Jan 17, 2018

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Why You Definitely Need a Pocket Hole Jig System

Kreg Jib Pocket Holes

Joining wood can be as much art as it is skill, and beautiful joinery really defines a piece of furniture. But for the times when you just need to quickly join a few pieces of wood securely, try using pocket-hole made with a Kreg Jig tool.

A few years ago, I picked up a small single-hole Kreg Jig for drilling pocketholes. It was simple, easy to use, and produced a nice strong joint that made completing projects much faster. Since then, I've used that small jig for at least a dozen projects, from end tables to shop-made cabinet doors and it's dependably provided a fast joint that holds up well over time.

Pocket Hole Kreg Jig and Step Bit

The way a pocket hole works, is fairly basic. A stepped bit is positioned at an angle to provide a recess that a special self-tapping screw fits into. The angle allows for a strong mechanical joint between pieces that stays level and straight. The self-tapping screw minimizes splitting, and adding a bit of glue makes the joint impressively strong.

Pocket Hole Screws

Using this technique, joints can be made fast and strong so putting together than next weekend project won't actually take an entire weekend. A few tips when working with pocket holes:

1. Start drilling slow, and make sure the jig is secured, otherwise the bit can "wander" on the wood.

2. Use the right size screw for the job to avoid splitting the wood and to keep the top of the screw from sticking out from the surface. Also, the screws have a square head so make sure you have bits to match.

3.  When screwing the joints together, it's best to use a clamp to keep the parts flush. Check out this pocket-hole specific face clamp.

4. The Kreg Jig System has single, double, and full clamp jigs to make drilling the holes fast and easy. If you're investing in a new system, take a look at the options to find one that will grow with you and your projects. 


Kreg Pocket Hole Jig

 ManMade Recommended Kreg Jig 

Do you love or use the Kreg Pocket Hole system? Tell us about it in the comments below





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Josh on Jan 18, 2017:

I borrowed a friend's K5 system to build a media console for my living room. Enjoyed it so much, I dropped the $150 on the K5 Master System for myself. Made quick work of a lectern project for my classroom and should serve me well for years to come. I think it's my gateway drug to woodworking.

Kelly Corey on Jan 18, 2017:

I got a jig last year, and when I first started using it I was very pleased with how quick and easy it was to make strong-ish joints. I also finally bought a plate joiner and after using that, realized that pocket holes have their place, but might end up limiting your choices. I personally am going to consciously avoid making pocket holes my go-to, and explore as many wood joining options as my (developing) skills will allow.

Jeremy on Jan 17, 2017:

Best $40 I've spent on DIY stuff. Helped make my first project, a patio table for our new house, look so much better than it probably should have. And it's been used constantly on most projects (sandbox, console table, garage shelves) since then. Easy to figure out, I'm so glad I have mine.

Anonymous on Feb 26, 2016:

Quickscrews make good quality pocket hole screws. You don't have to use Kreg brand screws.

Peta on May 26, 2015:

A Kreg jig is worth it's weight in gold. How easy life becomeswith one. I am starting to think this site and I have a psychi connection. Just as I need information, amazingly it aooears on this screen. Not complaining. Just wondering.

David on May 23, 2015:

@Ramon,  check out the screws on amazon. I found a large kit there for about $25.

Dee on May 22, 2015:

I Purchased one of the Kreg Jig Systems several years ago and LOVE it... It is one of the most useful little gadgets I have ever bought,,,, I bought screws from Home Depot that are the exact same as the ones that come with the Jig

Ramon Mata on May 21, 2015:

What about the alternatives for the screws, as far as I know (or at least the seller told me) you can only use Kreg screws only, and here in my country (Mexico) is easy to get the reig, but is hard to find the screws.

Chris on May 20, 2015:

@Romulo - Actually, it's not a sponsored article. We just really like these tools for simple, but secure, joinery.

At $20 - $40, this system is a steal. We'd much rather focus on building actual projects with a pocket hole system, than spend several hours trying to come up with an alternative solution. Kreg has nailed it with this - why waste time trying to "reinvent the wheel" here? This IS a web site about how to do stuff, so we'd rather actually make something than create a less successful system that will wear out with repeated use.  

Rômulo Lage on May 20, 2015:

I think you should show us how to make a DIY pocket hole sistem. I know it's a sponsored article but this is a website about how to do stuff. Anyway, love the site. Bless!

David on Jan 12, 2015:

Jacob, there definitely is a learning curve, the most important things I would say is keep the pieces for the joint flush and flat while connecting them with a clamp for a nice clean assembly. Also, be sure to use the right screws, the lack of threads on the top section of a pocket hole screw below the head allows the joint to be pulled together nicely.

Jacob on Jan 10, 2015:

I definitely need to spend some more time learning how to use mine.

Nathan on Jan 07, 2015:

The Kreg jig is manufactured right down the road in good'ol Huxley, Iowa. Bam!