If you didn't know better, you could be mistaken for thinking that pocket
hole joinery is the latest and greatest trick on the woodworking scene.
Pocket holes certainly give a piece the 'designer touch' and look and work
much different to other traditional all-wood methods like dowelling and
biscuit joinery. The fact is, however, that pocket hole joinery is an old
art form, that has only recently been bought back to life, mostly due in
part to the pocket hole system we are taking a look at today. The Kreg
K2000 System is probably the most widely used jig for pocket hole joinery.
Kreg Tools, the founding company and manufacturer of the K2000 have been
in operation for many years and have their headquarters situated in
Huxley, IOWA (USA). They maintain an excellent website at
with some interesting content, including video demonstrations of the Kreg
jigs in action. Well worth a look (after you read this review first of
Like A Child on
I must confess, that I eagerly awaited the arrival of the Kreg K2000
in the mail like a child awaits Christmas morning. The anticipation was
gut wrenching. I'm sure we have all been a little excited at the prospect
of opening up your newest tool, assembling it and giving it the maiden
blessing... and hoping it stick with you loyally for years to come!
With the box landing on my doorstep late in the
afternoon (it's always the way when your waiting for something), I had no
trouble ripping it open to find my way to pocket hole heaven...
K2000 ProPack Contents
The first thing you will notice with the ProPack is that it ships in a
nice molded plastic carry case. I'm a big fan of these cases and all your
portable tools should have one. They keep things neatly packed away and go
a long way to avoiding dust and rust buildup on your treasured 'toys'.
After flipping open the latches on the front of the case, this is what we
- Original Kreg K2000 Jig Assembly
- Kreg Rocket Jig (2-holed jig)
- Kreg Mini Jig (single holed pocket hole
- 2 x support wings to hold work piece level during
- adjustment blocks for centering the screw in 1/2",
3/4" and 1-1/2" material
- 3/8" (KJD) step drill bit
- depth collar to set drilling depth
- 3" and 6" #2 square driver bits
- Face Clamp™ to keep your materials aligned during
- 75 pcs. of the 1-1/4" fine thread self-tapping screw
- 75 pcs. of the 1-1/4" coarse thread self-tapping
- Instruction Manual
The inclusion of the Rocket and Mini Jig into the
ProPack adds even greater flexibility and portability to the system.
There are two other items you will need before you can
get started with some serious pocket hole work... These are a nice solid
piece of ply to secure the K2000 jig and support wings to for better
control and safety during use, and a drill capable of 2,000rpms to
create the holes with the KJD step drill bit. Most corded drills and
hammer drills fit the bill here and are recommended to produce nice
clean pocket holes to work with. Naturally, these 2 items are not
included in the package.
The K2000 jig is designed to be mounted to a board for stability and
safety, whereas the Rocket and Mini Kreg jigs are 'mobile' tools. Using
the included 1-1/4" and 1-1/2" Maxi-Loc screws, I secured the K2000 and
extension arms to a slid piece of pine. The manual recommends Ply,
probably because it is less likely to bend/warp etc, but I had a nice
piece of 3/4" scrap pine handy and I was keen to get going. Once screwed
down, the K2000 is very stable. See image on right. This board can then be
freely taken with you to any job site and is still light enough not to
cause any serious muscle strain. The board is then clamped to a solid
stand or surface before use. The glass-reinforced nylon body of the K2000
and Rocket/Mini jigs also ensures excellent durability, strength and no
hassles with rust!
Two extension pieces
(wings) are provided with the K2000 to allow greater support of wider
stock and to prevent the piece rocking or moving when drilled. The
extensions also act as a depth stop collar guide which is essential for
ensuring the correct placement of pocket holes for your assembly tasks
(more on this later)...
Supplied with your Kreg ProPack are two small sample packets (75 pieces) of
Maxi-Loc Self-Tapping screws. Variant screws for hardwood and softwood
included. The advantage of using these self-tapping screws is that they do
not need a hole pre-drilled in the matching piece to be joined. The screws
supplied are square drive meaning no hassles with burring or stripping the
heads when over-tightening, unlike Philips head and other generic-type
screws. They also feature a 'washer head' to ensure a solid and even
clamping force when driven. In fact, Kreg states on their website that in
testing, the strength of the pocket-hole joint with metal screws against
other traditional forms of joinery (including mortise and tenon joints)
was significantly greater. This ensures piece of mind when using pocket
holes for joins that will encounter pressure or weight.
