It was one of my first YouTube videos. My own version of the k5 kreg jig. Looking back on this project, I’m actually quite proud of it. It works great, pretty clean looking and the video has done really well. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the jig and how to build it so I thought I would do a complete build video. Sense I’ll be starting fresh I decided to make a few improvements I have thought of over the years as well.
The first improvement I wanted to make to the jig is to make it easier to build. The tricky part of the first jig was making the angled drill guide bushing. It was hard to drill an angled hole accurately without a good drill press and even then I’m sure it would be hard to locate the hole perfectly. Kreg sells a small jig called a kreg mini which sells for 20 bucks and comes with the step drill bit. The drill bit alone cost 15 bucks so it is a worth while investment. I figured it would be easier to use this kreg mini for the drill guide than it would be to make one. I wanted to be able to still use the mini when it is not in the jig because sometimes you need to take the jig to a large work piece instead of bringing the work piece to the jig. To accomplish this I would need a way to attach the mini to my jig and still be able to remove it. The mini is (probably purposely) hard to mount anything to, it’s angled on all sides and doesn’t have a lot of meat to drill through. To over come this I decided to apoxy a piece of 1/8″ by 1 1/2″ steel to the face of the jig. The steel would protrude on either side by a 1/4″.
This is probably the weak point of the jig so you will want to make sure you get good adhesion between the metal and plastic. I first roughed both surfaces with a angle grinder and used a quality glue that is good for both metal and plastic.
Now that we have a “rail” on the kreg mini, I need a groove for it to ride in. Something which still gives the jig lots of support but still slides freely. I made two side supports out of 3/4″ plywood doubled up. I then ran a tight fitting slot down each side, making sure the jig stays flush with the edge of the plywood.
Finally I add another double piece of plywood between the two supports to hold everything in alignment. I glued the three pieces together while the mini was still in place to ensure alignment.
The height at which the mini sits is important based on what thickness material you want to drill a pocket hole into.
For the jig we will need some kind of positive stops at each of these popular material sizes.
To do this I will drill a hole through both the jig and the mini at both the 3/4 and 1 1/2″ material locations. For the 1/2″ material I with drill a hole in the base of the jig to precisely 1/4″ deep so you can just rest the mini at the bottom of the hole.
The clamp from the first jig wasn’t bad but I think we could do a few improvements. The biggest problem is slippage in the slotted hole. (See picture) in the new jig I decided to do away with the slot all together and replace it with a threaded rod. The clamp basically works with two different actions. First you set the threaded rod to the material thickness and second you add pressure to the material using a cam acting lever. This means once the jig is set for a certain material thickness, you don’t have to adjust the threaded rod again for that thickness. And the final feature of the clamp is the clamping action is done from the front of the jig which is useful if you have need large material in the jig.
To build the clamp first cut a piece of plywood to 4″ wide by 10″ long. Then notch out a piece 4″ deep by 1 1/2″ wide.
Then on the back side glue two strips of plywood To create a channel in the center for the clamp arm to slide in.
The clamp arm measures 13″ long with one side having a piece of oak glued to it and the other side has the cam lever.
The piece of oak has a hole drilled in it with a T-nut for the threaded rod. It also has a hole at the bottom for the return spring.
Once the oak block is attached to the clamp arm, place it in the notch we made in the bottom of the jig bottom plate. Keeping about 1/4″ space between the block and the bottom plate, mark where the dowel for the cam will go.
The cam is a piece of maple with a hole drill off center. The hole runs from about a 1/4″ to a 1/2″ from the edge which means you have about a 1/4″ of travel when the cam is activated. I used 3/4″ dowel with a washer to hold the cam to the clamp arm.
The threaded rod is out fitted with a simple handle on one end made by using the belt sander and a drill. The other side which will clamp against the material is a piece of maple double nuted to the end.
Finally I attached the kreg mini supports to the notched plywood with glue and screws making sure the mini will still slide into the hole we drilled.
Then I could attach the whole jig to a base. I added two layers of tape on the bottom to give enough room for the clamp arm to move freely. I then added to supports on either side of the jig.