The Best Pocket Hole Jig; Complete Reviews And Buyer’s Guide
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Woodworking and Carpentry are age-old crafts that have stood the test of time and ultimately evolved into the modern day art/discipline or practice if you may. Wood is among man's oldest building materials. It is no surprise therefore that wood has, in fact, remained as popular in the 21st century.
The tools involved in woodwork and carpentry come in all manner of sizes, shapes, and descriptions. The influence of scientific and technological advances has been influential on tools used in carpentry and woodwork. The pocket hole jig is one such case. This article aims to demystify this tool, explore the advantages and shortcomings of using one, a brief history of the same and what to consider when purchasing the best pocket hole jig.
What Is A Pocket Hole Jig?
A pocket hole jig is a woodworking tool used to join separate pieces of wood by drilling holes at a 15-degree angle. A self-tapping screw is then used to hold the two pieces together. The technique is popular with professional furniture manufacturers as it allows the carpenter to hide any visible screws. This results in the perfect front face joints on any project, furniture or otherwise. Pocket hole jigs are a must have a tool in every woodworking or carpentry workshop.
Aesthetics are quite important especially in fine woodworking and furniture assembly. Therefore, it is recommended to have a pocket hole jig just as you would not lack a miter sled or a miter gauge. An example of simple projects that a pocket hole jig come in handy is making face frame joints on cabinets and drawers, fastening picture frames and so much more. Whether for DIY or professional use, there are numerous pocket hole jig models available to suit both the pros and amateur carpenters as well.
How It Works
Joining two or more pieces of wood can be as a skill much as it is an art. Beautiful joinery gives furniture character and definition. This is the basic reason why pocket hole jigs are as important in a woodworking shop as any other implement or power tool. The working mechanism of a standard pocket hole jig is fairly simple. A stepped drilling bit is positioned at a 15-degree angle; or as is deemed necessary, providing a space into which a self-tapping screw of pre-determined size fits into.
The angle at which the drilling bit is positioned allows for increased mechanical strength at the joint between working pieces. This essentially allows the joint and the two pieces of wood to stay straight and level. The self-tapping screw eliminates any splitting. The addition of glue increases the joints strength.When joining working pieces, it is generally advisable to follow the following set of guidelines;
Step1: Make sure to use the correct size of the crew for the task at hand. This ensures that you avoid splitting the working wood pieces while keeping the top end of the screw from sticking above the surface.
Step2: When drilling, it is recommended to proceed slow and ensure that the jig is securely fastened. Otherwise, the drill bit can easily "wander" on the wood destroying the whole thing.
Step3: When attaching the joints together, it is an excellent idea to use a clamp to keep the parts flush.
All woodworking or carpentry projects entail joining pieces together at one point or the other. It is, therefore, a no-brainer that you will need a pocket hole jig at some point. The advantages of using pocket holes to join wood pieces are;
The thing about pocket holes is that you do not need a handful of clamps to hold the pieces together. Simple screws are as effective.
For non-professional uses, pocket hole jigs eliminate the need to purchase expensive specialized equipment such as dovetail jigs and biscuit joiners. Power tools and particularly ones associated with carpentry and woodworking produce massive amounts of dust and debris. With pocket hole jigs, this is not a major concern.
What To Consider When Shopping For A Pocket Hole Jig
All pocket hole jigs perform the same basic function. However, slight differences in design, functionality and other technical aspects set apart the different brands and models. Being aware of the particulars concerning your woodworking project can often help shape an opinion into which particular jig model to settle for. As mentioned, pocket hole jigs are available for both professional and home DIY uses.
1. PRICE CONSIDERATIONS: Different woodworking tools manufacturers have different price points on various models and designs of pocket hole jigs. The main idea however is, an averagely priced jig will perform pretty much the same task an overpriced model will. A few extra bucks won’t make much of a difference. Cheap jigs are a different story on the other hand. This could spell out quality and durability concerns.
2. MATERIAL USED TO BUILD THE POCKET HOLE JIG: The choice of material used to build a pocket hole jig has everything to do with how durable a particular model is and consequently its service life. Models can either come in stainless steel or aluminum.
3. ACCESSORIES: The ideal pocket hole jig should typically be accompanied by a handful of accessories which may range between bits, wrenches, clamps and so on. Most include a screw sizing kit which is important in determining the correct size of screw to use in order to avoid damage to the working pieces.In the segment below, I have sampled a compilation of some of the top five pocket hole jigs currently available on the market. I have highlighted certain strengths and weaknesses of each brand to better help in formulating a clear choice.
Which Is The Best Pocket Hole Jig That You Should Buy?
1. Kreg K5 Pocket-Hole Jig
The Kreg K5 is a high-quality pocket hole jig that has received a lot of acclaim for both its features, functionality, and design. This model is popular with both professional and basic DIY users. This model is among the newer versions of Kreg’s pocket hole jig line. The Kreg K5 Pocket-Hole Jig offers a whole lot of new and exciting features that make home improvements or pro tasks much easier to accomplish. The K5 incorporates features such as dust collection which isn’t common with most other members of its class.
