If there was one jig I’ve come to love and wish I’d bought sooner, it has to be the Kreg K5 Pocket Hole Jig System. It not only makes furniture building easy, but actually kind of fun. That being said, jigs are simple to use once you understand how they work, so if you are new to the system or looking for a quick tutorial on how to use the K5 – this is for you.
When all is said and done, each time you pull out your Kreg K5 Jig, remember these steps:
- Set the drill guide to the thickness of your board (if changing thickness)
- Re-Calibrate your drill bit to the right depth (if changing thickness)
- Reset your clamp to the board thickness (if changing thickness)
- Select the right screw
Sounds easy, but it’s actually so easy that chances are anyone who’s owned this has made a mistake in step 1 or 2. This will lead to the screws piercing through your boards, which can obviously be a blow to your perfectly measured working pieces.
Let’s get started. (Sorry for the mess, I was working on a different project while snapping these photos).
- Set the thickness of your board on the jig. You’ll notice there’s a little toggle to the right with a pull out spring. Simply pull this and raise the drill guide to match the thickness of your board. In this example, I was working with 1.5″ thick boards.
- Recalibrate your drill bit (only when changing working material thickness). Use the cheat sheet located inside one of the provided side containers to determine your screw length. It’s really is a very well designed reference guide. You can see my 1 1/2″ material thickness equates to a 2 1/2″ inch screw.
- Grab the provided drill bit, and loosen the stop collar with the again provided allen key. So easy.
- Grab the provided setting block and locate 2-1/2 Screw length. Place this inside your jig where the drill bit can rest on.
- Tighten the collar which will act as a stop to ensure your pre-drill stops at the desired depth everytime.
- Reset the Clamp (if required), by pressing the grey release and moving the ratcheting clamp tight to your work piece. Then use the black handle lever and lift up – you’ll hear 2 positive clicks, at which point you can press your handle back down and lock your piece in place. Insert your dust collection nozzle into the swivel port and you’re ready to go.
- Choosing your spacing. You’ll notice there are 3 holes for you to use in the drill guide. These are so that you can space out your holes accordingly. In this scenario, since I was working with a 3 inch width, I used A and C. On longer pieces, I just use any of the holes as you need to release the clamp and shift the working material anyways.
- Finished pocket holes. Beautiful isn’t it? Note the wood I’m using is from scraps when I did a deck teardown earlier in the year. I’m hiding the ugly face on the inside, so they won’t be seen.
Extension Wings. You’ll notice the side compartments click into the main drill guide and resemble wings on both sides. What this does is create a level surface reaching out both sides allowing you to place and balance wider work pieces.
Work Piece Stop. I don’t really use this since I always try to hide my pocket holes on the inside. However, if you have multiple repeat cuts that are visible, it’s nice to have them set at the same distance across all pieces. This block clicks into your drill guide and acts as a stop for your working piece.
Select the right screw. Kreg has really thought of it all. Inside their little screw kit, they’ve also provided a quick reference guide to screw selection. Basically what you are looking for is:
- Length (obviously)
- Coarse vs Fine Thread (soft vs thick material), and
- Interior vs Exterior (Grey vs Blue).
In my working case, I needed 2 1/2″ exterior screws, since I’m working on an outdoor project. You are now ready to assemble everything. Just line up your joints and screw them in place during assembly. There are a million ways to do this (Kreg has a ton of jigs which I don’t yet own), but I’ll save that for another day.
If you are new to DIY or plan to do furniture building, this jig system has moved into my list of must haves as it creates a strong bond on hidden joints and saves a ton of time. As we continue to explore new tools and ways to do old things, I hope to compile a list of basics that anyone can start off with. Absolutely love it.
Now go get one!
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