Kreg Owners' Community

I purchased a Kreg Foreman a couple weeks back and so far, really like it.

I have built a couple shop cabinets out of 3/4 oak plywood and it performed very nicely.

I did run into a problem yesterday. I have a kitchen job out of cherry. I milled up some face frame material and ran it thru the Foreman. On five pieces, the ends split it. (see Pics)

I adjusted the depth stop twice, just like the manual suggest, in fact I even backed off the depth just a smidge to see if that helped. Still same results.

I then tried some oak and pecan scraps I had laying around and they performed ok.

So I am wondering if the Cherry is the problem. The cherry I used has been in my storage

building for over eight years, so I am pretty sure its not a moisture content issue.

Any advise is appreciated.

I have contacted Kreg tech support but have not heard back from them yet.

Thanks 

BKWW

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Dave,

Thanks for posting the photos.

It appears to be an issue with the wood itself---

the fractures appear to have occured right in the grainline---

(grain separation), and if a knot is in close proximity.

I've had this happen to me, on a couple pieces, when the drilled holes were like 1/2" in from the edge.

Perhaps the feed-rate was to fast---(used a slower feed-rate---allowing the drill bit to remove material at a slower rate).

Excess pressure while drilling, may contribute to the problem.

Try lubing the drill bit with dri-lube, before drilling.

Increased lubricity will decrease friction and potentional fraturing.

(I've gotten in the habit of lubing the drill bit, before proceeding.  I keep it at the ready at my drilling stations.  Dri-Lube is my shop friend).

Hope this helps.

I know it's frustrating when spits occurs, drives me nuts when that happens.

I just stop, step back and make close examination---

try to make an analysis of the problem, 

and figure out what corrective action needs to be taken.

PS---insure the work-piece is "clamped securely"---

slight movement (twisting) of the work-piece, during the "drilling operation" can result in frature.

Hi Dave. Thanks a lot for posting photos. That definitely helps. Ken has provided spot-on advice, as always. I'll add a few thoughts of my own.

Cherry can be troublesome at times. it's a wood that can actually become brittle. I've had "chunks" break out of cherry in strange places.

Ken's advice about feed rate is the first place I'd start. With many woods, you can feed as fast as the bit will allow--especially with the Foreman, where the handle provides lots of leverage. In these end-grain pocket holes in cherry, try pulling a bit more gently to slow the feed rate. Also, make sure that the bit is turning at full speed before it enters the wood. The Foreman motor spins up quickly, but it's always a good idea to make sure the bit is spinning at full speed.

Feeding slowly also gives time for the chips to get carried out of the hole. One of the biggest challenges a drill bit faces is clearing away the waste. Running the Foreman with a vacuum or dust collection attached helps here, too. When creating pocket holes, pulling the chips out not only eliminates mess, it clears the chips better to prevent "packing" of waste in the flutes. That packed waste can push outward if it can't climb out, and that puts stress on the surrounding wood.

I notice in your photos that the bit tip appears to be getting close to the end of the workpiece. I see some signs that it is almost penetrating the end of the board. That could be another sign of the wood being a bit brittle. You might also try backing the bit up just a bit from the setting established by the setup block. This will stress the wood less at the fragile end, but still allow plenty of screw penetration.

Of course, make sure your bit is sharp. Dri-Lube, as Ken suggested, can be helpful.

If you're experiencing problems that you feel are due to the tool, please contact our Customer Service Department. You can contact them online here, or call 800-447-8638.

KregRep



I drilled out ten rails yesterday using the info provided on the forum, out of those ten, four still split out.
One of the tips was to drill slowly, which I tried, I even backed off the depth of the drill bit.
Its getting very frustrating, as I spent $400.00 to speed up my production vs the drill and jig method, and I feel as if I have actually
slowed down production time. I am beginning to regret my purchase.

If Kreg would invent a drill bit that was spring loaded and could be used in the K5, they would have a homerun on their hands. So much time is wasted drilling the hole, setting the drill down, moving the material and then picking the drill back up and drilling the next hole.

If you could insert the bit in the K5 drill the hole, move the material, drill the next hole, wow it would speed things up. 

Anyway, here are a couple of the bad ones from yesterday. There was two that split, not nearly as bad, so I used them in the face frames.

Hi Dave, what I see in the photo above in the direction of the grain which I know will lead to split out in wood and especially in Cherry which when dry is a wood that is touchy on drilling a hole and especially a 3/8 dia hole near the end.  Any time you have a wood with the grain that is running at an angle to the flat surface will have a tendency to split out.  I have read all the tips above and agree with the one about feed rate and speed as well as the vacuum as if you not have the chip cleaned out they will actually compact them selves around the bit flutes and will actually increase the dia of the bit and force the wood apart.  That is the reason for rate of feed and speed of bit.  In reality you need the speed of the bit to rapidly remove the chips and the slower feed rate so you do not produce as many chips and the chips that are made are smaller and easier to clean out by the twist of the bit flutes and the vacuum. 

If your cherry has been drying for about 8 years it is probably too dry to work and the humidity should be raised some.  I often do this before I start working it.  This is especially true if it is a wood that is cherry as well as any other wood with wild grains.  I do this with a spray bottle and most time will do this after I have cut the material to size and ready to bore pocket holes.  It is always a good policy to cut your lumber to size and then allow it set for a few hours giving it time to adjust to the new tension that it will have after being cut.  This is the time to apply moisture allowing it to adjust to a higher moisture content.  This does not mean soaking the lumber but a good heavy spraying on the area where you are going to bore holes and allow it to naturally dry will do wonders for the workability of lumber that is lower than 10 percent moisture content.  Wood will normally have a higher moisture content on the inside that on the outside.  It can be bone dried on the outside and wet on the inside.  The moisture is held inside by what is also known a " case hardened" just like that of steel.  This causes tension inside the lumber and it is released when cut.  That is why you will see the lumber twist, bow, and even split near the saw blade when it is cut.  This is why I cut to size and allow it to become stable before I attempt to build any thing out of it.   When you build with out using wood fillers you cuts must be precise and remain precise when you assemble it.  This is why so many miter cuts open up after they have been assembled as there is still moisture and tension being released when you cut the miter.

Something that I have done in the past with wood that is prone to splitting is to use a clamp across the grain .  My favorite clamp is the "C" clamp with a very deep throat as that gives you room to keep it out of the way of any obstruction of your pocket hole jig.  With it clamped it gives you a better chance of boring a hole with out splitting.

I have a Kreg Foreman and was one of the original testers of it before its release to the market.  My over all opinion of it is that It does a remarkable job of speeding up production as well as doing what it is advertised for.  Like any machine new to the operator there is a learning curve that must be mastered to fully take advantage of the machines full ability.    When I tested it I uses every type of wood that I had available in my shop which ranged from soft woods like pine to hard woods like white oak and even bubinga and blood wood and several species of exotic hardwoods.  It preformed beautifully and actually bored a smoother hole than the  K-2 and or K-4.  

I truly think your problem here is the wood grain and it dryness.  As far as using lubricants I have never in my 27 years of being a professional cabinet and furniture maker used any lubricants and when you do you introduce another problem and that is the danger of contamination of your wood.  you get any of this on your wood you will not know it until you apply the finish.  I have often used wood glue on the threads of the screw when I am screwing it in as it acts like a lubricant for the threads and as a lock tite type of holding power on the screw bonding it to the wood.  This is especially true when working woods that are such as white oak or any of the exotic hard woods that are often used in furniture and cabinet making .

I read the comment about the spring loaded bit being used in the K-5.  Back when Kreg first came on the market they had a K-2 or K-3 of which they mounted two upright rails on the top of the jig body and fixed a drill and had a spring that returned the drill and drill bit back to the top with the drill and bit still on the jig thus, allowing the operator to move the material and clamp it with out having to lay the drill down.  It worked but was something that they ceased production on as not many were sold.  I have looked for a photo or information on it from the web as well as kreg's web site for it and so far unable to find it.  I know it was made as I used one for awhile but did not like it  as I found another system that worked much better for me.  It is the air cylinder mounted to the K-2 of which you do not have to lay the drill and bit down as the clamping is done using the knee and a switch.  You have the left hand to move the material across the boring potion of the jig and simply bore the hole.  I do not even remove the drill from the jig's guide but have to be careful that the bit is pulled up past the flat of the jig to avoid breaking the bit tip.  I have made a few of these conversions for owners in my area and it is a fast method.  The Foreman is still faster.   There you have my thoughts, and I wish you good luck with the cherry.

 

Jay,

Thanks for the input. 

After drilling out about thirty cabinet rails in cherry using my hand held drill and an older Kreg Jig, I did 

not have a single issue. Both setups (the foreman and the Kreg Jig had dust collection hooked up.

So I really believe the issue is the drill bit that came with the Foreman. Maybe not sharpened right ???

Anyway the foreman is great for all the plywood work, and I am loving the speed at which you can switch 

from 1/2" material to 3/4 material. 

I guess I have changed my tune on the foreman, and can say that I am happy with the purchase. Just hope my next cabinet job is not in cherry.........LOL.

Thanks Again,

Dave

Big Kahuna Woodworks

Hi Dave, the other day I replied to your post entitled "Cherry and the Kreg Foreman"    In that post down towards the bottom I wrote about Kreg having a jig that they no longer offered that had a drill mounted on a pair of upright rails allowing you to bore holes with the aid of a spring to keep the drill and bit mounted on the jig.  I also indicated that I had searched looking for a photo and unable to find one.  Well Kreg had on in the K2 pdf file that the gave a link to,  Here is the photo above:  In that same PDF file they showed the air cylinder of which I added to my bench mounted K2 making it into an air clamp system.  They no longer offered these parts a few months later when I wanted to convert a couple other K2 and K3 jigs to air clamping ability so I went to another source and found the parts I needed and converted the jigs.  It made them faster and also the ability to clamp and bore large sheets of plywood as you no longer have to reach around and open and close the manual clamp.
 
Jay Boutwell said:

Hi Dave, what I see in the photo above in the direction of the grain which I know will lead to split out in wood and especially in Cherry which when dry is a wood that is touchy on drilling a hole and especially a 3/8 dia hole near the end.  Any time you have a wood with the grain that is running at an angle to the flat surface will have a tendency to split out.  I have read all the tips above and agree with the one about feed rate and speed as well as the vacuum as if you not have the chip cleaned out they will actually compact them selves around the bit flutes and will actually increase the dia of the bit and force the wood apart.  That is the reason for rate of feed and speed of bit.  In reality you need the speed of the bit to rapidly remove the chips and the slower feed rate so you do not produce as many chips and the chips that are made are smaller and easier to clean out by the twist of the bit flutes and the vacuum. 

If your cherry has been drying for about 8 years it is probably too dry to work and the humidity should be raised some.  I often do this before I start working it.  This is especially true if it is a wood that is cherry as well as any other wood with wild grains.  I do this with a spray bottle and most time will do this after I have cut the material to size and ready to bore pocket holes.  It is always a good policy to cut your lumber to size and then allow it set for a few hours giving it time to adjust to the new tension that it will have after being cut.  This is the time to apply moisture allowing it to adjust to a higher moisture content.  This does not mean soaking the lumber but a good heavy spraying on the area where you are going to bore holes and allow it to naturally dry will do wonders for the workability of lumber that is lower than 10 percent moisture content.  Wood will normally have a higher moisture content on the inside that on the outside.  It can be bone dried on the outside and wet on the inside.  The moisture is held inside by what is also known a " case hardened" just like that of steel.  This causes tension inside the lumber and it is released when cut.  That is why you will see the lumber twist, bow, and even split near the saw blade when it is cut.  This is why I cut to size and allow it to become stable before I attempt to build any thing out of it.   When you build with out using wood fillers you cuts must be precise and remain precise when you assemble it.  This is why so many miter cuts open up after they have been assembled as there is still moisture and tension being released when you cut the miter.

Something that I have done in the past with wood that is prone to splitting is to use a clamp across the grain .  My favorite clamp is the "C" clamp with a very deep throat as that gives you room to keep it out of the way of any obstruction of your pocket hole jig.  With it clamped it gives you a better chance of boring a hole with out splitting.

I have a Kreg Foreman and was one of the original testers of it before its release to the market.  My over all opinion of it is that It does a remarkable job of speeding up production as well as doing what it is advertised for.  Like any machine new to the operator there is a learning curve that must be mastered to fully take advantage of the machines full ability.    When I tested it I uses every type of wood that I had available in my shop which ranged from soft woods like pine to hard woods like white oak and even bubinga and blood wood and several species of exotic hardwoods.  It preformed beautifully and actually bored a smoother hole than the  K-2 and or K-4.  

I truly think your problem here is the wood grain and it dryness.  As far as using lubricants I have never in my 27 years of being a professional cabinet and furniture maker used any lubricants and when you do you introduce another problem and that is the danger of contamination of your wood.  you get any of this on your wood you will not know it until you apply the finish.  I have often used wood glue on the threads of the screw when I am screwing it in as it acts like a lubricant for the threads and as a lock tite type of holding power on the screw bonding it to the wood.  This is especially true when working woods that are such as white oak or any of the exotic hard woods that are often used in furniture and cabinet making .

I read the comment about the spring loaded bit being used in the K-5.  Back when Kreg first came on the market they had a K-2 or K-3 of which they mounted two upright rails on the top of the jig body and fixed a drill and had a spring that returned the drill and drill bit back to the top with the drill and bit still on the jig thus, allowing the operator to move the material and clamp it with out having to lay the drill down.  It worked but was something that they ceased production on as not many were sold.  I have looked for a photo or information on it from the web as well as kreg's web site for it and so far unable to find it.  I know it was made as I used one for awhile but did not like it  as I found another system that worked much better for me.  It is the air cylinder mounted to the K-2 of which you do not have to lay the drill and bit down as the clamping is done using the knee and a switch.  You have the left hand to move the material across the boring potion of the jig and simply bore the hole.  I do not even remove the drill from the jig's guide but have to be careful that the bit is pulled up past the flat of the jig to avoid breaking the bit tip.  I have made a few of these conversions for owners in my area and it is a fast method.  The Foreman is still faster.   There you have my thoughts, and I wish you good luck with the cherry.

 



Jay Boutwell said:

Wood will normally have a higher moisture content on the inside that on the outside.  It can be bone dried on the outside and wet on the inside.  The moisture is held inside by what is also known a " case hardened" just like that of steel.  This causes tension inside the lumber and it is released when cut.  That is why you will see the lumber twist, bow, and even split near the saw blade when it is cut.

 You are describing lumber that was not dried right. I dried lumber and sold it to cabinet shops near me for several years. One of the main reasons I had so many customers was because they were used to buying lumber like you described.

My lumber was uniform moisture throughout and not casehardened. I told every customer "If you find a casehardened board, I will replace it free of charge". I never did have to replace any.

Hi David,  What I am referring to is lumber that is not dried correctly and the moisture is trapped inside by the term known as case hardened.  This is usually the lumber that is dried too quickly and or pulled out of the kiln before it is totally dried,  the moisture that is on the inside does not have a chance to escape before the wood cells on the outside collapse.  When the wood cells collapse it traps any moisture that is left on the inside and that makes the stress where it will lumber to radically change shape and is not stable anymore and will not be until all the moisture is gone from the wood cells.  This also happens when lumber is stacked and not stickered so that there is air flow all around the board.  If lumber is dried correctly most of it becomes stable and will not move when you work it.  Even lumber from the same tree will react different than the other part of the tree when it is not dried the same.  I know when I buy lumber I check it very carefully and try to purchase from the same source once I find a dealer that dries his lumber correctly.  Drying lumber is an art just like buying it for color and grain patterns and that is one of the hall marks in being a woodworker..

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