Kreg Owners' Community

Ready to purchase my very first kit, need some experienced user's opinions please

Hello,   I just joined this sight because I'm a DIYer "Wanna Be" and am finally in a position to purchase one of these awesome tools I've been coveting for a couple years now. But before making this fairly big purchase I was wondering the opinions of those more experienced with using these jigs as to which kit to purchase (K4 or K5, other?).
I'm a beginner by all means with the heart and blood of a pro (hopefully, a 3rd generation carpenter, when I grow up one day;-) or whenever my youngest of 5 goes off to kindergarten; basically when I have more time to dedicate to woodworking projects and DIYing my home during more normal hours and not in the middle of the night when our household is asleep.
Any thoughts, insights,or opinions on what to purchase or what kit you'd purchase if you could do it all over again would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your time and I look forward to your wisdom!

Respectfully,

Mrs. A.I.R.

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I bought my Kreg jig set a number of years ago, long before the K-series of jigs, and I still use it. This is totally subjective but IF I were to upgrade, I think I would go with the K5. I think the having the handle in the front would be easier to use than it is on mine or the K4. When I'm working on wood that is tall, it gets to be a hassle to try and reach over the wood to set or release the handle. I find myself having to reach around the wood which can be inconvenient.

I would also save my pennies and get one of the Master Systems. I got that "back in the day" and have been thankful I spent the extra money.

Hi Isela,

Welcome to the Kreg Owners' Community, and thanks for posting. Once you get started building, you are bound to find great enjoyment from your new hobby. We encourage you to connect with other woodworkers and do-it-yourself project builders throughout your journey, and to share your projects as you create them. Then you can inspire other Community members who are looking to get started.

You have a variety of options when it comes to getting started building with Kreg Joinery. 

The DIY Project Kit was designed for beginner DIYers and Woodworkers. It equips you with three must-have tools for creating custom home projects: the Kreg® Rip-Cut™ Saw Guide, the Kreg R3 Pocket-Hole Jig®, and the Kreg® Shelf Pin Jig. With this kit and a few simple tools, you will be able to:
- Cut plywood and other project materials quickly and accurately.
- Assemble your project with Kreg®’s proven pocket-hole joinery – the strongest and fastest way possible.
- Create custom adjustable shelves that sit level and don't wobble.


The DIY Project Kit also includes 10 FREE downloadable plans that show you how to build custom projects for your home, step by step. 

If you prefer a full-sized jig, James made the right suggestion. Take a look at the Kreg Jig® K4 Master System or the new Kreg Jig® K5 Master System. Both systems include a full-sized Kreg Jig®, along with the Kreg® accessories you need to get started building with Kreg Joinery.

When you're ready to make your purchase, you can search for a Kreg Dealer near you on our website.

If you're looking for tips and inspiration, you can find free plans, videos, project ideas, and more on our website as well. 

Happy Building!
KregRep

I bought the K4 Master system and love it.  I am contemplating getting the K5 MS, as well. You won't go wrong getting either one, though the K5 has a couple of advantages (to me) over the K4.  For me, the swivel dust port would be wonderful.  The K4's dust port is fixed to exit the left side, which always seems to be on the wrong side for me.  The other thing is that the K5 clamp activation is on the front of the jig.  This would be a great advantage when working with larger pieces.  My workbench was made with plywood panels measuring about 24"x30".  Reaching around them to activate the clamp was a stretch.  Hindsight being 20/20, I could have removed the jig and clamped directly to the work piece, but I didn't think of that at the time.

I got the K5 and it's great.  You can't go wrong with either one, but I do like the handle in the front, and it comes with the numbers on the side already highlighted in white so they are easy to read.  