"A independent lab completed testing a few years back that
showed that a pocket hole joint failed at 707 pounds when subjected to a
shear load while a mortise and tenon joint failed at 453 pounds
(approximately 35% stronger). Pocket hole joints are tremendously strong
for a couple of reasons. 1. The use of a mechanical fastener (screw) is
significantly stronger than the material around it (wood), and 2. The
amount of direct clamping force placed on the joint by driving the screw
combined with today's glue technology makes for a sensationally strong
can be purchased in lots of 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 5000. The cost of
these 'unique' screws are quite reasonable as well.
(of many) Pocket Holes...
Once I had my K2000 ready to go, out comes the corded hammer drill and
in goes the KJD drill bit and depth stop collar (included). I thought a
simple and good first test would be to butt join two 3/4" scrap pine
pieces, without glue, to test the strength of the joint alone with only
screws providing the support.
The 'host' piece of
pine which pocket holes will be drilled into is placed in the K2000 jig
and the simple clamping arm holds the work piece solidly against the
vertical surface. The K2000 can hold pieces up to a maximum of 2" in
thickness, so 3/4" pine was no problem at all. The clamp arm, which has an
adjustable threaded screw clamp assembly, can be easily adjusted to suit
most thicknesses of stock. The clamp itself, when engaged against the work
piece, can exert several hundred pounds of pressure to ensure the work
piece will not move when the pocket holes are drilled. Applying and
releasing pressure with the clamp is simple and very fast and requires
very little effort.
Ok, with the stock engaged in
the clamp and the stop collar adjusted to the correct depth, the pocket
holes are drilled with the corded drill set to maximum speed (2500rpm in
this case). You will find the KJD bit has a very snug fit in the guide
holes. At first, you would think the drill bit would actually grind
against the inside of the hardened-steel guide holes, however, it doesn't
due to the manufacturing of the Kreg drill bit itself. In fact, Kreg
offers a lifetime warranty on these guide hole components if used with
their special drill bit.
Drilling each pocket
hole only takes about a second per hole, so you can imagine it is quite
quick to clamp the piece and drill your pocket holes in comparison to a
dowel or biscuit joint which would require much more preparation and
alignment time. With our pocket holes drilled, we then take our 'mating
piece' and align it to our host piece which has our pre-drilled pocket
holes with glue applied to the surfaces first of course. Using the
standard included face clamp (which has a 2" reach), we then clamp the
pieces together in the desired alignment with the large face of the clamp
on the opposite side of our pocket holes. It is then simply a matter of
seating our pocket hole screws in our pre-drilled holes and using either
the 2" or 6" square driver bit to drive our screws home. As they are
driven, the effect is that it further clamps the two pieces together with
strong force, provided a nice, clean joint that requires no external
clamping while the glue sets. If Darth Vader was still alive, he would be
saying... "All too easy..." and it really is! So that is the basic process
of creating a pocket hole joint that is universal to most pocket hole
applications with the Kreg jigs.
All About Position!
The K2000 can effectively
join materials from 1/2" to 1-1/2" thick. It does this by use of three
'positions' that can be established on the jig along with the appropriate
sized screw for each position.
Diagram courtesy of kregtool.com
uses only the Upright component and is the standard setting for the jig. A
lot of lumber these days is cut and sold in 3/4" inch thick pieces, so
this default setting fits the bill nicely. In this position, the 1-1/4"
screws are used. Use longer screws and you risk breaking through the back
of the adjoining piece when drilling. if you use shorter screws, you may
be compromising the strength of the joint. A T-bolt at the back of the
upright component is used to hold each part securely in place on the jig.
In practice, I had no trouble with movement of the jig at all. Position 1
can also be used for material ranging between 3/4" and 1-18" in thickness,
although you may have to adjust your screw length for the join. As
efficient woodworkers, however, we measure and check everything twice
before we get stuck into it... right? It is then simply a matter of
adjusting your drill bit stop collar on the wing guides to the 3/4" inch
Position 2 is used mainly for 1/2"
inch thick material using the 1" screws. It can be used, however, for
material ranging between 1/2" and 5/8" in thickness. To convert between
Position and Position 2, all you need to do is add the 1/2" step block to
the K2000 jig. This simply sits in place and effectively raises the
material up just over 1/4" inch to give the optimal setting and position
for drilling the pocket holes. The upright component of the K2000 also
features 3 drill guide holes marked A, B and C which you can use to drill
holes in a variety of widths of material for the best possible join. See
the attached photos and diagrams which gives you a better idea
of how this system works. Before drilling, reset your depth stop on the
drill bit to the appropriate setting.
