Whether you’re building custom cabinets, DIY furniture, or making repairs around the home, pocket-hole joinery offers strength and simplicity. In this edition of Kreg Plus, we’ll share tips to help you ensure project success.
Choose the Right Jig
For starters, you’ll want to make sure that you’re working with the jig that best suits your project needs. If you work primarily on smaller parts, then a stationary jig that you clamp to a benchtop is a good choice (like the
Kreg Jig® K5 or
K4). With this type of jig, you bring the workpiece to the jig to drill the pocket holes. A Kreg Jig® (K5 or K4) can also
be mounted to Kreg
Mobile Project Center tables.
For larger projects with long or wide parts, a portable jig is a good solution (like the
Kreg Jig® R3). You can also remove the
Drill Guide Block from your Kreg Jig® K5 or K4 for portable use. We demonstrate that feature
in this video.
Kreg Jig® HD is a great solution if you’re working on large projects that use 2x4 and larger boards.
Finally, if you drill a lot of pocket holes, you might want to look into a pocket-hole machine (like the
Kreg Foreman) to speed up your work.
Setting the Jig
No matter which jig you have, you’ll set it up to match your material thickness. The goal is to position the pocket hole so that the screw will exit the piece roughly centered on wood thickness. You’ll find a number of settings for common thicknesses like 1/2", 3/4", 1", etc. Make sure to adjust the stop collar on the drill bit to match material thickness, as well as choose screws based on material thickness. The
Screw Selector Wheel can help you with that. You can also keep a copy of this
free screw chart handy.
Spacing pocket holes evenly across the workpiece is an important part of getting a strong joint. The Kreg Jig® (K5 and K4) features a 3-hole guide that allows you to do this in a variety of workpiece widths. Use the guide above to determine how to position your workpiece.
As you are driving in screws, project pieces can shift. Clamping is the best way to prevent this.
Face Clamps are great for flat assemblies, while the
Right Angle Clamp is a good choice for 90° joints in cabinets and cases. For larger assemblies,
Bar Clamps work well.
Plugging Pocket Holes
If you want to use pocket-hole joinery on a visible area of your project, then plugging the holes is an option. You can buy
plugs in solid wood or plastic. Another option is the Kreg
Custom Pocket-Hole Plug Cutter (works with the Kreg Jig® K5, K4, or K3). The plug-cutting bit allows you to cut plugs to match the wood and the grain of your project parts. After making as many plugs as you need, cut them free using a band saw or hand saw.