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roxksears 11-21-2009 09:14 PM

Is a pocket jig the way to go?
I was just reading a post by Bueller on the rad covers he built (very nice!) and saw he used a Kreg pocket jig. This is the first time I've seen this tool (I'm a newbie) and I'm intrigued! I went to the Kreg website and watched their videos.

I will be building my fireplace wood surround/mantle soon and had thought I'd connect the arched top center piece (56" wide) of wood to the leg back (10") with dowels. Why dowels? No real reason. I have NO experience with dowels or anything else, I just read/saw where they had connected wood using dowels so I thought that's what I would have to do. Now I'm thinking using the pocket jig would be much easier when handling this large a project and would give me greater precision placement.

I'm okay with buying a tool for this project as long as it is one I'll use again. (any excuse to buy a great new tool is good for me:thumbup:) This Kreg tool looks like something I'd use again - looks handy. Or should I be looking at using something else?

For those of you who have the Kreg pocket jig - which one do you have, is it as easy to use as the video shows?

How would you connect these two pieces of wood? This shows the wood surround design:

TIA! Rox

naehring2000 11-21-2009 10:36 PM

I love my Kreg jig, I found many projects to use it on, I like it because you can take the joint apart easily if you mess something up, and it is an incredibly strong joint, and with their screws its about impossible to split the wood. It's pricey at $100 but a great tool to have.

roxksears 11-22-2009 12:40 AM

Thanks for sharing.

So you use their screws with their jig, right? Can't use regular screws or theirs just works so much better?

There's another Kreg jig - maybe called a master - for $150, the one you have at $100 and another jig jr or something like that for $45. I considered getting the $150 one, but wondered if it was more than I'd need. Do you find yourself wishing you had the master?

Bob Mariani 11-22-2009 06:13 AM

It is more than you need if you never even seen this tool before I would suspect you do not do enough of this type of work to need the whole package. You need to use their screws. The tips keep from splitting the wood and the built in washer head stops the screw from over penetration. It is a tool you should have if you do any woodworking.

KAdams4458 11-22-2009 11:26 AM

I have the R3, commonly known as the Kreg Jig Jr, and I also splurged on their 3" face clamp, since it snaps on to the jig and makes using it a breeze to use. At abour $40 for the jig and $20 for the clamp, I'm happy with what it can do for the money. I'd suggest buying the same stuff if you're unsure about buying the larger and more expensive kits. The promotional videos they have are no lie - these jigs really are that easy to use, and the results are incredible. I intend to buy one of their Master System at some point in the not too distant future. (My Jr. kit will still be useful, too, since it can go places that the benchtop system can't.)

For your project, I'd highly recommend getting one of their right angle clamps, too. I wanted one yesterday, but could not get one locally. Since the project had to go on, I had to fiddle around with clamping the right angle joints together with clamps and scraps of wood. The results were okay, but it took me forever, and I won't make any right angle joints without the special clamp again.

As for whether you'll use it again... These jigs are addictive. You will find future projects to use it on. I bought mine two weeks ago to build a simple computer desk for my wife. Since then, I've not only built the desk, I've repaired a broken Ikea dining table, and built a new workbench for my shop. Next, I'll be building some shelving for my shop and our utility closet, a new base for my sandblast cabinet, as well as tossing together a few picture frames. After that, I'll probably be building something to give to my wife for Christmas.

pyper 11-22-2009 12:38 PM

I have a cheap pocket screw jig that I got at a big box store. I have used it for building all sorts of cabinets, and it's great. The same store sells square drive pocket hole screws. They work great too. You just have to make sure the alignment is perfect prior to driving the screws, because you don't get a 2nd chance. I usually clamp the two parts together with an Irwin clamp, and then drive the screws.

roxksears 11-22-2009 05:41 PM

KAdams, I'm grateful for your reply and will go with the Jr, the clamp and will get a right angle clamp too, as you suggest, and the screws too.

I'm certain there are MANY tools that are out there that would make a project go smoother/eaiser but we don't know they exist, until we see it. I'm so glad to have seen Bueller's post on this tool! I know that I'll use it often!

My assumption on the Master Kreg is that it is geared to be set up on a bench, whereas the Jr is a mobile unit. Am I assuming correctly?

Has anyone used both a 'cheap pocket jig' and a Kreg jig to comment on the comparison? I learned long ago that when it comes to precision type tools the cheaper tool isn't the best way to go. I want to use the best tools I can afford to make the job go more smoothly and to aid me in doing a quality job. I work hard for my money, so I don't want to just spend money to spend money.