This is possibly the best question or subject I can think of for a newbie. I'm a newbie too. Got my K4MS a month before father's day. I remember that because about a month before father's day my wife mentioned getting me one for father's day. She didn't know I had been wanting one for a year or two. So within 15 minutes I was on my way to Lowe's to get my early father's day present. I knew almost nothing about what to buy other than I knew it was a Kreg jig. I also knew there were a bunch of accessories that are available. But I didn't have any real world knowledge of what I might need. I repeat "WHAT I MIGHT NEED."  I started looking at videos and seeing people making beautiful stuff that I would like to build also. Therefore I bought a few other things. This included the micro jig setup. Come to find out my perception was a bit off regarding this item. What I was thinking was it would be used on stock smaller than the sizes discussed when using the standard K4 items. Now it seems that it isn't really for smaller stock, it is just a little bit better due to the smaller holes to use on the 3/4" stock than the normal jig. So I now have the tool that is better for the smaller stock, I DON'T have a tool that is for smaller stock. Less than 3/4" thickness I mean. I'm sure with a little experimentation there is a very small stock thickness window where the micro unit would excel AND the normal size jig would simply be too large. But since I'm not a professional cabinet maker constantly doing a certain type of work in a size that the micro jig would excel the micro jig won't make it possible to get a job done that CAN'T be done with the regular size. I hope I'm making sense. Because here's my point. If I would have done a little more thinking about what I really do (homeowner, DIY'er, etc.) I would not have gotten the micro jig. I would have immediately jumped on the HD jig. In fact that's what I'm about to do now. In my past I haven't done much work where a cabinet or a toybox (present project) or a coffee table or a bookshelf or stuff like that was what I did. But, I have done LOT'S of things around the house with 2x4's and larger. I enclosed our car port making it a huge room. Built a back porch, stuff like that. The HD jig would have made the job much stronger based on what I'm reading now than toe-nailing studs or using 3" sheetrock screws to join the boards together.

 

So now I'm thinking the wiser order of things to buy (for me) would have been for me to get the HD size first based on I do more work with the larger lumber. Even if it's just a frame to be covered in plywood then vinyl siding or whatever. Personally, I LOVE vinyl siding for an external covering.

 

Here is my understanding of the different size Kreg jigs.

 

Micro:  A little bit better for 3/4" thick materials than the normal size. But, if you think the micro will allow you to work with materials 1/2" or thinner this is not actually the claim from Kreg. I think I have seen mention of the micro size being used for materials 5/8" thick but I'm not sure. This size range and using the micro-Kreg jig may be where after some experience you can get great results on thinner stock but I don't know. I wonder that if the micro size can't be used on material thinner than what the regular size is used for why give up any additional strength provided by the standard size hole and screws. Especially the claim that the SML screw head provides more strength than the pan heads which you need to use with the micro.

 

Standard size: Easy. 3/4" thru 1-1/2" thickness materials.

 

HD size:  Easy also. 1-1/2" and thicker.  This would have been a much better purchase when I got the micro size because I've just re-done my deck around an above ground pool.  I still have a little to do on that so the HD size is something I would like to get soon.   I have been looking at the HD products and am a bit surprised the screws only come in one size. They are 2-1/2" long. I would have thought a 3" or even a 3-1/2" length would be good. But, maybe the 2-1/2" length is strong enough. Maybe a 3" length wouldn't add enough additional strength to justify making or buying them. I'm thinking the only time a longer screw would be better is when attaching a 2x4 or 2x6 or something to a 4x4. The 4x4 could accept a longer screw without it poking out one of the sides.  I'm getting long winded.

So Isela, consider all three sizes. Micro = better size for 1/2" stock. NOT the correct size for 1/4" stock. But in comparison the HD size claims 50% stronger joints. This is a huge benefit between the standard size and the HD size. The different capabilities between the micro and regular size seems minimal by comparison.  My understanding of this comes from reading and such. NOT from personal experience so maybe I'm completely off.  Good luck.

Jack

I've found the K5 system to work perfect for me on material 1/2 inch and thicker. Just get the proper screws. If you use thicker material than inch and a half, jest put pocket holes on both sides or honestly use a different method of joinery.

Here's another thought. The most recent purchase I made was the screw selection circle. I haven't used it yet but I have seen 2 or 3 other charts. One was only good if both pieces of wood were the same size it seemed. The other was a bit more inclusive. If you make cabinets or furniture and deal with the same size materials more often than not these charts may be great. But, for someone who never knows what he may need to attach to something else (me) the charts left a bit to be desired. I got the screw chart circle thing. I haven't used it but I mentally conjured a joint of different thickness materials and it seems to be far more inclusive in what I may come across and need to select the proper screw.

