|Review by jeffwedekind||posted 03-15-2014 03:47 PM||4548 views||1 time favorited||7 comments|
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