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Just took delivery of a variety of Kreg products and will be experimenting this coming week with the skills necessary to build some simple projects.   I assume using the drill's chuck gauge (clutch, right?) properly will help keep over tightening and head striping to a minimum.  Does anyone have a range of settings that would best apply to pocket joinery for various type sof wood?  Working with poplar to start, but expect to move up in hardness as skills improve.  Thanks in advance...

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John,
For drilling, you'll want to set the clutch to "Drill." For screws, you certainly don't want to be on the "Drill" setting. If you're new at this, experiment on some scrap wood first to find your best setting. We recommend starting lighter, somewhere around 4-6. Our friend Chris at Chief's Shop recommends starting somewhere in the middle. For softwoods, go a bit lower, and for hardwoods, a bit higher. He offers more tips on drill/driver settings here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oj-zXtt6ZJU.
KregRep

Good advice, and a good video. I've found that I start low and work up; use just enough force to get the screw to seat well, and no more. With softwoods and sheet stock especially (plywood or mdf), you run the risk of tearing the screw out if you overtighten. Drilling in a scrap piece is always a good idea; that also helps you to check your depth settings before you start drilling into your project pieces!

Couple of suggestions, learned from experience;

  • When moving from one type of wood to another, remind yourself to reset the clutch.
  • When you finish drilling and start assembly, remind yourself to reset the clutch

I try to make it a habit to check and reset the drill every time. Saves on wood, time AND frustration!

I generally use a light-torque setting, and make the final tightening, 

using a hand driver.

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