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When you want to join one piece of wood to another at a shallow angle, what you need is a pocket hole joint.  They’re strong, and if you’ve got the right jig — like the K3 from Kreg — they’re simple to construct.  While there are lots of pocket hole jigs on the market, we like the K3 because it’s small and portable and because you can drill up to three holes without repositioning it.

Using it is easy: the three-hole guide block slides into a portable housing that clamps to your workpiece in a variety of configurations via an included face clamp.  The clamp locks onto the backside of the tool to create a mobile “clamping station” for use for drilling large panels, but you can also mount it vertically to your workbench with screws to create a more permanent station for production work.  The K3’s height is adjustable, too, so you can position its screw easily in the material, selecting a thickness from 1/2” to 1-1/2” in 1/8” increments.

Street pricing starts at around $139.

K3 Pocket Hole Jig [Kreg]
Street Pricing [Froogle]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

From Comments: “The hot tip for those who want to use pocket-hole joinery: grab the screws when you see them on sale.  Believe me, you can never have enough of every size.  Buy them in the hundreds if you can!” — TourPro


10 Responses to Pocket Hole Joinery Made Easy

  1. TourPro says:

    Me, I like the mini-jig for its size and convenience.

    The hot-tip for those that want to use pocket-hole joinery – grab the screws when you see them on sale. Believe me, you can never have enough of every size. Buy them in the hundreds if you can!

  2. nrChris says:

    I use the Kreg bench clamp system–rout the little plates into the surface of your workbench and you can hold just about anything flush to your bench. Great for sanding and edge routing.

  3. Bill says:

    “When you want to join one piece of wood to another at a shallow angle,”…

    Just a word of wisdom, pocket hole joinery is not used for joining wood at shallow angles. Most pocket hole joinery is used to join wood at right angles. Say, a face frame to a cabinet, or joining the sides of a cabinet.

  4. Sean O'Hara says:

    Good catch Bill, That should have been drill holes at a shallow angle.

  5. Michael W. says:

    For a less expensive foray into pocket joinery, Kreg also makes the R3 jig that lists for $44.99 (seems to be readily available online for $39.99). It doesn’t come with the nifty Kreg clamps and isn’t as versatile as the K3, but for the casual or occasional user it’s a good buy.

  6. Roscoe says:

    I’ve had pretty good luck using pan head sheet metal screws with my jig in pine and some plys, but for hardwoods, I can’t find a substitute for the Kreg screws.

  7. james b says:

    After breaking the tapered end off two of those high dollar drill bits I’m not a big fan of these. And despite my best clamping efforts during drilling, when I tighten the screws the pieces offset and have to be planed/sanded flush on the face side. The joint is mechanically sound, and much better than trying to glue end grain to cross grain, but I still prefer mortise and tenon.

  8. Warden Streets says:

    I love the mini jig. I bought one on a lark, and wound up looking for projects to build with it. I agree with the criticism that getting the pieces to line up when you’re putting together can be a challenge, but I still think its great. Its another one of those ‘small workshop’ great finds. If you don’t have the space, skill or time for a full-on mortise and tenon job, this is a solid alternative. I”m looking forward to building more stuff with mine.

  9. The Nov 2006 issue of Wood magazine had an interesting article “Wood joint torture test” where they tested various joints (including pocket-hole joinery). I just looked and they have a video of how they did the tests:


  10. Roscoe says:

    James, I’ve found that my pocket holes work best when I leave everything clamped tightly while securing with screws, else, things move. Kreg even makes some clamps that will pull a piece tight using a pocket hole next to the one being screwed.

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