Rocket propelled joinery
Mar 27, 2004 (Updated Mar 27, 2004)
Review by woody2
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Well made, fast, easy, versatile, fun, strong, hidden and a good value.
Cons:There's no storage case supplied.
The Bottom Line: This is a well made device that provides versatile strong joints with the benefit of hidden screws that's is very easy to use.
I received the Kreg "Rocket" pocket jig system as a gift from a woodworking friend. After using it for two projects so far, I can see this tool becoming one of my favorite joinery devices in the shop. It's incredibly versatile, easy and effective for all kinds of joints - face frames, edge joinery, 90 degrees, angles, and I'm sure I'll think of other uses as I use it more. One of the many advantages of the pocket jig is that it doesn't require clamping waiting while waiting for glue to dry like biscuits, dowels and splines do, because the screws provide the clamping pressure. Biscuits do a better job of aligning boards for edge jointing, but are far more cumbersome for angled joinery because of the clamping requirements. Another plus for the Kreg system is that pocket screws will fit into narrow stock where traditional biscuits are too wide.
Recommend this product?
The jig is really easy to set up. It comes complete with the heavy duty plastic jig with metal linings for the drill holes, an extension for longer screws, a specialized drill bit with a stop collar, a hex wrench to adjust the stop collar, a proprietary clamp to hold the jig to the work piece, a 5" long square-head driver bit, and a bag of 1-1/4" square drive screws. It offers adjustments for ˝" to 1-1/2" thick stock. You can set the stop collar on the drill bit to accommodate the length of screw desired depending on the board thickness. For thick boards, the extension is easily added to the jig with two screws that are provided. The instructions are straight forard and easy to follow. Replacement screws are readily available from Kreg suppliers or from typical hardware stores and homecenters where panhead screws are sold.
The jig has a removal lip that's placed over the edge of the wood to ensure proper placement. Just clamp the jig to one of two boards that will be joined and drill. It's hard to miss and the hole is free of tear out and very consistent from one to another. Place the second board in the desired position and tighten down the screws into the holes. There are no visible signs of the holes or screws from the outside of the boards. This particular Kreg model has the capability to do two holes within close proximity of each other for added strength. The pocket screws make for a very sturdy joint, even stronger if reinforced with glue.
Since this was a gift, I'm not certain of the actual price paid. The going rate in most catalogs is around $59. Kreg makes several models from ~ $20 for a basic single-hole jig to much more elaborate and expensive models. I'm very pleased with the results and ease of use of the "Rocket". This is the first pocket jig that I've used, so I don't have any direct comparisons. Wood Magazine did a review of pocket jigs several months ago, and rated the various Kreg models very highly if I recall correctly ("Top Tool" and "Best Buy").
My complaints are few. For the cost of this system it should have come with some sort of carrying case. It has many pieces that are just packed in a disposable clear plastic package that requires destructive techniques in order to get into the package. Once it's out of the package you're one your own. Also, it's not the cheapest pocket jig available, but is very well made and gets excellent results which make it a good value.
I'm finding that for best results, removing the wood chips caused by the drilling process helps give the boards a tighter fit.
If there's a woodworker or carpenter in your life who appears to have everthing, it's worth inquiring whether or not they have one of these. I highly recommend this tool.
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