About Pocket Holes
The Kreg K5 Pocket hole Jig
This is the Kreg K5 Pocket Hole jig. It’s a mid-range priced jig that includes enough features to accomplish most pocket hole task with high quality and consistency. It is easily disassembled for easy storage and can be mounted to a bench or board to create a wide, stable platform. This is the model I will be using for this tutorial where I teach you how to create pocket holes.
The K5 jig uses the same core drill guide that is used in other Kreg jigs. But in the K5 jig it is assembled with a lever-action self adjusting clamp, extension/storage wings to handle wide boards and store your accessories, a fixed/variable removable depth stop, and the standard pocket hole drill and depth guide.
The first step in learning how to create pocket holes is laying out your joint. You need to decide how many screws are required to provide the strength you need, and then lay out the spacing accordingly. Depending on the material you are using, you will have to be mindful of splitting the wood, especially when the screw will be entering close to the edge of the receiving part. Screwing into the edge of any wood increases the risk of splitting, especially when the joint is close to the edge – closer than ~3/4″. It is best to test the joint with the exact spacing to the edge on some off-cuts of the same material you will be using for the piece. The total number of screws in the joint depends on the use of the joint. The possibilities are too numerous to detail out so it’s best to use your judgement, but as a rough rule of thumb a screw every 2 to 6 inches is reasonable.
Setting up the Jig
The next adjustment is the drill length and drill guide height. These adjustments determine the exact position and depth of the pocket hole. First adjust the height of the drill guide as shown in the video below. This unit also had a spacer block affixed to the bottom via two dovetail slides that sets it for 3/4″, since that thickness is used so often. If you want to go thinner that 3/4″ then you need to remove that spacer block before setting it in the jig.
Drilling and Assembly
Now that you know how to setup the jig, you can start producing simple pocket hole joinery in your projects. Here are some useful tips for layout and assembly.
When laying out your project, consider what surfaces will be visible and which will be concealed in the final product. Joints where on face will be concealed either inside, beneath or against a wall are good candidates for using pocket hole joinery.
When laying out your joints, consider the required strength of the assembly. If the joint requires a high degree of strength you can also use biscuits in between the pocket holes. These will add strength and also help with alignment during assembly. Otherwise 2 or 3 pocket screws ever foot is probably a reasonable starting point for most applications. For frames and other narrow assemblies I would suggest 1 pocket screw every 1.5-2″ of width.
When assembling the joint it is a good idea to use clamps to keep the two pieces aligned while the screw is inserted. Otherwise pocket holes can have a tendency to shift the two pieces slightly in the direction of screwing. There are clamps specifically made to fit into pocket holes as shown below. These clamps are also made by Kreg. They can be quite useful for assembling large assemblies, but they are limited is use to where the clamp can actually reach the joint. For example they would work well on a corner joint but not so well on a ‘T’ joint. Depending on the material you are using, I also recommend applying glue to the joint as this will add significantly the the strength of the joint. Although gluing end grain is considered a relatively weak joint, it still adds a lot of strength and stiffness to the joint.
I hope you enjoyed learning how to create pocket holes with a Kreg pocket hole jig. Please contact me with any further questions.