Diagram courtesy of kregtool.com
3 is for the wider material. It is used for material from 1-1/2" to 2"
in thickness. If you needed to join anything thicker than this, then it
would probably be advisable to use another method for maximum joint
strength. For position 3, we remove the 1/2" step block, remove the
upright component and add in the riser block between the K2000 base and
the upright component. This basically makes our jig taller and moves the
pocket hole position further back from our planned joint end. You may
notice you have to use the larger of the two T-bolts with this assembly to
keep everything nice and solid. You once again reset your depth stop
collar before drilling your pocket holes.
between each position only takes a few seconds, it doesn't require complex
tools or an engineering degree and is virtually stress and hassle-free,
unlike many other types of machinery and jigs that have adjustable
components in hard to reach places that sometimes cause more problems than
they are worth.
The K2000 and associated jigs can be used for a wide variety of
- Butt Joints
- Face Frames
- Angled Joints
- Carcass Production
- Post and Rail Legs
- Beveled 90 Degree Corners
- Table Tops and Aprons
- Edge Banding
- Window and Door Jam Extensions
It also has application for outdoor use as the
pocket holes can be plugged meaning no water or moisture can pool
around exposed bolts/screws and seep into the wood. The K2000 is
my new tool of choice for butt joints and carcass construction. My
clamps/cramps may actually start building a dust layer on them
soon, which is certainly a scary thought! The Kreg website has
several excellent video clips showing many of the applications
listed above and I recommend you pay a visit to view these. Videos
can show things that often one thousand words and 20 minutes of
reading cannot, so take a look as soon as you finish reading this
Please take a look at the example picture frame I
constructed in under 5 minutes using the Kreg K2000. The speed
at which joints can be created, without clamping is amazing. The
process is great fun also, and almost addictive in nature!
The rocket jig can be seen as the portable K2000, as it essentially
can perform all the same functions, but a little faster than the mini jig
can. The rocket must be clamped to the work piece, whereas the work piece
is clamped to the K2000 setup. The top of the rocket jig features a clamp
capture, which is much like a rebated housing that snugly holds the round
face of the Kreg face clamp. Two hardened steel drill guides on the rocket
mean this device is particularly suitable and faster for joining wider
pieces on the run. Like the K2000, the rocket also has 3 positions which
can be interchanged depending on the thickness of the pieces you are
planning to join. Two additional 'components' are provided for this to
work. These are the "Riser Block" and "Base Plate". With the 3 components,
you can join pieces from 1/2" to 1-1/2" thick and they will come out just
as strong and effective as using the K2000. The riser block acts like an
extension to use when joining 1-1/2" material. The process of drilling the
pocket holes and assembling the joint is the same as with the K2000, so I
won't repeat it here. I find myself using the Rocket jig quite a lot as a
quick and convenient tool that fits in your pocket and can be quickly
clamped to existing joints to further strengthen them when they have come
loose or lost their strength.
Kreg Mini Jig
The Kreg Mini Jig is your pocket-sized single hole jig that can go
anywhere quickly and easily and can also be used to strengthen
existing joins where pieces cannot practically be clamped in the
K2000 for drilling. The mini jig, like the rocket jig is fast and
simple: Align it
and clamp it on the work piece to be drilled and drill your hole. No
rocket science here! In fact, you can do everything with the Mini jig that
you can do with the K2000, however, things tend to take much longer if
using the Mini alone, so it it makes a great addition to the Kreg ProPack.
The plug setting feature on the underside of the jig allows you to
quickly position and insert pre-cut wood plugs to cover your
pocket holes. The wooden plugs can then be planed or leveled off
with a router and the appropriate router bit for a flush, smooth
finish, with the pocket hole and screw neatly hidden away. You can
use contrasting plugs to accentuate or highlight the pocket hole
joint if you so desire. Kreg manufacturers and retails pre-cut
wooden plugs in a variety of wood types for a reasonable price.
