Carpentry Tool Reviews

How to Use a Kreg Jig to Make Pocket Holes | Tips from the Pros


The Pocket Hole Jig is a brilliant little tool that helps you create joints. We show you how to use a Kreg Jig to make pocket holes perfectly every time. It’s hard to deny the visual appeal of a wedged tenon, tight dovetails, a double bridle joint, or maybe just a simple rabbet joint with different woods. If you’ve yet to develop those skills or you need to quickly create strong joints that aren’t for show, there’s hope for you!

The Cliff Notes

  • Secure the jig
  • Adjust the stop collar
  • Adjust the drill guide
  • Set and adjust the jig clamp
  • Hand-tighten the lock nut
  • Drill!

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How to Use a Kreg Jig Crash Course

Woodworking joinery takes many forms that are as beautiful as they are practical. This Kreg jig helps you make pocket holes that look great and provide a very strong hold for drawers, shelving, and more.

1. Secure the Jig to Your Work Surface

Before you can begin, you need to first secure the jig to your work surface temporarily with a clamp…

How To Use a Kreg Jig to Make Pocket Holes

…or more permanently using the four screw holes in the jig’s body:

How To Use a Kreg Jig to Make Pocket Holes

2. Adjust the Step Bit’s Stop Collar

Adjust the stop collar of the step bit to the material’s thickness using the jig’s gauge (I’m using 3/4-inch material). Be sure to use the shoulder of the bit as the reference—not the tip.

How To Use a Kreg Jig to Make Pocket Holes

3. Set the Drill Guide

Next, you want to adjust the drill guide to match the material thickness. This works along with the stop collar to ensure you achieve the correct drilling depth.

How To Use a Kreg Jig to Make Pocket Holes

4. Set the Jig’s Clamp

After you set the drill guide, you next adjust the jig’s clamp to the material thickness. Each of these adjustments put the bit exactly where it needs to be for a successful pocket hole.

How To Use a Kreg Jig to Make Pocket Holes

…and then hand-tighten the lock nut.

How To Use a Kreg Jig to Make Pocket Holes

5. Drill the Pocket Hole!

As you drill the pocket hole, waste comes out of the bottom of the drill guide. Some versions of the Kreg Jig even include dust collection.

How To Use a Kreg Jig to Make Pocket Holes

For manual systems, clean out the step bit’s flutes if they build up with wood.

custom Kreg drill bit flutes

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That’s All There is to It

Believe it or not, those are the steps. Anyone can make perfect pocket holes with this jig. It just takes a few minutes to set up properly, and you can pretty much automate the process for perfect drawers, shelves, and more.

pocket hole in board

Securing Two Pieces with Pocket Hole Joints

Keep in mind that the screw’s angle of approach will pull the pocket-holed piece at that angle. You need to clamp or secure the pieces together while screwing in order to ensure a properly aligned joint. I typically use a clamp and some bench dogs. You could also use Kreg’s 90° Clamps.

clamping pocket hole pieces

I always recommend using square-drive pocket hole screws. They drive quickly and easily without stripping. Make sure you have the appropriate length and thread type for the material. These are available from Kreg Tool as well.

pulling the pieces together with pocket hole joinery

You can use a drill, but a cordless impact driver on the middle setting works wonders for this type of work.

finished Kreg jig product

That’s how to use a Kreg Jig. Practice a few times on various pieces of scrap material to get the technique down, then have at it! We’d love for you to share the projects you’ve made with us. Happy creating!

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William Wierman

There seems to be a lot of haters for pocket holes but I use mine all the time. I seem to find myself grabbing it more than I thought I would.

Jimmy Riddle

This was a great tool but i tend to use the Massca version as its so much stronger being made from Aluminum.

Tim Dare

To expensive for everything.