I purchased a Kreg Mini Pocket hole jig (also known as the “Kreg Jig Mini”) to help assemble a piece of furniture and I love it already.
Kreg Jig Mini Review
In the course of building my first ever piece of furniture, a night stand sized for my son’s toddler bed, I realized a few things. First, I have no idea how to build furniture. Second, I definitely needed one of these: a Kreg mini pocket hole jig. Kreg also refers to this product as the “Kreg Jig Mini.”
I purchased the jig, as well as some accessories, from Home Depot. The total cost is shown in the following table:
There are many cool ways to join wood together. Carpenters use all sorts of fancy joints, such as dados, dovetails, mortise and tenon, etc. when building furniture. I do not have the skill or tools to use any of those advanced techniques yet. However, with this handy jig I found that I can put together furniture that has fewer unattractive screws and screw holes and is much sturdier.
Using the jig is very simple. In the following picture you can see me drilling pocket holes in a bottom shelf support for a small night stand/bookshelf. I read and followed the directions that came with the jig which are basically as follows:
- Read directions to figure out clamp location for lumber thickness. Conveniently, 3/4″ true lumber means the jig end should sit flush with the board
- Read the directions and set the drill stop depth correctly as well
- Clamp the workpiece stationary
- Clamp the jig stationary
- Run the drill through the jig at max speed
You don’t have to use the Kreg brand screws with the jig, but I decided to by them and give them a try. I chose the coarse screws for soft woods since the hardest board I had was poplar.
You’ll notice that the screws are square drive. I also chose to by the Kreg brand long square head driver for my drill since the package came with two and it was cheaper than any others I could find at Home Depot.
I had very good luck with the screws. I actually only had one issue. The first one I drove in split some poplar. However, it didn’t happen to any other connections I made so I think it might have just been a bit of an off angle.
Here are some examples of how I used the pocket hole jig on my first ever piece of furniture. Here is a picture of a shelf support screwed into the side with pocket screws.
Here is a view of the top shelf joined to the rear support and sides using pocket screws.
Here is a closeup of the pocket drilled in the side shelf support.
Full size adjustable jigs start around $60 but do allow for much more precise positioning and drilling of multiple holes at once. Kreg actually has a product that sits between the mini jig and a fully adjustable jig called the R3 that is basically a two hole version of the mini and lets you drill two matched holes at once.
The one strength that the mini has over those jigs, other than costing only $20, is that it can fit almost anywhere. Here you can see I used it after a shelf was already installed to increase strength of a joint.
You can also see I am easily able to clamp it to some 1×2 here
I couldn’t have finished assembly of my first piece of furniture without the Kreg Jig Mini. For $20, I expect to get a lot of use out of this thing. I’m already trying to figure out what Christmas presents or useful things I’ll be able to build with it.
- Small, allowing for flexible locating of pocket holes
- Simple to follow directions
- Hard to align multiple pockets exactly
- Non-adjustable angle
Long Term Questions
- How long with the guide and drill bit last?
- How well does it work with non branded screws?