out at all.

hope that helps

-- RKWoods

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5561 posts in 2097 days


#11 posted 06-11-2011 09:28 PM

I have the Pro K3 and the older version of the R3. Even the most basic jig combined with a Quickgrip type clamp is useful, so you don’t need to buy the most elaborate jig to get your feet wet.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1415 days


#12 posted 06-11-2011 09:36 PM

No brainer. Solid stuff. I use mine all the time for utilitarian stuff. I’ve been criticized for saying it’s not “fine” woodworking, but it’s a solid rig.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11678 posts in 2410 days


#13 posted 06-11-2011 10:27 PM

Don’t waste your money on all of the add-ons , as the basics will do just fine…unless you plan on using it in production shop situations. Pocket hole screws are required for this system.
I bought a larger Kreg system and have yet to even set it up.
Using the mini jig , Kwiklamp, , step drill and square drive bits is all the versatility I’ve needed to date .
The rest of the kit is just sitting and collecting dust : (
MDF and Particleboard will require the use of the coarse threaded screws used for softwoods. You will want to set the torque on your driver so as not to strip out the connections in those products.
Enjoy your new Kreg system : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4525 posts in 1796 days


#14 posted 06-11-2011 11:39 PM

I’ve used the Kreg system for many years and I continue to use it when I can hide the screws.

I even use pocket holes (drilled with the Kreg system) in construction work for securing studs in place (as opposed to toe nailing).

Also, the Kreg screws are virtually the only wood screws I use whether I am doing pocket holes or not.

Nothing beats a really good screw.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View ferstler's profile

ferstler

333 posts in 2242 days


#15 posted 06-12-2011 12:25 AM

I have the basic, K4 version and it works fine. Some points.

1. There are aftermarket drill bits (Steelex offers one that can be found in the Grizzly catalog, along with the Kreg versions) that will work, but be careful. One I have has the 1/8-inch tip slightly longer than the Kreg version, and if you do not adjust it to compensate it will drill a short hole in the bottom of the jig base. It is cheaper than the Kreg version and includes a depth collar.

2. Standard, tapered screws will work, but to do the job right you need a drill bit with a tapered sholder instead of the flat one Kreg offers for use with their screws. I have used tapered screws, but since the shoulders are tapered they cannot be tightened as securily as the flat-shouldered Kreg versions. OK for light work, though. Steelex offers one of those, and it is in the Grizzly catalog with their flat-shoulder version.

3. The standard, K4 jig seems able to work as well as the more deluxe K3 model, at least that is what seems likely, given the way the deluxe model appears to operate. The K3 looks like a simpler design that might have advantages.

4. While Kreg says you will do best to drive the screws with a drill/driver and their bit, you can also do a final tightening with a hand screw driver that has that kind of square tip. (This is a standard kitchen-cabinet mount screw driver.) This guarantees uniform tightness with a line of screws. I have even used a small impact wrench, but you have to watch things with that approach.

5. Clamps are pretty necessary, since the tightening process does pull the parts slightly out of alignment. I use both clamps to hold the workpieces against the table surface to prevent shifting, and also against themselves to eliminate as much as possible any need for the workpieces to be physically pulled closer together and cause shifting.

6. Cabinets and shelves are the most common uses. I used my jig to build a desk (it can be seen on the projects part of this site) and audio equipment cabinet (still in process), but it can also be used on smaller projects like moderately large and larger picture frames (I think I had one of my frame projects posted here, too). Since frames require drilling into mitered frame edges, some care is required.

7. While the manual offers suggestions for screw types, screw lengths, and drill settings, one can easily experiment to get combinations that work with workpieces of different thicknesses and materials. One must be careful when working with mdf, which tends to bulge or split if the screws are too close to edges or surfaces. I suggest drilling pilots holes in case there is any question of bulging or splitting in any wood. Needless to say, watch out for drilling those pilot holes too deep.

8. The version I have was illustrated in a Kreg video, and the markings for drill-bit sizing were engraved in white. However, my particular unit had no white, and was just engraved. I am not the only person who has noticed this. To solve my problem, I took a very fine Sharpie pen and simply went over the engraved markings in black ink. Problem solved.

9. Kreg makes good clamps for use with the device. I have two table hold-down clamps (one standard and one extended reach) and they work very well, and include a key-hole plate that you can recess mount in the bench surface. Kreg also has clamps for basic freehand work, but I discovered some at Harbor Freight versions that appear to work as well, and they cost half what the Kreg version does. Kreg also makes a special clamp with a prong on one leg that is designed to fit into the pockets and help hold shelves in place while clamping. However, the tool looks like it would be impossible to use on inner shelves on wider cabinets. It ought to work just fine on those pockets it can reach, however.

10. While the device obviously does leave visible pocket holes, this is no problem if the operation is used on the underside of shelves that cannot be easily viewed. (If your house guests tend to get down on the floor to look at your work, this might be a consideration.) Kreg does make plugs, but you can make your own out of dowels, and then you just flush cut and sand them. However, those would only be used on partially visible surfaces, I would think.

11. The Kreg ads I have seen show the K4 jig and its accessories in a package. One item that is shown is the fitting for a vacuum hookup. However, the package I purchased did not have the vacuum device, and the shipping box had no way for one to be included. I have read of this discrepancy elsewhere. The ad is misleading.

12. In normal use the screws should be strong enough to not need glue. However, glue certainly will not hurt, and will keep the final product a bit more rigid. The advantage of using just screws is that workpieces can be disassembled if there are complications.

Finally, I have a biscuit saw (and biscuits), too, and I have not used them since getting the Kreg jig.

Howard Ferstler

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

1733 posts in 1644 days


#16 posted 06-12-2011 12:28 AM

I bought one to use in assembling fir and pine. Set up as instructed and using the proper kreg screws it splits the wood horribly almost every time. I have adjusted the jig (not the recommended settings) and shortenned the screws and screw them in by hand and now it splits the wood less. I imagine it would work well on hardwoods but I do not use it on my hardwood projects. I am sorry I bought it.

-- In God We Trust

View jonchilds's profile

jonchilds

26 posts in 1289 days


#17 posted 06-12-2011 12:57 AM

I am pretty new to woodworking, and I really like mine. It allows me to have a solid joint everytime. I have so far built things that didn’t really need any kind of fancy jointery (a firewood holder, flower box for my shed, etc). So I really appreciate the ease with which I can build these thing with the Kreg jig. I got the master system since I was going to need to buy some clamps anyhow. The one thing I would recommend if you don’t get that one is to buy the little dust collection gizmo. It seems to work much better when it is attached to my shop vac. When it wasn’t attached I sometimes had to pull the drill bit out to clear the sawdust out of the holes.

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

1010 posts in 1412 days


#18 posted 06-12-2011 01:03 AM

One of the best tools ever! Had mine for about 25 years! Still use the original everyday!

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "finished"!

View tenontim's profile

tenontim

2131 posts in 2466 days


#19 posted 06-12-2011 01:27 AM

I won one on finewoodworking.com. I used it to assemble the face frames on my kitchen remodel. Worked good for that. Haven’t really found any other use for it.

View TechRedneck's profile

TechRedneck

746 posts in 1579 days


#20 posted 06-12-2011 03:49 AM

I have the master system and love it. Comes in handy when you want to slap together a cabinet. I recommend Kreg as a part of your tool set. I also have a nice dowel jig that comes in handy when you don’t want the pocket hole to show. Kreg=fast easy, Dowels for strength and finish on butt joints. I almost always throw in a bead of glue for extra strength.

