Kreg Pocket Hole Jig

kreg-k4-pocket-jig

Kreg Pocket Hole Jig

You might be asking yourself, “What is a Pocket hole and when would I ever use one?”  Well, the straight forward answer is to join two pieces of wood together.  Now there are others ways to join two pieces of wood together such as a biscuit joint or dowelling.  As you know with biscuit joints, you need to apply glue and dowelling isn’t always possible depending upon the application.

A pocket hole has numerous advantages:

  • Doesn’t require glue
  • Amazingly fast to assemble joints
  • No complicated math required (like M&T)
  • Very strong connection
  • Great for hard to reach areas such as  a drawer
  • Can be retro-fitted to existing joints — so they can be used to repair existing furniture or drawers.
  • Affordable – All you need to get started is a Drill, a Jig and a Saw

Many professional shops use pocket holes as just one of their joints, choosing from an array of joining methods depending on their application. For example, where pocket holes are superb for joining face frames and building cabinets, many professionals prefer to use biscuits to end-join boards for making a table top.

But homeowners tend to have time and money to learn only a single joining method.  And, many homeowners lack the tools and extensive training required for more sophisticated joints like a mortise and tenon. So for homeowners, pocket holes are an excellent first joint because they can be used for almost any joints they need to make.

There are two main reasons why pocket hole connections are so strong.  First, you are using metal screws.  We all know how strong screws can be, plus you can match them to the type of wood you are working with.  Course threads for soft woods and fine threads for hard woods.   The second reason is the surface area.  You can see by the picture below how much of the screw is in contact with the wood.  There is a very large surface area for more gripping power.

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OK great! We know the advantages, but what are the disadvantages.  Well there is one major and one minor disadvantage.  The minor disadvantage is that in those rare situations where you can’t figure out how to hide the holes as you build, you need to fill in the holes for finishing purposes.  Not much to complain about compared to all the benefits you get with a pocket hole joint.

The major disadvantage is how hard it can be to create a pocket hole.  As you can see you have to drill a perfect angle.  Too deep and you will come through the other side of the wood.  Too shallow and you will have a weak joint.  Angle is extremely important.  Well lucky for us there is a company called Kreg and they created a perfect pocket hole jig that completely eliminates the main disadvantage.  They create, what we believe to be one of the best jig systems around.  You can now make perfect joints every time.

So now that we know what a pocket hole is, the advantages and the disadvantages, let’s take a closer look at the Kreg K4 jig.  We can see how Kreg makes a prefect and easy pocket hole every time.  The K4 is very easy to use and perfect for anyone especially the Do-it-Yourself market

The Kreg K4 Pocket Hole Jig Review

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As you can see from the top picture, the Kreg Pocket Jig kit comes with everything you need to get started.  First, there is the case.  There is more than enough storage room to carry extra screws or plugs.  Obviously you get the K4 jig, but they also include a drill bit, square driver, dust collection attachment, screws, plugs, spacer, DVD, even the Allen wrench.

When you first take the jig out of the box, we noticed the quality right away.  This is not some cheap jig system.  When Kreg designed it, they designed it with quality.  The base (all the blue on the jig)  is made out of a Nylon glass reinforced material.  The drill guides are made from a hardened steel for longevity.   They built this jig to last.

The first thing we did was screw the toggle clamp to the base.  The toggle clamp is very nice and well designed.  Kreg designed this for all sorts of different wood thicknesses.  All you have to do is loosen the the lock nut and turn the clamp arm to the desired position, very easy to do.  Once you have the right position, the toggle clamps will lock your work piece in place, and it is then extremely sturdy.  While we were screwing the clamp onto the base, we noticed that kreg implemented two ways to secure the base to a work bench.  You can either use their pre-drilled holes to permanently attach this jig to your bench or you can us a clamp which fits nicely into the recess front.  This allows the base to be completely sturdy, but will still allow for portability.

Another nice feature with this jig system is Kreg has put all the measurements  on it.  On the base you can easily set the depth of each drill hole.  On the sides of the base you can set the depth from 1/2″ to 1-1/2″.  All you do is set the drill bit in the cradle, put the point of the tip to the desired depth and you can lock the stop collar in place using a hex tool, which is included in the kit.

Kreg designed this system with a removable drill guide.  So if you are performing an application where the base isn’t feasible, you can remove the drill guide and take the drill guide to your work, such as a drawer repair.  The next step after setting the drill depth is setting the removable guide for the thickness of the wood.  On the side of the guide, there are preset markers that are very easy to use to set the thickness of the wood.  Again, Kreg took out all the guessing work.  Once they are set, clamp the wood in place and you’re set to go.  On the top of the drill guide, there are three holes labeled A, B, C.  Again, Kreg took the guessing work out of the equation.  Use B, C holes for wood that has a width of 1-2″, A, B for 2″-3″ and A, C for 3″-4″.  Hopefully by now you see where we are going.  Kreg has truly designed a dummy proof jig that takes all the work out of pocket holes.   If you are a do-it-yourself type of person, take a look at the Kreg K4.  For the price, you can’t beat it.

As you can see by the video, this is all very easy.  We created our drill holes and attached the two pieces together.  We tried this system on a number of different types of projects such as drawers, a mock up picture frame and some other items to see how this system worked.  We used hardwood and softwood to see if there was any difference.  In the video we wanted to show  softwood so you can see that even with a smaller piece of pine, we didn’t get any splintering or any problems with the joint.

Final Thoughts

Over all this is a great system.   The Kreg K4 was extremely easy to set up and use right out of the box.  Every type of measurement you need is built into this system: the drill stop, board thickness, and even board width.  The clamping of the wood to the jig was a snap and they even thought about clamping the jig to a secure structure so it stays in place when you make your holes.  One great feature is if need be, you can always take the jig to your work without the base and make perfect pocket holes.  If you are looking to work in a saw dust free zone, they have even included the dust collection attachment.  Again, having the right angle on a pocket hole is extremely important.  If you don’t have the right angle, you might as well be attaching your two piece of wood together with gum.  The K4 creates the exact angle each and every time and is designed for the best angle to give the strongest possible holding power.  The K4 is truly a dummy proof way of turning out perfect work each and every time.

If you are looking to create beautiful furniture, cabinetry, picture frames or numerous other woodworking projects, we strongly recommend using the Kreg K4 pocket hole system.  Worth every penny.

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