Kreg Owners' Community

Tips for Beginners + Helpful Links for New Members of the Kreg Owners' Community

*Current members, please respond to this thread with your best advice for beginners! This can include tips and tricks, lessons learned, and any another advice you feel is appropriate for those just starting out. We’d like for this page to become the ultimate resource for someone just getting started with Kreg Joinery.

This community was designed to be a powerful resource for Kreg Jig beginners and experts alike to share, learn, and benefit from other community members. To get the most out of this site and the community atmosphere, a small foundation of knowledge can be very helpful.

The most frequently asked questions from individuals new to this site and to the Kreg Jig are answered through the links below. Odds are, if you're having a question about a tool, a technique, or the site, you will find your answer here. If you can't, please post your question in the Discussion Forums. There are plenty of community members who would be more than happy to help you out!

Thanks, and best of luck!
KregRep


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Tags: advice, beginner, beginners, beginning, diy, help, new, newbie, starting, suggestions, More…tips, tricks, woodworking

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Clamps!
When I first began using the Kreg Jig I thought I could get by with my assortment of clamps. While I was happy with how the jig worked and very impressed with the results I struggled with rigging up the needed clamping. I finally broke down and purchased the face clamp and then the right angle clamp. After that my productivity took off! They made getting a perfect joint almost effortless. My next purchase will be more clamps and the track to add to my work table.
I highly recommend starting out with the right clamps! Then just pick a project and start building!
...oh and don't forget to post pictures!
Kim has this right! I think you will get your best results if you have a couple of the face frame clamps, and better results = better satisfaction = more building.

Also, while I have never had an issue with screws "breaking through" there seems to be a lot of comments on this recently. I suggest using scrap to test you guide set-ups before driving a screw through your finished piece.

Use this community to its fullest extent. Ask question, and please show us your work. We all like that here.
Tips for a good joint are
1. Make sure all cuts are square. If the cuts are not square you have a tendancy to tighten down the screw more to close the gap and this can cause the screw to strip or go through the bottom piece.

2. Check and re-check the setup of the jig and the collar on the drill. This can cause the screw to come out the wood or if not deep enough cause a week Joint.

3. When assembling the joint, make sure you have the two pieces clamped face down tight together. Should one of the pieces of wood move, this will effect the point of entry of the screw into the ajoining piece and can cause the screw to come through or an uneven joint that needs much more sanding.

These are three steps that I use and have made many easy, good and strong joints.
1) Double, if not triple check your Kreg Jig for the proper measurement. Lord knows when I first started out that I was accidentally using the wrong height measurement, which made for accidental drilling of pocket holes in the wrong spot.

2) Make sure your cuts are a good 90 degrees so you get the best joining. Double check with a carpenter's square. This is especially important if your project has drawer or doors on it. If your project isn't square, the drawer or doorfront won't fit properly.

3) Wipe away and sand away any wood glue that bulges out of a joint. Wood glue doesn't accept stain later on, and this causes a problem with your project later. Make sure you go over any joints with sandpaper later, or you'll see beige globs of dried glue when you stain your piece.

4) Safety first! Not only should you wear proper eye and ear protection, but also remember to respect the power tool! Metal beats flesh every time. Always know where your hands and sleeves are before you turn on the power. It only takes a second to cut yourself, and there is no "Control + Z" in life. You can't go back a step, but you CAN prepare for the next step. I don't want to hear the excuse my brothers try to use: "I was in a hurry..." You're NEVER in a hurry while woodworking. There is no such thing as a deadline. Take your time and focus on what you're doing.

5) If you're using a cordless drill, make sure your batteries are charged. It's really annoying to have to stop your project because you have to wait for your batteries to recharge. Once you get into using the Kreg Jig, you want to build all day and night. Sitting there waiting for the blinking red light to switch to a solid red light will seem like an eternity.

6) On behalf of my father, keep a clean workshop. Clean up when you're done so you have a fresh start when you pick up the project again the next day. If you don't sweep up the sawdust when you're done, he'll find you and hunt you down!

