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Review by jeffwedekind posted 168 days ago 2423 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
GREAT FEATURES/GREAT VALUE! No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

A VERY HIGH 4 STAR

A year or two ago I decided to get into the pocket hole joinery kick for basic carcasse construction. At the time I bulit a jig to house the jig and accesories, and I finally got around to posting the project. (seen here)

Many of the comments focused on which jig this was, so I thought it high time to do a review. (Not to mention this RARE gem from HF deserves a positive nudge.

After much consideration and research, I chose the (dare I say it) Harbor Freight jig. I liked the aluminum construction, and the added flexibility of the unit over the much higher priced Kreg jig. (I think I paid $54, a couple years ago). I buy very little from them except clamps, and the occasional tool that I’ll use only once or twice. I also buy my 4.5’’ angle grinders from them. I can pick them up for less than 10 bucks if I wait for a 1/2 off sale and use the coupon. They are cheap enough to buy one for each, grinding, cutting, and wire brush. I never have to change wheels, and I haven’t worn one out yet.

Oops, I digress.(I’ll save that for a different review).

Any way, I like the flexibility of this particular jig in that I can adjust the spacing of my holes without unclamping, and re-clamping the work piece. I can adjust from as little as about 5/8’’ to almost 3 1/2’‘

I also like that I can take one of the drilling jigs off and use it like the Kreg single hole jig. With this I can add pocket holes anywhere on a piece, post construction.

Also, since this jig has two different boring holes for material over 1’’,(probably not something I’ll use in carcasse construction), I have two extra bushings in case I ever wear one out (not likely).

The only real negative I have with this product, is the cheesy way it deals with adjusting the jig for wood thinner than 3/4’’. There are two little allen screws(one per each) that you screw into the little threaded hole that the work piece ’’rests’’ on to get the exit hole in the right place.

In fairness, it does do what it’s supposed to, but I find it a bit awkward, and a pain to keep track of the little screws when not in use. My work around for this, while using the jig freehand, was to scribe a line on the jig where the work piece would register if the screw were in place, then place that line on the edge of the work piece, clamp and drill. when using it in the jig I built for it, I simply use a 3/16 spacer under the work piece when the thinner wood is being used.

Either way the above measures need only be applied when material less than about 5/8’s’’.

Another smaller negative is lack of dust/chip extraction. It’s a minor nuisance to have to clear the chips out between each piece.

Oh well, not a 5 star’er, but very, very, close.. If there were fractional stars it would be at least 4 1/2!

Added all up, the choice was a slam dunk for the Harbor Freight model. Tons of extra features, and a great value.

Hope this helps anyone about to jump into the pocket hole craze. There’s definitely more choices than just the standard blue one.

-- Jeff, eastern Wa




View jeffwedekind's profile

jeffwedekind

106 posts in 1326 days



6 comments so far

View mantwi's profile

mantwi

312 posts in 531 days


#1 posted 168 days ago

I had always resisted the pocket screw in favor of traditional joinery but a large cabinet job and a tight schedule made me reconsider. I picked up this jig and can’t imagine how the Kreg could do a better job at this very simple operation. The debris is a minor nuisance and I doubt I’d ever need it to join thinner stock so I also heartily endorse this jig. If this is someone’s primary choice for joinery the Kreg might be worth the extra money but for the limited use it will see in my shop the Harbor Freight jig is a fine investment. I like the detail you went into about it’s use and overcoming it’s potential shortcomings. God bless.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2799 posts in 1878 days


#2 posted 168 days ago

The most notable thing I see about this product is; it is NOT a copy of a Kreg, but a redesign, this time for the better. I have resisted over the years to go with pocket holes, mostly because my projects never needed a pocket hole type of connection, but as soon as I get a 25% off coupon, I may just go pick one up at my friendly local HF and at the same time pick up a free flashlight or whatever is free at the time.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10737 posts in 1324 days


#3 posted 168 days ago

Great job on this review with all the pics a details. And you USED it before you reviewed it! Thanks

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112018 posts in 2211 days


#4 posted 168 days ago

Good review very interesting.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1866 days


#5 posted 168 days ago

Great write up. I did one with a comparison to the General EZ jig http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com/2014/03/drill-master-96264-portable-pocket-hole.html?m=1 and my results are close to yours. It is rare that the Harbor Freight tool is superior to the competition other than in price. This jig is all that.

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2383 posts in 2072 days


#6 posted 168 days ago

Sometimes like this I am pleasantly surprised by a Harbor Freight tool. It looks like a good unit. I can’t speak well for the grinders you mentioned though. I use grinders a lot and they usually last about a year under heavy use. I cut a lot of metal for welding. My millwaukee and Dewalt grinders did a lot of hard work but lasted a year before burning out. I purchased three HF ones thinking I’ll use each for awhile then throw them out. Well, each one lasted just about 20 minutes before they began to smoke at the gearbox.
Ironically I then purchased a craftsman with the 3 yr extended warranty. That was 5 yrs ago. Go figure huh?...

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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