Pocket hole jigs

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Steve Maskery posted 03-05-2009 01:39 AM 8184 views 3 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Steve Maskery's profile

Steve Maskery

49 posts in 3622 days

03-05-2009 01:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jigs pocket hole joinery pocket hole jig kreg

Apologies to anyone who also frequents Knots, but I’ve had several conversations recently about Pocket Hole Joinery. I don’t like the commercial jigs because the joint always slips (no? – must be just me then) so I use this system. Not only do I not spend loadamoney on a jig, this method produces a better result. It’s not quite as quick, I’ll grant you, but it is hardly labour-intensive!

The great thing is that creep and slippage are greatly reduced (because the screw goes in pretty much square to the face of the board). Not totally eliminated, perhaps, but much, much less of a problem.

OK, first up are the jigs I use for sheet materials when making wardrobes and the like:

The main board has an aperture of about 31mm x 100mm, for use with a 30mm bush and a 3/8” bit. It’s clamped to the workpiece with a trigger clamp and I rout a slot to 5mm beyond the centre of the board:

If I’m doing framing I use my mortising jig from Workshop Essentials Volume 2:

When the slot has been routed I use the second jig shown in the first picture. The tongue locates in the new slot and allows me to drill a clearance hole in exactly the right place:

Of course, the screwdriver needs to be bent a bit, but these are proper Robinson-pattern screws and I use a short bit and several extensions. The play in the extensions means that the resulting shaft is wobbly enough to drive the screw in whilst having the drill clear of the work:

The result is this:

I’m afraid I can’t understand why anyone would want to spend a couple of hundred dollars to do this job less well!

Cheers from England


-- The Complete Tablesaw -

24 replies so far

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3796 days

#1 posted 03-05-2009 01:42 AM

I think I’ll just keep on using my pockethole jig…....................LOL

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View pitchnsplinters's profile


262 posts in 3675 days

#2 posted 03-05-2009 02:17 AM

I’m all for an off the shelf, Kreg-type pocket hole jig. For the little money it costs for a premanufactured jig, it certainly won’t prevent me from buying a Festool router. However if I bought the Festool router first I might be financially obligated to fashion my own jig, and it might get me out of the doghouse a bit earlier for having spent the money on a Festool in the first place.

-- Just 'cause a cat has kittens in the oven, it don't make 'em biscuits.

View Handidad's profile


27 posts in 3611 days

#3 posted 03-05-2009 02:41 AM

It looks doable but not quite as easy as a pocket hole jig.
A better screw driver would be a robertson ball bit. These can be used at an angle and would be much easier than using an angled screwdriver.

View Steelmum's profile


355 posts in 4200 days

#4 posted 03-05-2009 03:17 AM

If you own a router and don’t want to purchase anything right now, this seems to be a way to do it. Use it up, wear it out, recycle it.

-- Berta in NC

View Steve Maskery's profile

Steve Maskery

49 posts in 3622 days

#5 posted 03-05-2009 10:02 AM

It’s fine for face frames. Face frames are not as common here as in the US, although I do use them myself. I don’t see why the length of the slot would be an issue, can you explain, please I would be interested.

I would argue that it is easier, because I don’t have alignment problems. I do agree that it is not quite as quick, as it is a 2-stage process,, but I don’t think that makes it more difficult. You are right about a ball bit, I must look out for one.

Spot on!

If you have a Kreg and are happy with it, then of course you will have no reason to use this method. But if you don’t I simply offer it as a very usable, cheap and excellent alternative.

Cheers from England

-- The Complete Tablesaw -

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3828 days

#6 posted 03-05-2009 07:13 PM

Is this supposed to save money or just make you feel good about making your own system? If it’s about saving money then you must be a hobbiest. As a professional making a living this would certainly take the profits away. You have to remember time is money. If you compare saving $100 bucks with your little make shift jig as opposed to the countless hours spent in labor and speed of production a kreg jig simply pays for itself 10 times over and simply makes up for the initial costs. In fact a pneumatic machine pays for itself in a job or two, especially if you do kitchens. I bought my pneumatic and it paid for itself within a job or two just from the labor aspect. I could easily bore 300 holes to every 10 of yours. Sounds like money well spent. eh?

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3631 days

#7 posted 03-05-2009 07:42 PM

Your solution seems very intersting to me, thanks for sharing.

