|Review by Kelen||posted 11-09-2011 11:22 PM||3084 views||0 times favorited||11 comments|
I’m sure some may argue, but this has got to be one of the coolest little gadgets I have in my shop. I opted for the mini version 1) for the attractive price tag compared to their pricier systems, and 2) I never really thought I would use that many pocket holes in my projects. Several hundred pocket holes later, I find myself wishing I had paid the extra amount and purchased their more complete system that retails for around $99. The Kreg-Jig mini will do the same job just as good as its more expensive counterpart, the only negative being you can only drill one pocket hole at a time with the mini version. In most applications/joints, not all, it’s usually necessary to drill more than 1 I’ve found. The larger version gives you the option to drill 2 or 3 while not having to reposition the jig on the board you’re drilling.
The Kreg jig system is simple to use and produces a strong joint. Although the company says you do not need to use glue, personally I like to error on the side of using glue (depending on the project) to give the joint some added strength. I know it won’t produce the strength and sometimes the aesthetic look of a mortise and tenon and other types of joints, the speed with which one can join two boards together is quick and easy.
The key to the entire system is the proper setup. When setup properly, the jig will guide the drill bit at the appropriate angle to ensure the pocket hole screw exits the board directly in the center. I use the jig primarily for ¾” stock which based on the instructions that came with it, you line up the end of board flush with the end of the jig. Once your drill bit stop collar is measured to the appropriate distance, simply clamp the jig down to the board and drill a hole. I generally use a simple set of 11” Swivel Pad lock grip pliers from Harbor Freight (around $5) and it does the job just fine. Kreg sells their own sets of locking pliers that complement their systems. Maybe they’re of better quality, but for me, the price was a little too inflated for the purpose. I’ve also had no problems using a basic 6” Irwin quick-grip clamp to hold the jig down while drilling.
Overall, this is a great little tool that for certain applications, I can’t live without. Some projects I opt to fill in the pocket holes (they sell the pocket hole plugs you can glue down and sand down flush) and others I leave them visible. It won’t replace any form of joinery, but it certainly adds another option when building.