Tool Talk #6: My Pocket Hole Jigs

Well over half of the emails sent to me are on the subject of tools. I have no objections to responding to them but I thought it would be beneficial to start a video library of sorts to briefly touch on what I think of a particular tool or set of tools. These won’t be in depth tool reviews as I know very few people are interested in that kind of thing and I really don’t want to go over all the details. Instead I’ll just focus on the things I like about the tool, things I don’t like about the tool, and would I buy it again. I have a huge list of “episodes” that can be made and plan on releasing one per week. Hopefully this will be helpful to some people.

Pocket Hole Jigs

Specifications for the Kreg Mini can be found here: http://amzn.to/1NdJIvO

Specifications for the Kreg K4 can be found here: http://amzn.to/1QxLCJZ

I wrote an article on the Foreman shortly after receiving it. Specifications for the Kreg Foreman DB210 can be found here: http://amzn.to/1NdJS6o

I paid $20 for the Kreg Mini a few years ago. I paid $99 for the Kreg K4 back in 2008-2009-ish. Kreg sent a first production run model of the Kreg Foreman to me at no cost to me.

Kreg Mini:

  • The Kreg Mini is very convenient for repairs or those times when you forgot to drill a pocket hole and remembered after you began assembly and can no longer get the material in a larger pocket hole jig. This jig has been more handy than I thought it would have been.
  • I can’t find anything I don’t like about it.

Kreg K4:

  • I’ve put a lot of miles on this jig in the past six or seven years that I’ve had it. It works today the same as it did when I first got it which tells me it’s durable.
  • The rear clamp can sometimes be inconvenient when working with larger panels but it’s not a deal breaker.
  • I’d definitely suggest mounting the jig to a platform of some kind to add additional material support.

Kreg Foreman DB210:

  • This machine is all about speed. Every one of the pocket hole jigs I’ve used will produce a pocket hole just fine. This machine will as well but much, much quicker.
  • The fence is easy to adjust and has never slipped on me.
  • The drilling depth and clamp depth are both easy to adjust.
  • The motor seems strong enough.
  • Dust collection is great hooked up to a shopvac and surprisingly not bad without a shopvac.
  • It’s easy to change bits. I will say that I’ve broken more bits than what I think should be normal though. Not sure if that is because of user error or just the number of pocket holes that I’ve drilled.
  • I dislike the fact that it’s a right hand only machine. I’m right handed and I’ve found this to be really inconvenient when I have material hanging off the right side of the machine.

Would I buy any one of these pocket hole jigs again?

The Kreg Mini is really convenient and I’ve used it more than I thought I would. Yes, I would buy the Kreg Mini again. The Kreg K4 has taken years of abuse and works the same today as the day I bought it. It’s a good pocket hole jig for a hobby shop. Yes, I would buy the Kreg K4 again. The Kreg Foreman DB210 is all about speed. If I were to go back in time a year or two ago when nearly every project I made had pocket holes in them I would probably buy the Kreg Foreman. If I were to replace my current shop tomorrow I wouldn’t buy the Kreg Foreman without the motivation of a large cabinet job and instead would probably buy the Kreg K4 or look into the Porter-Cable 560. It’s a good middle ground as it gets the job done just fine and I can’t justify the speed of the larger Foreman in my current workflow.

 


 

27 COMMENTS

  1. I’m getting ready to build my miter station. I purchased your plans and will be modeling your design.

    I’m in the market for the Kreg Jig but the Kreg Foreman is a bit pricy for me now. I would consider buying in if I were to build more “big” projects like the miter station, but as with yours, mine would probably be the biggest one I’ll build.

    So my question is, would you get the Foreman over the K5 just to save time for this one big project, or get the K5 to save money since this would be the only one big project you would build?

    Thanks.

  2. Good review. My Kreg pocket hole jig is the K2000. I must have got it around 2000 and it to has seen a lot of use. Like yours, mine still works the same way it did when new and I still use it today. Hard to find fault with a Kreg pocket hole jig for its intended use.

  3. Jay,
    If you want to get rid of your Foreman, I will take it off your hands. :)

    I would like to upgrade to the K5 because it is operated entirely from the front and the clamp auto adjusts. When I am working with bigger panels it is a pain to have to move to the other side to clamp it and then back to drill the hole, repeat as necessary. But I don’t want to spend that much money again when I already have one. I really wish they would do a trade in program where you can trade in your old jig (maybe even other brands) and get the new one at a discount.

    David

  4. I built my kitchen cabinets using the mini jig. Well worth the bucks. Also, do you sharpen the drill bits yourself or do you send back to factory? If you do send to factory where do you send to?

  5. Really enjoying these tool talk videos. Quick question for you about the foreman and K5 and how it handles longer stock. Do you have any experience with using it this way. For example, I do a lot of pocket hole joinery on the ends of a 6-8′ 2×4 parallel to the length of the material. I feel like putting a piece like that horizontally into the k5 would me difficult and im not sure how the support would be on the foreman. Right now I use the R3 clamped at the end of my workbench but its not the fastest option. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the feedback Mark. I’ve cut pocket holes on longer 2×4 boards before with the help of material support. Much easier to handle a long 2×4 than a large plywood panel.

  6. Just a tip on the drivers that come with the jigs. The one you get is machine stamped and doesn’t fit very well in the screw heads. I find unless I have a straight shot at the screw, the driver gives me a hard time slipping. I fixed this problem with a small fine file. I filed the squair part of the driver so it is completely square especially near the round shaft. As it comes, it tapers down so all of the square part doesn’t fit well into the screw.

  7. I cheaped out and got the Harbor Freight version of the K series. At $68 (ITC price), plus 20% off, I couldn’t pass it up.

    Good:
    1- Price. Hands down.
    2- I’ve used it on 3 projects so far – maybe 75 holes and I have had zero issues.

    Bad:
    1- It does not come with driver bits (Got Kreg brand from Amazon)
    2- Even the HF staff state that the bit that comes with isn’t great and may be prone to breaking. Mine hasn’t, but if/when it does, I’ll get a Kreg replacement
    3- No dust collection.
    4- for some reason, the depth collar on the bit has an insanely long screw, to the point that, if using the “top set” of guides (for thinner stock), the screw head will actually hit and tear out your work piece.Just, really bad design.
    5- For 1/4″ stock, you’re supposed to use little feet to get the right angle on the hole. Problem is that when you clamp your piece tight, if using a softer wood the feet leave indents.

    Overall, I still think that, due to my low frequency of usage, the savings were worth the shortcomings. Once I grow a bit, I’m sure I’ll upgrade, but for the occassional use, it works fine.

    All this said without any hands on with Kreg or any other brand – Maybe I just don’t know what I’m missing.

  8. Have a k5 and am very happy with way it works. Have completed several projects and more to come. I love the storage boxes that are attached to the jig, never have to look for the driver and bit ( unless I forget to put them back)

  9. Fyi,for those on a budget, I have the pocket hole jig that Harbour Freight sell, I have run a lot of pocket holes with it and it has held up well. It is all metal. Sells for about $65. 00 plus you can use one of their 20% off coupons.
    Jeff

  10. I bought the K4 for $100. It came with the mini. I bought the corner clamp-well worth it.

    It has more than paid for itself. If I wear it out, they will be up to the K12 by then and I will look into it then!

    Great, straightforward honest review Jay. Keeps me coming back. Thanks.

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