Making beautiful wood-based art isn’t just about gluing wooden boards together and calling it a day. A true craftsman is able to produce said art pieces while concealing adhesives and fasteners and producing a seamless surface. So if you’re looking to up your woodworking game, it’s time to consider working with pocket holes.
Although you can make pocket holes by using a normal power drill and a steady hand, why go through the headache when you can get an awesome pocket hole jigIn this article, we’re going to take a look at the K4 pocket Hole System from Kreg – a simple yet practical tool that simplifies the pocket hole drilling process.
The first thing we noticed is that construction of the K4. Every part of the unit painted in blue is made of glass-filled nylon. First-time buyers and –users may not feel the importance of durability when it comes to pocket hole jigs. but just remember: you’re inserting the bit of a high-speed drill or impact driver. Vibrations are typically what can ruin a pocket hole jig, and we’re glad to report that the K4 is extremely durable.
However, one thing we’ve noticed is the very large possibility of accidentally driving the drill bit into the base of the tool. Being made of glass-filled nylon, this probably won’t destroy the tool or hamper its performance in any way, but it could potentially ruin the bit and/or your workpiece. Exercise caution when setting this jig up.
Steel Drill Bit Guide
In the drill guide, we can see that the hole where the drill bit is inserted is lined with hardened steel. This essentially prevents the drill bit, if inserted improperly and turned on prematurely, from causing extreme damage to the tool. Obviously, you shouldn’t turn the drill on until the bit is properly inserted into the hole, but this is still a pretty neat safety feature.
1/2- to 1-1/2-inch Board Thickness
The K4 is able to accommodate boards with a thickness of between ½ to 1-1/2 inches. After securing the jig to your workbench by using the clamping recess, all that’s left to do is adjust the sliding drill guide to the desired thickness. This is done by following the markings on the side of the guide. After that, secure guide with the provided brass pin.
Humungous Clamping Recess
The recess clamp is the clamp found on the base of the unit. This keeps the workpiece in place while the drill guide assists the bit in penetrating the edge of the board at an angle. The oversized clamping recess makes clamping boards in place tremendously easy. By pushing the lever down, there’s no way a drill bit moving at a reasonable rate will ever cause the piece to vibrate.
Risk of Marring
Continuing with the previous point, the humungous clamp makes tightening your workpiece a simple process, but what some customers have experienced is that the clamp is a bit too tight. We never thought this would be a problem, but we can see how the clamp can create tiny dimples on the surface of a board is a real risk. This can be eliminated by placing a thin cloth between the workpiece and the clamp, but this also reduces the tool’s thickness capacity.
Less-than-Satisfactory Drill Bits
The K4 comes with a 6-inch steeped drill bit and a 6-inch square driver bit. They have hex sockets so your drill or impact driver needs to have a hex chuck to utilize these bits. However, many customers – us included – have found that the bits are a bit on the flimsy side. Without battering the bit too much, the steeped drill bit ended up bending a bit, making it almost impossible to insert inside of the drill guide.
Chip and Dust Relief Hole
More often than not, the biggest headache of using a pocket jig is not installing and drilling but rather cleaning up afterwards. Pocket jigs typically trap copious amounts of sawdust and chips inside of the drill guide, but this isn’t the case with the K4. This jig comes with a dust relief hole where residue can fall out unobstructed, allowing you to drill for longer and deeper.
The K4 pocket hole system comes with a depth collar that’s specifically designed to fit around the circumference of these the included drill bits. Assuming that the bits don’t bend on you like ours did, installing the collar is a cinch. Simply insert the bit through the collar and tighten the collar with the Allen wrench.
One problem we found was that with extended use, the collar would end up becoming unfastened, thus leading to potentially inaccurate pocket holes. The solution is simple: keep a close eye on the collar and make sure that it’s always tightened prior to drilling. Admittedly, this is annoying, and we wish that Kreg would have paid a bit more attention on the collar’s construction.
Handy Skill-Builder DVD and Quick-Start Guide
To make the pocket jig even easier to use, Kreg tossed in a free DVD and booklet in the kit for customers to look through. The video shows how to set up the pocket hole system, how to align the boards to the right drill hole, how to attach the collar (we followed the steps, but the collar still comes loose every now and again), and how to drill pocket holes. If you don’t have experience assembling and using a pocket hole jig, we highly recommend you watch the video tutorial and/or read the booklet thoroughly.
We found that the K4 pocket Hole System from Kreg is a pretty neat tool. Assuming the tool hasn’t been damaged during shipping, the K4 is sure to last for several years, offering the ability to produce accurate pocket holes every time. Of course, there are a few drawbacks to this system, namely the risk of marring your workpiece, the disappointing steeped and driver hex bits, and the loose depth collar. But overall, we’d recommend this tool to anybody who’s looking for a durable, reliable pocket hole system.
- 3-hole drill guide for pocket holes
- Large clamping recess to secure your jig
- Removable drill guide guarantees you'll have the right tool
- Drill guide block doubles as a repair tool