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first-timer Kreg jig questions

April 23, 2011 |
10 replies [Last post]
dee
Offline
Joined: 2011-01-06

I started using the Kreg R3 Jr. for the first time today with 3/4" plywood.  I have 2 questions for those of you with more experience.

1. When I drilled my holes, I noticed a small amount of blue plastic shavings coming out with the sawdust.  This decreased as I went on, but I'm worried that I'm already messing up my new jig!  It didn't seem loose and it didn't seem like I was doing something in particular to cause it, just drilling straight into the holes as directed.  Is this normal the first time it's used?

2. I'm using Kreg brand 1.25" coarse maxi-loc head screws as recommended for plywood.  When I use my drill, set for driving screws, with the square driver bit from Kreg the screws will not go in all the way - I reach a point maybe 2/3 of the way in where the drill just won't turn the screw anymore.  I can drive them all the way in with a manual screwdriver without great effort, so it's not like I'm hitting some impenetrable spot.  Has anyone else had this problem?  I like the whole pocket hole concept, but this is not exactly as fast as I'd hoped!

claydowling's picture
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Joined: 2011-01-26
Normal results

The blue plastic shavings are normal. I've had mine a couple of years and still get one occasionally. They're coming off the ejection port in the top of the jig, where the wood shavings come out. They don't represent any harm to the jig, which is mostly metal lined anyway.

The drill has stopped driving the screw further because you've reached the torque limit. You can increase the torque fairly safely. The setting on my drill marked for screws seems about right for drywall screws into drywall, but not for driving wood screws.

Also, when you need to buy more screws, consider mail ordering them. Rockler sells a much more affordable screw that works as well or better than the Kreg screws. They may be marked as Robertson screws, which is what they're called in Canada.

dee
Offline
Joined: 2011-01-06
Good to know!

Great, I'm glad I'm not already screwing things up!

Now that I read your response about the torque limit on the drill, it seems so obvious - I've experienced this before when screwing into studs. I guess because it was my first experience with the Kreg, I immediately thought I must be doing something wrong. The manual screwdriver works just fine, but then it's a 2-step process. I'll have to experiment with changing the settings on my drill and see if I can find one that works.

Thanks for the tip on buying screws. I got a box of 1000 of the Kreg brand at Amazon for $21, not terrible, but I noticed that the prices on smaller quantities are pretty high. Looks like there are definitely better deals to be had from just a quick Google of "Robertson screws."

claydowling's picture
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Joined: 2011-01-26
Screw shape

You need to make sure that the screws you buy have the flat base on the head (the underside, where it meets the wood). The angled base like you'd get on a wood screw won't work with the stepped drill you get with a Kreg kit.

Here's an alternative system as well, that lets you use a regular wood screw (not a deck or drywall screw though): http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=42329&cat=1,180,42311

I thought it was interesting, but maybe not interesting enough that I was going to drop money for it. Interesting though that it's an American made tool. And that you need to buy it from a Canadian company.

emmarosemc's picture
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Joined: 2011-03-09
if youre going to buy more

if youre going to buy more screws, i just put a thread in this section with the 60% off kreg screws link!

as for the blue shavings, ive had that a couple of times too, most were my mistake. i had forgotten to adjust the sliding bit you drill through to the new thickness of the wood. it was basically going straight down into the bottom, made a couple holes but no real damage

dee
Offline
Joined: 2011-01-06
Thanks for the tip!

I have a huge box of 1 1/4" screws, but I am thinking about something else that will require shorter ones, so I appreciate the discount!

In my case, the blue shavings issue seems like it was just a breaking-in thing. I definitely had everything adjusted correctly, and the shavings decreased with use. I'm completely in love with it, so it's had plenty of use already! I still get a few shavings now and then, but it is minimal, seems unrelated to anything I'm doing, and has no negative effects.

claydowling's picture
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Joined: 2011-01-26
Kreg jigs are great, aren't they?

I loved mine so much after I first bought it that I used it to assemble the wall for my fireplace. Overkill, but I wanted to make sure that it never even thought about coming apart, since I put a lot of effort into putting slate tiles on that wall.

MamaPepper's picture
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Joined: 2011-06-30
Can I add a couple questions?

I used my KJ for the first time today and a couple things:

1. I didn't realize that I WAS NOT supposed to drill all the way through :( Now I am going to have to modify my plans for after I cut all of the ends of all of my boards off. . . but, how do I set it so that it doesn't go through. I'm using 3/4 board thickness and 1 1/4" screws.

2. After doing quite a few, it just stopped working, meaning, the drill bit would not go into the wood At.All. Would a drill bit run out after only using it, like 24 times, or did I do something wrong to break it? If that's not normal, then I will take it back and replace it.

claydowling's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-01-26
Setting the depth

The kreg jig comes with a guide for how to set the depth collar. You definitely need the depth collar or it won't work right.

As for stopping working, that doesn't seem right. It's possible for the bit to dull, but it's something you'd notice over time, and not that early unless you were drilling through an abrasive material. Possibly you have reversed the direction on your drill. You'll have to check specifics of your drill, because they're all a bit different.

smacneil's picture
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Joined: 2012-07-11
I now have 2 "hot tools"

Okay, I NEVER thought I would say this about a tool that looks like it's advertised on late night TV infomercials... but I FRIGGING LOVE this Kreg jig! I used it for the first time today after watching the DVD and I'm sold. the Kreg jig is doing for my joinery what my sliding compound miter saw does for my cutting vs using a circ saw... it provides power, precision and simplicity.

no more ucky gluing for me!

Malinda A (not verified)
Can't Adjust Height - Locked to Base

I just bought the Kreg Jig and started to assemble but ran into a HUGE problem. I can't get the drill guide block to release from the base. It came already attached to the base and not as a separate component. I can't adjust the height at all. It has two plastic lock tabs but I'm afraid to press on them and damage the whole thing. I have a project waiting to start and I can't even make the first PH. Help!!

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