- This product comes equipped with a Drill Guide Block for fast and easy setup. A quick-release pin is incorporated into the jig’s design and is meant to hold the drill block in position.
- The K5 comes equipped with a front-mounted clamping handle that is connected to a handy ratcheting clamp. This allows the operator to clam the working material without the need for extra tools.
- The dust collection feature on this model is perhaps the best feature on this pocket hole jig. Working with wood involves a large amount of dust and debris which poses respiratory health risks. A dust collection feature certainly makes everything better.
- Stainless steel is used to build this jig making it durable and strong enough to handle any type of task ranging from the simple DIY to professional woodworking tasks.
- This model requires a bit of experience with other Kreg products.
- The price tag on this Kreg K5 product is a little high.
2. Kreg Jig K4 Pocket Hole System
The K4 is a top of the line pocket hole jig designed and built from durable materials. It is a small yet powerful jig that is popular with most woodworking professionals. The jig is suitable for both lightweight and heavy duty professional uses.
The Kreg brand is famous for this particular line of woodworking tools and therefore the quality is top notch. A particularly handy feature of the Kreg K4 Jig is the removable drill guide. By simply unscrewing the brass pin and then sliding out the guide, you can clamp or screw the drill guide virtually anywhere you need to make pocket hole joints.
- This model features large clamping recess that allows the user to properly secure jig.
- This model is accompanied by a handy drill guide block for efficient and fast set up.
- A removable drill guide alongside an inbuilt quick release mechanism ensures that the operator has the right tool necessary for specific projects.
- This jig requires some level of expertise to operate. Damage to working materials and the jig itself has been reported where inexperienced users have attempted to use this model.
3. Kreg K4MS Jig Master System
A second Kreg jig makes its way onto our list of top five pocket hole jigs. The reg brand is renowned for the quality of jigs manufactured. Much so, is the fact that a majority of best-selling jigs currently available on the market are Kreg-made? This model boasts an array of features that make it quite popular with novice and pro operators.
- This model allows for the easy adjustment of the settings for every 1/8-inches. This is mostly with materials 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in thickness.
- The Kreg K4MS comes equipped with a dust collection mechanism that reduces wood chips, dust and debris making the workspace cleaner compared to most other jig models.
- The K4MS boasts a large clamping arm that makes it easy for various clamp styles to secure the pocket hole jig onto the workbench. This eliminates the need invest in specialized one.
- This model requires some level of experience to get work done effectively.
4. PORTER-CABLE 560 QUIKJIG Pocket-Hole Joinery System
The Porter Cable 560 set itself apart from most pocket hole jigs by design quality and the features. The Porter Cable 560 is a large and hefty jig no doubt. This, however, doesn’t mean it is too bulky or cumbersome to maneuver around. The jig is primarily built out of aluminum, steel, and ABS plastic accessories. The jig also contains an onboard storage space for the pocket hole drill bits and depth stop and two square drive bits of varying length. The jig also brings along in the same package a hex wrench for setting the depth stop on the cutting, an assortment of screws, drill bits and a locking- clamp for holding two work pieces flush when screwing them together.
- This model features a screw selector guide that automatically adjusts to the work pieces’ thickness. This removes the aspect of guesswork resulting in precise and detailed joints.
- The 560 incorporates an effective dust removal mechanism that keeps the working space free of dust and wood debris.
- The materials used in this jigs assembly render in highly portable which is a good thing, especially with professional users.
- The incorporation of plastics and aluminum in the 560’s design raises serious durability concerns.
5. General Tools 850 E Z Pro Pocket Hole Jig Kit
The General Tools 850 EZ Pro pocket hole jig is a sturdy and versatile woodworking jig designed to meet durability and functionality expectations. The jig features an all-metal body as opposed to the inclusion of plastic parts in most other jig models. This particular model is an upgrade over the 849 also from General Tools that was as equally popular. The jig is designed to be portable and mounting on benchtops is made possible by the inclusion of a handy clamp.
- The 850 EZ comes in a tough and durable carrying case that allows efficient storage of the jig and its accompanying accessories.
- The all metal design is the ultimate guarantee for durability and long service life.
- This jig is relatively easy to mount and operate. This makes the jig quite popular with novice operators.
- Self-tapping screws further add to the versatility and ease of use of this jig model.
- This model does not have a dust collection feature.
Kreg K5 Is The Best Pocket Hole Jig
It is no secret or surprise that the Kreg brand reigns supreme in the area of pocket hole jigs. All models featured on this list offer great returns for your money and are worth a try. However, the Kreg K5 is the best pocket hole jig. It combines aspect of dust collection, durable design and professional appeal perfectly. This model is built to withstand both lightweight and heavy duty uses.
Pocket hole jigs are a must have addition to any woodworking endeavor; professional or simple home maintenance. Picking the appropriate one for your specific needs can be a little challenging. For beginners, it is advisable to seek the advice of tool dealers and expert reviews prior to making a pocket hole jig purchase.I sincerely hope that you found this article enlightening. It was as fun to me as it was a learning experience. Feel free to share your comments, thoughts or suggestions in the space provided below. All the best!