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I just started to use the Kreg system.

Here is a photo of my first cut. I expected the holes to be a cleaner cut.

I used the K4 Gig

Am I doing something wrong here?



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Try using a drill speed of 200-2500rpm.

Bring the drill up to full speed, before starting the drilling process.

All do-it-yourselfers and woodworkers who build with Kreg Joinery appreciate cleanly-drilled pocket holes, with minimal (if any) tear-out and attractive outward appearance. Fortunately, the ability to drill clean pocket holes is not a skill that you acquire — but rather something that you can easily control by keeping your drill bits sharp. If you can't physically tell that your drill bits are dulling, you will be able to tell by the way they perform. If your pocket holes are getting harder to drill or your drill bit gets excessively hot during operation, it may be time to get your drill bit(s) professionally sharpened. We offer an in-house drill bit sharpening service. You can also pick up new Kreg drill bits at your local Kreg Dealer, or order them online.

Furthermore, your drill should always be running at full speed before it comes in contact with your wood. A higher-speed drill will make the cut more efficiently, resulting in a pocket hole with less tear-out and better outward appearance.  When driving the screws, use a cordless drill for best results. Their adjustable clutch decreases the likelihood of over-driving, which is a common cause for tear-out and rough-looking pocket holes.

When drilling or driving screws with your cordless drill, make sure to set the clutch correctly. Crank it all the way up for drilling, to the highest number or to the drill bit icon. At this setting, the clutch won’t slip at all, giving you maximum drilling power. When driving, dial down to a lower setting. The clutch will slip and stop the driver bit from turning, so you won’t overdrive or strip the screw.

If you have any further questions, feel free to get in touch with Technical Support directly at toll-free 800-447-8638 or for advice. They will be more than happy to help.

Thanks, but this was the first cut made by my drill bit (straight out of the packet).

I think I was on high speed but I will try again to be doubly sure.

I thought that maybe it was to do with the hardwood that I was using.

Thanks for the reply though.

Is the wood a lamination over particle board? The tear-out appears to be caused by not enough rotational speed of the bit and feed rate that is too fast.  With laminated particle board, the bonding agent in the particle board is usually harder and more dense than the wood that is laminated over it.  Slow the feed rate. When I need clean cuts in particle board or plywood, I will feed slow and back the drill out several times to allow the drill to get back to full speed.  Also, if you are using a battery powered drill, ensure the battery is fully charged to help it maintain the drill's speed.  Hope this helps

I had a few experiences with my R3 that looked like this when I was joining 2x12s for a bench top.  I found that if I use a corded drill (doesn't need to be expensive) and do as Tim suggested, the pocked holes cleaned up a lot.  

I now slowly insert the drill bit at full speed just to start the hole and then slowly push forward, frequently pulling out to clean out the shavings and then reinsert to further drill the hole.  It is not near as fast as I thought it would be at first, but the holes are much cleaner.

Additionally, a piece of advice... make sure the jig is tight against the board.  I don't use the K4, but with the R3 any slipping of the jig when the bit makes contact with the wood can cause tear out that looks like this as well.

Hi Tim, Steven,

The wood is solid (Mahogony) and the drill is an expensive Makita...

Very useful advice and I will try again with slow feed and fast drill speed (I was probably beeing a bit too causious on my first cut).



when I use vacuum adapter I do not have this prolbem

This is an interesting addition, Wilford.  I wonder if the presence of loose wood shavings around the drill bit is what hinders a clean cut... I know that slowly evacuating the cavity during the drill can enhance the cut as well (for those without the vacuum attachment).

Yes, I am keen to try this. Unfortunately, I will not be home until the 26th.

As you suggest, if I empty the shavings just before the hole breaks through.

I'm with Wilford. Have to keep the shavings out of the way. When I started using a vac, my holes cleaned up very well. Otherwise, clear the bit a couple of times before going to full depth. It take a little extra time but it makes a cleaner hole.

Andrew Kelly, please do let us know if the suggestions helped. I'm interested to hear how it turns out for you.

Another thought ... corded drills tend to run a bit faster than most cordless drills. If things don't get better with the above suggestions you might try that.

Here is some feedback,

I tried removing the shavings. Athough this seems very sensible, it didn't help.

My drill, a Mikita BHP458, is 2000rpm no load speed, so I tried a my Bosch corded drill at 3000rpm and although this also seems like a good idea, the results were just the same.

My conclusion is that it is the wood being a hardwood, is probably not ideal.

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