One day I decided not to spend $10 plus shipping on the circle screw chart. I figured how hard can it be to pick the correct screw? Then I had to join two pieces of wood of non standard dimensions. Due to my inexperience I could only guess at the screw length. I knew it wasn't a 1" screw and I knew it wasn't a 2-1/2" screw that I needed. But to get the best length selected between these two sizes was a mystery. I went inside and ordered the chart. I have it now and will be using it soon. I need a trip to Lowe's first to buy the wood. lol  Does anyone with more prictice or experience have any idea of how valuable this circle screw chart is for a beginner or even an expert? I'm thinking after a given amount of using the Kreg jig you get better at knowing which screw length is needed.

I am - not- an experienced Kreg jig user. In fact, I've only had my 1st one for about a week. But I do think I got a pretty good deal on Amazon. It was $175 with free shipping for the K5, the Automaxx clamp, the right angle clamp, the screw selector wheel, and the SK03 screw box with 650 screws in I think 5 sizes. It's sold by Peachtree Woodworking here in Atlanta who has a good rep, but they sell it at that price only on Amazon apparently. 

To me, it had all the things I'd have bought anyway to start. 

On Amazon you can just do a search for "K5 Super".

That does look like a great setup.  The Kreg jigs are great and provide a much better finished product when you want a really nice piece. I'm new to these tools also.  I got the Kreg K4 master kit 2 or 3 months ago. Since then I've gotten a couple of other clamps and I just got the round screw selector wheel. Haven't needed it yet but it looks much more inclusive regarding the thickness of material we may be joining than the charts I've seen. I love it but the K5 seems to have some really nice improvements. The jig is great. In fact I have the HD one coming in a few days. But,,, what has completely blown me away, COMPLETELY, is the automaxx clamps.  The fact that I can adjust the pressure I want with nothing in the clamp then clamp it on anything of any thickness that will fit in that size clamp and NOT HAVE TO READJUST the amount of pressure is truly amazing.  I only have one at the moment. It's the middle size. 6" reach I think.  I'm going to get the 3" automaxx clamp tomorrow. I use the 3" clamp that came with my K4 master kit on everything because it's small.  So, I need the 3" automaxx clamp. The larger sizes are great when needed but the smaller ones are easier to manage.  For me anyway.  I have the largest size clamp but it has the screw adjustment. But I haven't used or needed a clamp that size very often so for now I'll stick with adjusting it as needed.

Congrats on the K5 setup.  These things are great.  I know you will love it.

Jack

Ron Murphy said:

I am - not- an experienced Kreg jig user. In fact, I've only had my 1st one for about a week. But I do think I got a pretty good deal on Amazon. It was $175 with free shipping for the K5, the Automaxx clamp, the right angle clamp, the screw selector wheel, and the SK03 screw box with 650 screws in I think 5 sizes. It's sold by Peachtree Woodworking here in Atlanta who has a good rep, but they sell it at that price only on Amazon apparently. 

To me, it had all the things I'd have bought anyway to start. 

On Amazon you can just do a search for "K5 Super".

In my humble opinion,  I have the K3 from so long ago and I  have found the right angle clamp indispensable as well as the HD jig and micro jig. Get the biggest set and all the screws you can afford. I have not liked the auto-maxx clamps and much prefer the ones you adjust yourself. You will wonder how you did anything without it.

jWelcome to the wonderful world of woodworking!!!

Comparing the K4 to the K5 - just the jigs alone, I'd go with the K5. 

Back in the dark ages of the Kreg Jigdom we only had a choice of the K4 Jig vs. the K5 jig vs the K4 Master System, and that was a tough choice for me. But now a NEW K5 Master System has come along to save the day.

Comparing the K4 Master System to the NEW K5 Master System, I would DEFINTELY go with the K5 Master System. 

On the other hand, if money is tight, you can do wonderful things with the Kreg JIg R3. That is what I bought my daughter to get her started ... along with a cordless power tool set from Ryobi (low cost, but it gets the job done) and a set of clamps. Kreg's Rip Cut might be my next gift to her.

I have a K4 master system and love it but I have had it for a number of years. If I had it to do all over again I would buy a K5 just because of the front lever on the jig. the K4 is an excellent tool but with a large panel it is hard to reach the lever in the back. so that is something to consider when you are about to make your purchase.

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