which kreg pocket joiner works best to build cabinets?

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Forum topic by Winny94 posted 03-16-2018 02:13 AM 921 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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23 posts in 1219 days

03-16-2018 02:13 AM

Are the k4 or k5 stable enough when clamping in large cabinet sides? Any recommendations as to which jig to get? I’m planning out a summer kitchen remodel, so the cost between each model can be negated by a little patience

6 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4426 days

#1 posted 03-16-2018 02:25 AM

You don’t have to balance every panel on
edge. You can lay the panel flat and clamp
the jig to it.

Probably any jig will work fine for the holes.
The Kreg cabinet assembly clamps are useful.

View clin's profile


1113 posts in 1774 days

#2 posted 03-16-2018 03:13 AM

I have the K5 and it works fine for cabinet panels. I mounted mine to a piece of plywood. I then can clamp the plywood to the workbench.

You may want to put something to hold the end of the panel up when drilling near the other end. I’m pretty sure I simply applied brute force to hold the panel down when drilling near the end of a panel. If this isn’t clear, what I’m saying is if the piece is long enough that the center of the piece is off the end of the extensions, it will want to tip.

As far as vertical stability, it was no problem. The clamp is quite secure, and of course the panel will be pretty well balanced on edge. Though I’m sure I kept one hand on the panel, with the other running the drill.

Bottom line, no problem drilling larger panels. And the K5 is much faster than using the smaller Kreg guide that clamps to the work. The vacuum attachment is VERY help. Keeping it hook up to a shop vac not only gets 99.99% of the chips, so there’s little cleanup, it also helps to clear the chips from the hole making drilling faster. And you make a lot of chips with these.

Also, the K5 has the clamp handle on the front. I think the K4 has it in back, so you would have to reach around the work. This would be very hard to do when working with large panels.

I built all my shop cabinets this way and they came out well. However, I would likely use more traditional construction if I did it again. Things like dados and rabbets. It’s not that the final product isn’t just fine. Rather, it can be really hard to hold things in position when assembling.

Because the pocket screws go in at an angle, they naturally pull the pieces together at an angle. So while it might be perfectly flush to start, as the screw tightens, it will pull it out of position. Some people try to anticipate this and start slightly offset. I even have a set of those right-angle Kreg clamps. They help, but are not perfect. I must say though, I was using pre-finished plywood, and the surface was very slick. I’m sure it wouldn’t move nearly as much with unfinished surfaces.

The thing about dados and rabbets is it give you a positive surface to align things. And I think I could probably cut dados and rabbets as fast or faster than drilling all the pocket holes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying using pocket screws is a dumb or bad idea. But they have their own set of pros and cons like every other technique.

-- Clin

View cracknpop's profile


427 posts in 3127 days

#3 posted 03-16-2018 03:21 AM

Have built several cabinets with my Kreg K4 and R3 jigs. I found it quicker and easier to use the R3 on larger panels, especially when using it with auto-adjusting face clamp.

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

View Woodknack's profile


13399 posts in 3158 days

#4 posted 03-16-2018 04:08 AM

I bought the Porter Cable and am very glad I did. I haven’t written a review on it yet but here’s a thread discussing all 3.

-- Rick M,

View John_'s profile


251 posts in 2484 days

#5 posted 03-16-2018 04:23 AM

I was going to say to take a look at the Porter Cable also. It has some nice features that make it worth the extra price

View Rich's profile


5628 posts in 1368 days

#6 posted 03-16-2018 04:54 AM

If, like me, you work mainly with 3/4” material, then you don’t need all of the fancy adjustments. I have a Kreg K2 (how’s that for old) that works fine. It’s solid cast aluminum with steel sleeves and has done the job for 25 years-plus. Working with one thickness means no adjustments to the jig.

I clamp it to the bench, and I use a 24 inch ruler on each side to space the pockets. There’s no need for precision, I just want them to be close. The only thing clunky about the K2 versus the newer ones is that the clamp handle is in back, so once the board gets longer than maybe 36”, you have to walk around back to clamp it. That’s OK though, I’m old and need the exercise.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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