7) Have fun! If you're not having fun while woodworking, you're doing it wrong.
Make sure you properly set your Depth Collar Gauge so you don't drill in too far. I've had that problem in the past. Make sure to check all your measurements. Have fun and take your time with your project. It will turn out better if you take your time instead of trying to rush through and get everything done. When I start making mistakes in my wood shop I take a break for awhile then come back to it. I'm happy to say I still have all my digits, I enjoy my sons being down there with me but he's a piano player and I tell him piano players and woodworking don't get along too well. You can make a mistake playing piano, but you can make very few mistakes woodworking. Lose a digit and your piano playing days are over. Best regards, Good luck, be happy and have fun!
-Kevin
What a great list you have all put together already, everyone! The information shared by the members above represents a whole lot of Kreg Jig experience! What a great community resource we've put together here.
Every time I cut wood with a power tool, I reach for my safety goggles, ear muffs, and dust mask, because...
1. I've experienced a splinter in the eye (which got around my regular eyeglasses).
2. I like listening to music, so I don't want to lose my hearing.
3. I don't like blowing sawdust out of my nose.
Most time is spent setting up, then it's cut, cut, cut.
James,

I have tried Sketchup a few times and find it has a steep learning curve. I have read through and performed a few tutorials, but so far I find it very time consuming. It is a great program, but complicated. Things happen that require much trouble shooting. It is free, but not easy for me.

Dick

James Waller said:
"Easy-to-use Drafting Software"

This is listed under "Other Great Links" and when you click on it, it takes you to Google's SketchUp home page. There you can download the "free version" and start using the program. There are numerous text tutorials and video tutorials to help you learn the program. Some of them you actually open up in the program and it helps you learn some of the tools. There is also lots of videos at YouTube that teaches you how to use SketchUp.

One thing I want to mention that I just read is a class on SketchUp they are having at "Popular Woodworking". If you are interested then click on the following link to read more about it.

http://blogs.popularwoodworking.com/editorsblog/SketchUp+Shop+Class...

I have personally used SketchUp to draw up my plans on some projects I have built. I can add the dimensions of all the parts and then print it out to go by while building it. Check out my photos on my page to see some of my projects that I built from plans I drew up in SketchUp.

You have ideas on things you want to build? Then give SketchUp a try, it's very easy to learn and best of all....it's FREE!
Great tips, everyone!
When I started, somehow I thought that the step drill needed to break through the piece being drilled. I spoke to a Kreg rep and he told me to leave 1/8 inch so that it would guide the screw. This was a great help because even with clamps my piece was jumping out of alignment when I drove the screw.
Thanks, I've had the problem and up to now used to drill out that last 1/8". That's how a professional woodworker showed me how he uses it. I even purchased a longer drill bit [don't remember the size now] to do it. However, I had the alignment problem you mentioned. Now if I just could have remembered to bring my Kreg jig from my winter location, darn.

Rod said:
When I started, somehow I thought that the step drill needed to break through the piece being drilled. I spoke to a Kreg rep and he told me to leave 1/8 inch so that it would guide the screw. This was a great help because even with clamps my piece was jumping out of alignment when I drove the screw.
I completely ruined my first joint (of course I did't read the directions). Hence a visit to the web site and to your suggestions. Very clear, logical, and supportive. Thanks
Bret Mosher
P.S., Some old guy came out of no where and started yelling at me about my messy work area. Was that your Dad?
Hey, has anyone seen my hammer?

Don Grubish said:
1) Double, if not triple check your Kreg Jig for the proper measurement. Lord knows when I first started out that I was accidentally using the wrong height measurement, which made for accidental drilling of pocket holes in the wrong spot.

2) Make sure your cuts are a good 90 degrees so you get the best joining. Double check with a carpenter's square. This is especially important if your project has drawer or doors on it. If your project isn't square, the drawer or doorfront won't fit properly.

3) Wipe away and sand away any wood glue that bulges out of a joint. Wood glue doesn't accept stain later on, and this causes a problem with your project later. Make sure you go over any joints with sandpaper later, or you'll see beige globs of dried glue when you stain your piece.

4) Safety first! Not only should you wear proper eye and ear protection, but also remember to respect the power tool! Metal beats flesh every time. Always know where your hands and sleeves are before you turn on the power. It only takes a second to cut yourself, and there is no "Control + Z" in life. You can't go back a step, but you CAN prepare for the next step. I don't want to hear the excuse my brothers try to use: "I was in a hurry..." You're NEVER in a hurry while woodworking. There is no such thing as a deadline. Take your time and focus on what you're doing.

5) If you're using a cordless drill, make sure your batteries are charged. It's really annoying to have to stop your project because you have to wait for your batteries to recharge. Once you get into using the Kreg Jig, you want to build all day and night. Sitting there waiting for the blinking red light to switch to a solid red light will seem like an eternity.

6) On behalf of my father, keep a clean workshop. Clean up when you're done so you have a fresh start when you pick up the project again the next day. If you don't sweep up the sawdust when you're done, he'll find you and hunt you down!

7) Have fun! If you're not having fun while woodworking, you're doing it wrong.

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