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New tools for a new project: Kreg Jig and Router Bit

It's not that I think of new projects as reasons to buy new tools. As you know, it's not hard to find reasons to buy new tools. I was thinking about making this dog bench and the best way to do it. I had read a lot of the Kreg Pocket Hole Jig and figured I would give it a shot. I got a good deal on the Master System from Rockler and I have been very pleased with it so far. I'll try to get an official review up soon but for an unofficial review I'd say 5 stars.

It is very important to clamp the pieces properly when using the jig. The vise clamp comes with the system the others are ones I already had. I didn't use any glue because the screws make it rock solid. It's also nice to be able to take it apart in the event of a mistake which I had the occasion to test.

Another key to using the Kreg system is to drive the screws slowly. When I was testing on some scrap pieces, I had problems with the wood splitting. I was trying to drive the screws like you might drive a drywall screw into the wall. The thing to remember with Kreg is that the hole is mostly pre-drilled and the screws themselves are self-tapping. Driving them slow worked the best for me and of course you want to make sure you have the correct screw for you application.

You can't always buy new tools when you need them and I just didn't have clamps that were long enough to reach the whole way. I just combined two of my clamps which held it well enough to drive the screws.

Another new tool (or tool accessory) I got was a 1/2" rabbeting bit. Previously I had cut rabbets with two cuts on the table saw. It was hard to get setup properly and I didn't always like how it turned out. This is also the first bit I got with the 1/2" shaft for my new router.

I cut a 1/2" x 1/2" rabbet in red oak in two passes and it was extremely clean.

That's all for now. I'm still working on taking more pictures while I am working on the project. My next entry will be pictures of the finished product as soon as I get around to taking them.

As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.
Ted, I've used the Kreg extensively and love it! I noticed you've made a lot of frames in past projects, so the Kreg will certainly become one of your favorite tools quickly.

One thing I noticed is your extensive use of clamps. Did you do this prior to screwing it together? I've had very good results with using just the one clamp provided. Once I've got one joint screwed, I just went to the next one. Because the screws pull the joint tight, I didn't see a need for pre-clamping the frame prior to screwing it up. It should square itself up perfectly without pre-clamping the entire frame. This tip will save you a ton of time.

Get this. I know a fellow who uses glue on his pocket hole joints, then, after the glue dries, he removes the screws to use on another project! Talk about being thrifty!! I guess that's why he's the richest woodworker in town!
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