Kreg Right-Angle Clamp
One important accessory to the K2000 that I think is well worth
purchasing is the Kreg Right-Angle clamp. The 6" Face clamp that comes
standard in the Pro pack does a great job clamping pieces flush but cannot
clamp right angled joints, say for chair construction or even cabinet
construction. Without the right angled clamp, it can be difficult to hold
these joints together while you drive the screws. I had to use either long
clamps or picture-frame style clamps to hold these joints previously. So
when I got my hands on this accessory clamp, it certainly made joining
right angles much easier, and much quicker.
right-angle clamp is not much different to the standard face clamp in
construction. It is a standard vise-type locking clamp but with one
important difference... One clamp end is designed to sit neatly into a
pre-drilled pocket hole while the other face is a standard circular face
to clamp to the mating piece. This allows you to clamp a right angled
joint with relative ease and provides an excellent clamping force in the
process which will not move when driving screws. The catch is, that you
cannot use the clamp if you only have one pocket hole on the assembly, as
it needs that single pocket hole to slot one side of the clamp into. With
a standard 2-pocket hole joint, you simply apply the clamp to one of the
pocket holes to clamp the joint. You then drive the first screw into the
other pocket hole. Once the first screw is in, that usually provides
sufficient holding force to remove the clamp from the second hole and
drive the second screw in. Pretty quick and simple. For joining wide
boards where you have multiple pocket holes along one face, you simply use
the clamp in an adjacent hole while you drive the first screw. You then
systematically move the clamp from pocket-hole to pocket-hole as you drive
screws along the entire width of the board.
rocket science involved here, but for long boards, you need to make sure
your right angle joint is flush, or in the position you need it to be as
you go along with the clamping/screw driving process.
In testing, the right angle clamp was a god-send, proving
itself much quicker and easier to use than any other method of clamping
right angle joints we attempted. One small issue we found however, was
that when working with soft woods like pine, if too much clamp pressure
was applied, then top edges of the pocket hole itself were prone to a
little chipout which may, or may not be cause for concern depending on
whether you plan to have your joints hidden, or displayed on the project.
We found easing the clamping pressure a little and using a slight more
upright clamping position on the joint resolved this issue in most cases.
In hard wood and MDF, we had no problem at all.
Overall, however, we found the Kreg right-angle clamp extremely useful in
holding right angled joints while driving pocket hole screws. It is also a
great general purpose clamp for innumerable other workshop tasks. It comes
at an additional cost, but is well worth the investment in our humble
Well, it's really
hard to fault this product. It seems to be the golden answer to fast and
strong joinery that won't give you grey hairs in the process! The only
downside that could be mentioned is the extra time needed to fill a pocket
hole for finishing purposes, although with the right tools, this isn't
much more time consuming than plugging screw or nail holes with
traditional wood plugs or fillers. The Kreg jig has had an overwhelmingly
positive effect on my woodworking practice and is also great fun to use.
It's almost like an addiction, but woodworking in any form does seems to
have that effect on many! This is certainly one jig that will barely see a
layer of dust form on it and kudos to Kreg for creating a fine product
with the K2000 and accessories. I definitely recommend it for EVERY
Kreg Universal Bench Klamp Review
There is no doubt that pocket holes are rapidly becoming the method of
choice for joining face frames, among many other uses. This use in
particular seems to be growing much faster than any other. I have used
pocket holes extensively recently for the same purpose. They make a fast
and strong joint, and with face frames, you won't see the pocket holes
themselves, so no need to fill them to hide them from view. One problem
that plagued me and used up some valuable time was trying to handle the
face frame pieces to clamp them at the right angles I needed accurately
and without hassle. I did build the assembly box/table as shown on some of
the Kreg demonstration videos, however, that had limitations too.
Thankfully, someone at Kreg came up with a simple product
to solve that problem, and as we know, simple things are often the best.
Enter the Kreg Universal Bench Klamp...
The Klamp, which I will refer to hereon as "clamp"
to describe it in grammatically correct terms of its function resembles one of Kreg's standard face clamps with
one of the "arms" removed/modified to attach to the solid 10" x 10" x 1/4"
thick metal base. So simple is the idea that it becomes quite a valuable
tool in itself. You can either install the metal base directly into your
workbench or use a ply board to install it into. You install the base by
routing out a square in your table/board big enough to house the plate.