As stated above I have also used the Kreg for toe screwing components. The clamps made for the jig come in handy as well.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11678 posts in 2410 days


#21 posted 06-12-2011 03:58 AM

Jim Finn ,
I’d be interested in seeing some pictures of your splitting issues and screw placements.
I have used mine on quite a bit of both species with no problems at all.

richgreer,
bottom line =} LMAO

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1572 days


#22 posted 06-12-2011 06:14 AM

There are lots of options in the screw department, heads, receptacles, threads and tips. Be sure, Jim, you’re using the coarse thread for softer woods, finer for harder.

I always wax all my screws when I’m doing pocket joinery.

Also, here’s a little secret if your material is skittish: Glue and clamp the frame and come back to it in an hour and insert the screws. No creep, no splitting.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1572 days


#23 posted 06-12-2011 06:14 AM

There must be a copy out there of the Kreg—anyone found it or tried it?

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Moron's profile

Moron

4706 posts in 2615 days


#24 posted 06-12-2011 07:14 AM

I have the mini, and I love it.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View yooper's profile

yooper

181 posts in 1549 days


#25 posted 06-12-2011 03:38 PM

Very good tool that I use on many of my projects. It’s great for someone like me who is new to woodworiking and does not have a lot of time to spend on my hobby.

One of the drawbacks that I don’t like is that I have to order many of the pocket hole screws on-line (and pay shipping sometimes). Even if a big box store carries them, they only have a limited number of sizes. I tried non-pocket hole screws with poor success. I used to experience some splitting issues, but have gotten around it by using #6 (thin) screws instead of the the normal #7. Also drilling the screw half way into the hole and then back drilling a few turns and completing the forward drilling helps (this came from a Kreg website tip). Also in soft woods, stop drilling as soon as you feel the screw bottom out in the pocket. It is possible to drill too deeply – reduce the tork.

-- Jeff, CT - better late then never

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5561 posts in 2097 days


#26 posted 06-12-2011 04:51 PM

Lee – There are lots of other pocket hole jigs (Rockler, PSI, Vermont American, etc), but I’m not sure how close they are in design to the Kreg’s….the basic concept is roughly the same. Several years ago Wood Mag did a comparison of pocket hole jigs…IIRC, there were four classifications and Kreg took top spot in every price range. I’ve never had reason or opportunity to try any of the others.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View scottv11's profile

scottv11

29 posts in 1285 days


#27 posted 06-12-2011 08:14 PM

Firstler is right about the clamps. They are almost invaluable when putting cabinets together single-handedly. The corner clamp plus the one that fits into the pocket allows me to assemble most any size cabinet by myself.

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

1836 posts in 1719 days


#28 posted 06-12-2011 08:49 PM

I have a craftex version of Kreg pocket hole. I tried unsuccessfuly to make the cheap version of Kreg jig, bought this at auction $15.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View patcollins's profile

patcollins

1003 posts in 1587 days


#29 posted 06-12-2011 09:04 PM

The harbor freight one has some great reviews. I dunno about the two different angles though.

I bought the Kreg Jr and I am finding it more than adequate.

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1361 days


#30 posted 06-12-2011 09:30 PM

I am soon to buy one pocket hole jig or another. The HF looks interesting (especially with the reviews).

May I ask if pocket hole joinery is useful in 3/4” plywood (birch or oak cabinet grade) ?

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Joe2Work's profile

Joe2Work

4 posts in 518 days


#31 posted 06-26-2013 03:26 AM

I have recently aquired a Kreg jr and believe I must be using it incorrectly. Although it seems very easy to work, I am not getting the expected results. The Pockets that I am creating are very shallow. I have tried to install the Kreg screws and the head stick out. It seems like the angle is not big enough, has anyone had this problem and/or does anyone have a solution? Thanks
Joe

View muleskinner's profile

muleskinner

724 posts in 1158 days


#32 posted 06-26-2013 04:26 AM

Make sure the stop collar on your drill bit is set deep enough. If I remember correctly, the drill bit should penetrate so that it barely breaks out of the joined edge of the piece with the pocket hole.

-- Visualize whirled peas

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