What have I done 11-22-2009 05:59 PM

your moving right along with your porjects. I LOVE my kreg jig. Pocket hole joinery is so fast and easy.

remember my floor project? I used the kreg jig to joing the detailed inlay pieces.

Do you have a menards or lowes where your located? they both carry kreg jigs and accessories. they usually have bag sales so you can usually save 15-20%
look forward to seeing more projects!

ArmchairDIY 11-22-2009 06:09 PM

I have the Master set, I think. The one with the bench mount and the mobile setup. Even using it professionally for work I don't use the bench mount option very often. Long pieces are easier to use the more mobile version.

So my suggestion is to pass on the bench mount, unless you know you are going to doing a lot of smaller shorter pieces.

Once you have a pocket hole jig you start to find more and more uses for it.

roxksears 11-22-2009 06:30 PM

WHID, Nice to hear from you! Thanks for the heads up about Lowe's carrying the Kreg jig - good to know! I'm hoping my Lowe's has them.

I have been working my butt off every day for the past 7 weeks. My body hurts terribly but I am so happy with all I've accomplished. I LOVE my floor and get lots of compliments on it. Your words of encouragement really helped me. Thank you!

I've got one more coat of poly to put on the last two doors -- hooray, can't wait to have that refinish job done. It's been a slow go since I can only do two doors at a time in my garage and (with weather)it takes 3 days to do one side with dry time in between the 3 coats of poly. I've gotten my window seat and baseboards refinished and am almost done - one more day - with tiling my fireplace/hearth.

I'll take 2-3 days off in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday with family. There'll be lots of seasonal events happening so probably won't get as much done as I'd like until after Christmas, but HOPING to get the wood surround/mantle done. I will post pics later.

WHID, is there any reason not to use (leftover) Varethane Floor Poly on other wood (non-floor) projects? I ended up with 1/2 gal of Gloss and Satin excess after the wood floor was done. Also, any idea how long it would stay good? I've got three more floors I'll redo in the spring - would it be good that long? My garage is unheated so I'm thinking I'd need to bring it inside over winter (I'm in Michigan), right?

Thanks Armchair, I have a small one car garage that has to share space with a car - imagine that! My little workbench's space is valuable so I don't think I can sacrifice any of its real estate for the Master.... so, it's the JR! Thanks for the clarification! You guys are great with your generous information and help. Rox:)

hayewe farm 11-22-2009 07:52 PM

I have the older K2000 master set. If you are working in your shop get the materset it's well worth the money. Here's the surround I built using the Kreg jig.
Still haven't gotten the doors built for the side cabinets yet.

naehring2000 11-22-2009 10:07 PM


Originally Posted by roxksears (Post 356371)
Thanks for sharing.

So you use their screws with their jig, right? Can't use regular screws or theirs just works so much better?

There's another Kreg jig - maybe called a master - for $150, the one you have at $100 and another jig jr or something like that for $45. I considered getting the $150 one, but wondered if it was more than I'd need. Do you find yourself wishing you had the master?

Yes I use their screws of similar ones meant for pocket holes, As far as my jig vs. the master kit goes, I didnt need all that was there I already had a set of vice grips like the ones they sell, the carrying case is nicer than mine though :).

I just did an oak railing in my house using pocket holes for where the banister joins the newel post, gave me a super strong connection and didn't take much time .

roxksears 11-22-2009 10:49 PM

haweye, Very nice! Lots of hours, I'm certain. You should be very proud:thumbsup:

Hmmm.... so you think the master is the way to go. I was looking at the prices and for $50 more... would I find myself glad I had the extra stuff? Decisions:huh:

I've been thinking of some of the things I've done in the past and am now thinking, dang, if I had that pocket jig it would've gone MUCH better than it did.

There are so many different tools out there. Without seeing them in action or having someone tell you their benefits, I find myself wondering "is this a good tool to have or not".

hayewe farm 11-22-2009 10:58 PM

Remeber about 80% of wood working deals with lumber 4 feet or shorter so having the unit set up on a piece of plywood ready to go will handle most of the needs. I was very tempted to upgrad to the K3 but they wouldn't give me a trade in.

What have I done 11-22-2009 11:14 PM

hayewe----very nice! got some nice ROUTER work there. Had to get that dig in to ROX. You handled a floor sander you can handle a router! :thumbsup:

rox- I too have the master set for kreg. I never mounted the benchmount permanantly as I like to use it on the floor for larger panels. If you plan to make more stuff I would go that route. Search out EBAY also. there are a lot of NEW kregs listed on there sometimes it saves a few $$

Defiantely use your POLY for any woodworking. The Poly that is marketed for floors is basically the same Poly except for dry times. Will work fine on any wood projects.

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