Download PDF version (66.6k) Log In or Register to view the full article as a PDF document.
Q.Recently I discovered that my faithful Kreg pocket-hole jig somehow got “lost” on my last job site. I want to replace it. Is upgrading to the Foreman pocket-hole cutter worthwhile, or should I just stick with the same jig?

A.Gary Katz, a finish carpenter in Reseda, Calif., and the moderator of the JLC Online finish-carpentry forum, responds: With a list price of about $850, Kreg’s semiautomatic Foreman pocket-hole cutter is a lot more expensive than the company’s $150 K3 Master System kit (800/447-8638, kregtool.com). But if you do more than a couple of cabinet or wainscoting jobs a year, the Foreman will more than pay for itself. It’s fast — it clamps your material and drills the hole with a single motion — and it’s about the same size and weight as a portable table saw, so it’s not difficult to transport from job site to job site. It comes in both electric and pneumatic versions.

If the Foreman sounds too expensive, the original Kreg jig is still available for around $100 — but the K3 kit is a great upgrade for not a lot more money. Kreg has improved the toggle clamp on the bench-mounted jig so that, instead of locking away from you, it locks into position toward you, making it easier to push the lever down with the drill in your hand. Also, the linkage on the new clamp includes a spring, so if your material isn’t all precisely the same thickness, you don’t have to fiddle with adjusting the clamp in the middle of drilling pocket holes. And if you’re into dust collection — a good idea when cutting pocket holes — the new K3 kit includes a dust shroud. Removing the dust while you work speeds up drilling and increases bit life.