You have to chisel out the corners to square for a snug fit, and also
ensure you set your router depth to match the depth of the base so it sits
level with your table/board surface. This is an important consideration as
it will affect your joint accuracy and may interfere with other work if
you decide to mount it direct to your workbench surface. With the plate
mounted flush to your workbench or board and secured using the 4 screws
provided in the countersunk holes, you can attach the clamp to the plate.
The clamp is removable, which allows you to maintain that flush surface
across your bench for all other woodworking needs.
The clamp essentially allows you to take your face frame
pieces, which are of equal height and clamp them together and down to the
table so you can drive your pocket hole screws. The metal plate ensures
your pieces are flush with each other and the hold down clamp has more
than enough clamping pressure (which is adjustable) to ensure your pieces
do not move during the process. The clamp can be rotated 360 degrees and
moved forward/back a couple inches or so within its groove machined in the
base. It also makes using the mini or rocket jigs much simpler than before,
leaving both hands free to setup for driving the pocket screws.
There are no problems using it as a general hold-down clamp
for any number of purposes, like holding down boards/pieces for planing,
routing, sanding and more. The rubber-capped foot on the clamp ensures no
damage or marking of the workpiece.
If you want to make offset joints, you will probably need
to use spacer blocks under and/or on top of one (or two) faces of one
piece so that it creates the necessary offset desired while creating a
flush surface for the clamp to push down upon. So with a bit of
user-intervention and some small shop-made jigs and spacer blocks, the
Universal Bench Klamp can be adapted for an even wider variety of uses.
There really is not too much more to say about the product.
It is a really simple idea that delivers for more than just one specific
purpose. While the hold-down clamp idea is not new to woodworking, the
Universal Bench Klamp will certainly make pocket hole joinery with the
K2000 system a much easier and hassle-free affair. A great addition to the
range of accessories for the K2000 product.
Special Thanks to Brad Lilienthal
from Kreg Tools and Robert Gregory from Gregory Machinery (www.gregmach.com)
for their assistance with this review.
Order Online through these companies...
Click graphic to go to
their direct product page for this item
Kreg K2000 Pro Pack
Kreg K2000 ProPack
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written permission prohibited
The Unopened K2000 ProPack...
...didn't stay unopened for long!
Every item has a place in the molded carry case and is
clearly named for convenience.
The 6" Face Clamp
3" & 6" Square Driver Bits and the 3/8" KJD step drill
bit with depth stop collar attached
The K2000 now screwed down
to my scrap pine board and
ready for action!
Robertson Square Drive Maxi-Loc Self Tapping Screws. No
more stripping of the heads now!
The two-holed Kreg Rocket Jig is a very handy portable
Equally useful, particularly for strengthening existing
joints, is the Kreg Mini Jig.
Here we see the three-holed drill guide of the upright
components with holes marked A, B and C.
A basic butt joint using pocket holes and screw results
in a strong join with a flush finish
Notice the black T-bar which holds the various
components for Positions 1, 2 and 3 in place.
Wing component with marked drill bit guide groove for
setting your depth stop collar accurately.
Drilling pocket holes for a 5-minute picture frame!
Clamping and releasing each piece is almost too easy!
Pocket holes in all 4 side pieces drilled in about 2
Here we are screwing in the last joint, after glue has
been applied of course. Note the face clamp holding the joint firm
Our picture frame constructed in record time!
Here we see the front of the frame with nice flush
joints and no sign
of the pocket holes on the
Kreg Right-Angle Clamp
Not much different to your standard vise-grip clamp
...One end is designed to fit into an existing drilled
pocket hole to allow it to clamp right angles!
A nice, clean fit.
Here we have clamped a right-angled joint for a chair
Sufficient clamping force is achieved to hold the joint
in position while we drive the
Application on wide boards
Photo from Kreg Website.
Clamp, Metal Base, Screws and
Instructions... Ready to install, just add a router.
This is essentially what the Universal Bench
Klamp is designed for... to hold pieces flush and securely
while driving pocket screws. Works a treat!
The Universal Bench Klamp makes a great
general hold down clamp on your workbench!