Makes Drilling Pocket Holes a Walk in the Park

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Review by Kelen posted 11-09-2011 11:22 PM 3803 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Average rating: 5.0
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Makes Drilling Pocket Holes a Walk in the Park No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’m sure some may argue, but this has got to be one of the coolest little gadgets I have in my shop. I opted for the mini version 1) for the attractive price tag compared to their pricier systems, and 2) I never really thought I would use that many pocket holes in my projects. Several hundred pocket holes later, I find myself wishing I had paid the extra amount and purchased their more complete system that retails for around $99. The Kreg-Jig mini will do the same job just as good as its more expensive counterpart, the only negative being you can only drill one pocket hole at a time with the mini version. In most applications/joints, not all, it’s usually necessary to drill more than 1 I’ve found. The larger version gives you the option to drill 2 or 3 while not having to reposition the jig on the board you’re drilling.

The Kreg jig system is simple to use and produces a strong joint. Although the company says you do not need to use glue, personally I like to error on the side of using glue (depending on the project) to give the joint some added strength. I know it won’t produce the strength and sometimes the aesthetic look of a mortise and tenon and other types of joints, the speed with which one can join two boards together is quick and easy.

The key to the entire system is the proper setup. When setup properly, the jig will guide the drill bit at the appropriate angle to ensure the pocket hole screw exits the board directly in the center. I use the jig primarily for ¾” stock which based on the instructions that came with it, you line up the end of board flush with the end of the jig. Once your drill bit stop collar is measured to the appropriate distance, simply clamp the jig down to the board and drill a hole. I generally use a simple set of 11” Swivel Pad lock grip pliers from Harbor Freight (around $5) and it does the job just fine. Kreg sells their own sets of locking pliers that complement their systems. Maybe they’re of better quality, but for me, the price was a little too inflated for the purpose. I’ve also had no problems using a basic 6” Irwin quick-grip clamp to hold the jig down while drilling.

Overall, this is a great little tool that for certain applications, I can’t live without. Some projects I opt to fill in the pocket holes (they sell the pocket hole plugs you can glue down and sand down flush) and others I leave them visible. It won’t replace any form of joinery, but it certainly adds another option when building.

View Kelen's profile


270 posts in 3238 days

11 comments so far

View rda327's profile


26 posts in 3490 days

#1 posted 11-10-2011 12:57 AM

Thanks for the review. About a year ago I purchased the Kreg system and now use it for most all my projects. I am always finding that i could use the single hole jig. I think you have made up my mind to purchase one. thanks

-- Roger, Jasper Tn.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6204 posts in 3660 days

#2 posted 11-10-2011 02:11 AM

Of the three kits available, I like the Kreg Jr. kit. It is the middle size jig that has three holes in it, but still allows you to secure your workpiece flat on a workbench for drilling. The large version has you position the workpiece on edge – something I usually try to avoid.
Whenever someone asks me what kind if joinery I use, I say I use it all.
Dados, rabbits, mortise and tenon, dovetails, biscuits, and pocket hole screws. It just depends on the look and application you are after.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Ripthorn's profile


1459 posts in 3832 days

#3 posted 11-10-2011 04:37 AM

I used mine for the first time this last week building a little 3 drawer tool chest for my bench top. I loved it. The joints aren’t perfect, as my wood deicded to do some funny things, but it turned out pretty darned nice. I used it both for the outer casing and for the drawer frames. I like it.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View jeff's profile


1239 posts in 4311 days

#4 posted 11-10-2011 05:10 AM

i have one and its simple to use and has provided good results with my newbie woodworking skills…

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View Bradford's profile


1434 posts in 4669 days

#5 posted 11-10-2011 03:20 PM

If you look at my last post, you will see the project that I used the Kreg jig on. I loved using it. It was so simple and was as tight as glue could hold. I would recommend it it to new woodworkers to get them up and running fast. Then they can build upon their skill base as time progresses.

-- so much wood, so little time. Bradford. Wood-a-holics unanimous president

View ed220's profile


624 posts in 4240 days

#6 posted 11-10-2011 03:24 PM

I’ve used mine on furniture repairs also and it can’t be beat. Makes for a great repair. Have built a couple of tool carts with it ask. Like its strength even without the glue.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3921 days

#7 posted 11-10-2011 04:47 PM

I’m a big fan of Kreg’s Pocket Hole system. However, I seldom use it where the holes will be visible on the final project.

I also use it for construction, as opposed to toe-nailing studs. It is almost as quick and it’s easier to keep the stud in place while you “put the screws to it”. It is also reversible. Yes, you can remove a stud that has been toe-nailed in place, but it is messy.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View knotscott's profile


8385 posts in 4222 days

#8 posted 11-11-2011 01:35 PM

Thanks for a well written review. I’m also a fan of pocket holes, and love the Kreg system. They’re sort of “life changing” the shop anyway. They literally change my joinery choices. Easy and effective. I started with a small double holed Kreg “Rocket”, and was later given a K-Pro3. The Pro system is nice, but most of the time I just use the portable double jig from the Rocket. For anyone who’s not sure about pocket holes but wants to give them a try, the basic $20 jig is a great choice IMO.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View hafassartist's profile


41 posts in 3234 days

#9 posted 11-13-2011 01:57 PM

I would not use it to build a fine heirloom piece of furniture but i do use it to build my face frames for kitchen cabinets it is fast and strong.

View John's profile


341 posts in 4645 days

#10 posted 01-17-2012 08:45 PM

good review; thanks!

i bought this little kit as a supplement to the full K3 system because it was just a couple bucks more than the drillbit by itself – now i have two bits and this little jig which comes in handy for holes i decide to drill (i.e. forgot to drill) during assembly.

-- John - Central PA -

View bmwrider1's profile


15 posts in 3338 days

#11 posted 02-08-2012 08:51 PM

You guys just helped me make up my mind on this one. Right now they are @ 20% off and a $15 rebate what a good price that is.

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