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Review by jeffwedekind posted 03-15-2014 03:47 PM 7849 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
GREAT FEATURES/GREAT VALUE! No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them


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

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148 posts in 3941 days

8 comments so far

View mantwi's profile


312 posts in 3146 days

#1 posted 03-15-2014 05:44 PM

I had always resisted the pocket screw in favor of traditional joinery but a large cabinet job and a tight schedule made me reconsider. I picked up this jig and can’t imagine how the Kreg could do a better job at this very simple operation. The debris is a minor nuisance and I doubt I’d ever need it to join thinner stock so I also heartily endorse this jig. If this is someone’s primary choice for joinery the Kreg might be worth the extra money but for the limited use it will see in my shop the Harbor Freight jig is a fine investment. I like the detail you went into about it’s use and overcoming it’s potential shortcomings. God bless.

View MrRon's profile


6188 posts in 4493 days

#2 posted 03-15-2014 06:59 PM

The most notable thing I see about this product is; it is NOT a copy of a Kreg, but a redesign, this time for the better. I have resisted over the years to go with pocket holes, mostly because my projects never needed a pocket hole type of connection, but as soon as I get a 25% off coupon, I may just go pick one up at my friendly local HF and at the same time pick up a free flashlight or whatever is free at the time.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3939 days

#3 posted 03-15-2014 07:02 PM

Great job on this review with all the pics a details. And you USED it before you reviewed it! Thanks

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View a1Jim's profile


118267 posts in 4826 days

#4 posted 03-15-2014 07:04 PM

Good review very interesting.


View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4481 days

#5 posted 03-15-2014 08:26 PM

Great write up. I did one with a comparison to the General EZ jig and my results are close to yours. It is rare that the Harbor Freight tool is superior to the competition other than in price. This jig is all that.

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

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Craftsman on the lake

3882 posts in 4687 days

#6 posted 03-15-2014 09:23 PM

Sometimes like this I am pleasantly surprised by a Harbor Freight tool. It looks like a good unit. I can’t speak well for the grinders you mentioned though. I use grinders a lot and they usually last about a year under heavy use. I cut a lot of metal for welding. My millwaukee and Dewalt grinders did a lot of hard work but lasted a year before burning out. I purchased three HF ones thinking I’ll use each for awhile then throw them out. Well, each one lasted just about 20 minutes before they began to smoke at the gearbox.
Ironically I then purchased a craftsman with the 3 yr extended warranty. That was 5 yrs ago. Go figure huh?...

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Straightlines's profile


70 posts in 3143 days

#7 posted 10-05-2015 11:12 PM

Good review, thanks for it. Another way to think about the 2 allen screws for thin stock adjustment is that one of my favorite features of this jig is that one only has to set the depth stop one time and then it’s done for all stock, whereas on the Kreg, the depth must be set and reset for any stock thickness that varies from the initial choice. Those to screws are HF’s solution to accomplishing the proper depth on thinner materials.

  • At risk of repeating what may be already known by one and all, I will remind folks that the LJ prescribed method for proper depth setting is to place a nickel under the tip of the bit when it is dropped into the guide bushing, then the stop collar gets dropped into place against the guide bushing and tightened.

-- Cut twice, measure once ... DOH!

View chad515's profile


18 posts in 1283 days

#8 posted 04-24-2018 12:49 PM

Thanks so much for the review. I’m a newbie woodworker, and want to try out pocket holes. This jig looks great, but I found myself thinking maybe I needed to spend the extra money on the Kreg one since it seems like everyone uses them. You’ve helped me feel good about getting this instead.

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