I see a big smile in your face, working in your shop, in your backyard, with your nice router at your own peace, and sharing your joy and experience with others…...that’s what counts to me!

Money, money, money, time, money, time, money, time, time, money, ........ the song of consumerism!

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View Steve Maskery's profile

Steve Maskery

49 posts in 3622 days

#8 posted 03-05-2009 08:28 PM

I must be really thick here (not for the first time) but I still don’t understand. I could see that being a problem if the slots were in the stile and I was screwing into the rail, but not the other way round. Could you post a picture, please, I’d really like to understand the point you are making.

You are right in nearly every point. It’s not about JUST saving money. For me this works BETTER than a Kreg (although I am happy to concede that there is a speed price to pay). The point is that on the few occasions that I have used a Kreg or a Kreg clone, slippage has resulted in disappointment, and I don’t have that problem with my “little makeshift jig”. That is all. If I were making kitchens all day I would buy an automatic machine, but I don’t. I am, indeed, a hobbyist and I am not ashamed of that. I share my work for the benefit of other hobbyists and I, in turn, learn from others.

Thank you!

Regards to you all

-- The Complete Tablesaw -

View PurpLev's profile


8548 posts in 3886 days

#9 posted 03-05-2009 08:30 PM

Nice Jig Steve, great idea as usual.

I do have the Kreg Jig, and it was about $40, there are also $20 versions (and of course the $100 setup). I never had a problem with the Kreg jig shifting, and I like the fact that it’s a 1 step operation – drill, and fasten, rinse and repeat.

With that said – if you don’t have a Kreg Jig available, and have a few scrap pieces of MDF/Plywood – this is definitely a nice jig to make – as long as you’re not doing it to save money for production intensive joinery solution – as was stated in above comments, this will not stand up to an off-the-shelf jig which is aimed at speed.

Thanks for Sharing Steve! and Cheers from the States ;o)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3828 days

#10 posted 03-06-2009 12:41 AM

Steve, I hope you didn’t take offense that I said it was good for a hobbiest. I am a hobbiest as well. In fact woodworking is all I do, not only for a living but for fun too. If this jig works best for you go for it. I respect the idea and thank you for sharing.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View Steve Maskery's profile

Steve Maskery

49 posts in 3622 days

#11 posted 03-06-2009 12:59 AM

No problem K, no problem. I’ve had a bit of a hard time on Knots, that’s all.
Barry, thank you for the explanation. I’ve never done that.
It’s bedtime here.

-- The Complete Tablesaw -

View millshop's profile


2 posts in 3578 days

#12 posted 04-03-2009 10:57 PM

This looks fine but in our millshop production is key. We sometimes have to use the kreg portable pocket hole jig and it works well, but there are three improvements I would like to see added to this tool. 1) all aluminum construction. (We have gotten them so hot the plastic melts) 2) A chip release port. (This would also help with the heat issue, the new kreg pocket hole jigs have this feature but they are not made for production) 3) a face clamp holder built into the jig. Is this tool out there?

-- John Workman

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4011 days

#13 posted 04-03-2009 11:39 PM

I just bought a Kreg jig and am very pleased with the jobs I have used it on (mostly face frames). I also bought two right angle clamps for cabinet box construction which would hold the pieces in place while screwing them together. I do not see how parts could slip using these clamps? Am I wrong in my thinking? I build all my boxes with dados and rabbits but could see where the Kreg jig could work in some cabinet construction like mounting boards, toe boards and cabinets where appearance is not an issue.

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 4001 days

#14 posted 04-05-2009 03:18 AM

I also just bought a pocket hole jig, PSI was closeing out their master system at a very reasonable price, what I like about it is it is all metal construction, I just can’t bring myself to spend what Kreg wants for a mostly plastic jig. I haven’t tried it yet, but someday the need will arise I’m sure. So anyway I guess I’m not much help in experience with pocket hole jigs, but if it works good for you Steve, thats all that matters, nice way to do the job with a different aproach.

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 4129 days

#15 posted 04-05-2009 03:32 AM

I could have assembled a whole kitchen full of face frames with my pocket hole jig in the time it takes to set that process up. I’m one of those “simple things for simple minds” kind of guy.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

showing 1 through 15 of 24 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics