Kreg Owners' Community

Not Pleased With Pocket Hole Construction

Several months ago, I purchased the Kreg K4MS so that I could build the Lego Table as outlined on the companion "buildsomething" web site which exclusively uses pocket hole construction.  I have considerable experience with conventional construction but I thought I would give it a try because of the reviews that claim it is quicker and sturdier than conventional joinery.  I would disagree for a couple of reasons.

First:  I don't feel as if it is quicker at all because it takes considerable time to lay out and mark and drill all the pocket holes required.  I believe I could have made it with dado and rabbet joinery much quicker.

Second:  Many of the pocket hole joints were very weak because although I purchased a quality grade of ¾" oak plywood, a good percentage of those pocket screws hit voids in the plywood and they would not anchor tightly at all.

Third:  Although I used genuine Kreg screws with a quality Bosch driver with a clutch set on a low setting, several of the screws protruded through the face piece so that the tip on the screw was showing.  I had to put some washers on the screws to keep them from penetrating so far.  Yes, I did adjust the drill collar exactly as instructed.

Given my experience with the pocket hole joinery, I must say I am deeply disappointed and I believe I will sell my K4MS and go back to conventional joinery.

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Comment by Tom Nelson on December 9, 2021 at 11:55am

I agree with several of the responses to this post. I believe your problem is the material you are using. If the jig is set properly you won't have any screws sticking through your work if the material size is universally the same size. The russian birch is a great material for this type of construction although it is a bit pricy. It isn't any faster than other types of joinery. Rabit joinery is quite fast once your work tools are set up but not the best for plywood. The benefit to having the Kreg pocket hole set up is the cost, portability and space requirements. Don't give up on the Kreg set up. It is just another tool...

Comment by Cecil W Ott on August 1, 2021 at 2:49pm

I never us ply wood for an thing I build.  It make of a cheap project.  Although pocket construction is the only way to build.  Make proper adjustments before doing any thing with pocket hole tools.

Comment by Tony Peters on July 27, 2021 at 7:38am

As an addition to previous post, the Russian birch has very few voids if any due to the 11 veneer layers..

Comment by Tony Peters on July 27, 2021 at 7:35am

Careful of your plywood dimensions.  I only use Russian Birch ply for most of my projects as it is a true 3/4" and my screws don't penetrate..  The plywood manufacturers are getting expert at thin slicing veneers so the new plywood tends to be quite a bit thinner.  

Comment by John Hoskison on May 27, 2021 at 10:49am

Having read #jack Sloane wonderful reply to this issue may I just add - use the force young padwan. 

Comment by jock sloan on February 27, 2021 at 8:55pm

Again i feel compelled to comment on other peoples experiences. You said you had an older version of the jig and you upgraded to a K5 system. The problem you have (if i am reading this correctly) is not with the system it seems to be with the locking collar for the drill.


Did you speak to THE Kreg Rep. about it. As you have had a jig before did you think to try the other drill and collar in your new system sort of a second opinion so to speak.


In my opinion what you should be doing is not criticising the jig, it is that you should be asking what ,if anything , you can do to fix your problem. If the locking collar is faulty in any way i am quite sure Kreg will be happy to replace it free of charge.

   Jock Sloan Brisbane Australia.

Comment by Chris Randol on February 26, 2021 at 8:32pm

I have had the old version keg jig, I loved it. Every sense I have bought the k5 I have had nothing but problems, it’s very thin cheep plastic compared to the older version, and I have problems every time I start drilling holes, the stupid  lock piece or what ever you call it comes lose no matter how many time I tighten it. I just did it today as well, drilled 6 times and guess what went to drill agin and it went too deep again, lose. Ruined a project..... I have all the keg jig tools and I am seriously disappointed!!!!!! Price goes up and they become junk.... 

Comment by Robert Brennan on November 4, 2020 at 2:14pm

As Jock said your application with ply is actually more aligned to the quality of ply we have available these  days. Trying to obtain AA grade is almost impossible and the classification varies just to complicate matters further.

My K4 has had a fairly rough life since ita purchase so I also would be interested in upgading too.

Mind you the errors I have had with and damage I caused are mostly operator generated, and could be classed as (RTFM) ones

Comment by jock sloan on September 18, 2020 at 8:35pm

 I do not like to make comment on other peoples experiences, but, in this case i will voice my opinion.

As you say,

  First:  In my opinion the art of building things from wood is not a race. It is to be enjoyed for what it does for you. It gives you a sense of satisfaction that you have built some thing with your own hands and it calms your mind. As far as the fact it takes longer to mark out an prepare for the final build it is part of the process of the art of building.

  Secondly: You may have though you bought a good piece of quality plywood but if it had voids in it, it may not be as good as you thought. Another point are you sure of the actual thickness of the plywood was a full 3/4" thick. Did you use the correct screws, remember that Oak is a hardwood. Also did you make any trial joints using a piece of your stock wood to be sure your setup was correct and there was a solid joint. After your failure to make a solid joint did you not think that if used a little glue that it might fix that problem.

  Third: The fact that you used genuine Kreg screws and a fancy battery drill to screw them in has no bearing on the fact that some where along the line you have not used the tool in the correct method. Either your screws where wrong or your hole was too deep. Did you ask for any help , from other members of the community , i am quite sure that if you had you could have been given help from thousands of experienced people.

 As you say " GIVEN MY EXPERIENCE WITH POCKET HOLE JOINERY " . I must say to you go back to your conventional joinery and if you should put you K4MS jig up for sale there will be a whole lot of people ready to buy it. If you want to learn how to use it join in the community , look at other members projects i am sure you will learn a great deal as i have.

  Jock Sloan Brisbane Australia

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