The Kreg Jig R3 is a fantastic piece of woodworking kit. It allows for fast, precise creation of pocket holes in a wide range of wood thicknesses and situations. In this review I take a look not only at the basic kit, but at the Kreg project clamp as well.
What is the Kreg Jig R3 Pocket Hole System?
The Kreg Jig R3 system is basically a small kit that allows for quick, repeatable pocket holes – a type of woodworking joint. Kreg sells a variety of these kits – the R3 version that I purchased contains the jig itself, a drill bit with depth collar, an allen key to adjust the collar, a long driver, a package of screws, and a package of plugs.
All of the components appear to be very robust. The jig itself is made of a tough plastic, and feels solid to handle. The sliders move smoothly and click into place with no additional play. The drill bit provided is very sharp and cuts through the softwood lumber I’ve used it with very well.
The clamp is also a very nice piece of equipment. There is a screw-type adjuster to change the clamping force. The handles are easy to grip, and the clamp adjusts automatically to lumber sizes up to 3″.
Using the Kreg Jig R3
This jig is such a pleasure to use. I drilled around 50 pocket holes in 2×4’s in a recent project (Project Living Room Bar Table) and I didn’t run into any issues whatsoever.
The first step in using the jig is to move the two grey sliders to the mark that corresponds to the wood thickness that you are drilling the pocket hole in. This basically sets the exit point of the screw – if I set it to 1.5″, then the screw will exit the middle (0.75″ from the top) of a 1.5″ thick piece of wood. If I set the sliders to 1″, and use it on a piece of wood 1.5″ thick, then the screw will exit a little higher (0.5″ from the top).
The next part requires selecting the correct screw length. When using the jig with 2×4’s, and using a screw size of 2.5″, the screw extends out the pocket hole by almost 1.5″ making a very strong joint, when joining a 2×4 to another 2×4.
Between the slider setting, and the screw length selection, you can join pretty much any two pieces of wood with accuracy and repeatability. When I was connecting 2×4’s to 3/4″ plywood, I set the slider setting to 1.5″ so that the screw exited out the middle of the 2×4, and I used a screw length of 1.5″ so that the screws went 0.5″ into the plywood.
A few more things to consider when using this jig – you’ll make a lot of sawdust since you’re actually making quite large holes in the wood, and secondly, consider using a corded drill as the large drill bit requires quite a bit of power to be used effectively. Remember to draw the bit out a couple times to clear the wood chips while working.
I really can’t say enough good things about this kit. It’s robust, accurate, and super easy to use. I think that the R3 version is the most versatile, since it can be clamped onto larger work pieces, do two holes without unclamping and repositioning, be screwed onto work pieces where clamping won’t work, and to top it all off, it comes in a nice and compact case.
A must-buy and a real treat for any woodworker.