Introduction: DIY Pocket Hole Jig Base
I’ve wanted to get a fancy Kreg K4 or Kreg K5 pocket hole jig for a while now but just didn’t want to spend the money. So, since I had the Kreg R3 system already, I decided to build a custom DIY kreg jig base for it!
This diy pocket hole jig base is like turbo charging your Kreg jig! No more trying to clamp the jig onto the board over and over again. Now, just set the board onto the jig and flip over the toggle clamp and drill the pocket hole! DONE! Faster than ever! This project can easily be modified to accommodate other small pocket hole jigs, or even the Kreg mini jig!
BONUS: the only wood needed for this project was a 12" x 12" sheet of 3/4" baltic birch plywood!
Step 1: Layout Cut Lines and Drill Corner Radius
To make the base, I first marked all the layout lines I needed to make a T-Shape out of my baltic birch. Because I wanted to use as much of this 12" x 12" piece of plywood as possible, it was important that I make the cuts perfectly...the first time!
HINT: Measure twice cut once!
With everything all marked out, I went over to the drill press and drilled a 3/4" hole to make the inside corner radius. I later realized that I was supposed to drill a 1" hole...but oh well, nothing a little sanding can't fix!
Step 2: Cut It Out!!
I wanted the cut lines to be as perfectly straight as possible, so I decided to make the cuts on the table saw. I set my fence to about 4" (per my layout!) and cut until the blade was close to breaking through the hole I drilled earlier.
DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH!
I repeated this process for all 4 cuts I needed to make, and then headed over to the band saw. I used the band saw to finish the cut so that it intersected with the hole. I saved the cut offs for the making the clamping block to hold the pocket hole jig. (more on that later).
To smooth everything out, I headed over to the drill press and used this handy spindle sander kit to smooth out the saw marks in the corners.
Step 3: OPTIONAL: Gluing the Laminate Sheet to the Base
I've been on a "Formica Kick" lately and pretty much stick this to everything I possible can. So, this project was no exception!!
I started by scoring the Formica sheet with a pocket knife (a razor blade works better!) and then snapped a piece off a little larger than the base. Unfortunately, it did not break cleanly....I should have used that razor blade...
Gluing Formica is really easy. I used a cheap chip brush to spread an even coating of contact cement over both the base and the back of the laminate. After letting the contact cement dry for about 20 minutes, I stuck the pieces together. Contact cement grabs INSTANTLY so be prepared and make sure everything is aligned before they touch! I then used a J-Roller to roll out the Formica to ensure a good bond.
The last step was to use a flush trim bit to trim the Formica to my base.
Step 4: Clamping Block From Scraps!
With the base pretty much done, it was time to move on to the clamping block. I wanted to use as much of the plywood sheet as I could, so I cut the 2 scrap pieces down to approximately 3" x 4" and then glued them together.
Gluing small parts like this can be tricky, because they like to slip around a lot. Using cheap Harbor Freight F-Clamps doesn't help....
TIP! Steal clamps from your neighbors to clamp the EDGES of the plywood to keep them aligned and flush. I used more clamps keeping them aligned than I did actually clamping the gluing surfaces together....
Step 5: Cut the Pocket (hole?)!
Once the glue dried, I headed back to the table saw to cut the pocket that fits the Kreg jig. The width and depth of this pocket was super critical: The width had to be EXACTLY the same size of the jig, so that it could be easily clamped, and the depth needed to ensure that the face of the pocket hole jig was flush with the face of the clamping block.
Hopefully that all makes sense....
The second, narrower pocket was not critical, and really is just to provide some extra clearance between the block and the drill bushing area of the jig.
Step 6: Drill Baby Drill!
With the pocket cut perfectly, I could now drill the big cross hole that would hold the 5/16"-18 carriage bolt used for clamping. Because it was 4" long, I had to drill from both sides of the block. Unfortunately, I found out that my drill press table needs alignment, because it was WAY out of square.
The good news is that I was able to use a drill to open up the hole a little bit so that the carriage bolt could pass through.
With this chore out of the way, I pre-drilled and attached the clamping block to the base plate.
QUICK TIP! Use some paste wax on drywall screws to make them go in easier!
Now that I had the block screwed to the base, I removed the screws.....(see next step)
Step 7: Holy Moly!
I wanted to have the block mounted to the base BEFORE slitting the block so that It would re-attach in perfectly alignment. I slit the block so that the clamping screw could pull the two halves of the block together, clamping the Kreg jig into place. This system allows the Kreg jig to be adjusted up or down, depending on the material thickness.
NOTE: if you are planning to drill pocket holes in 1/2" material, you may have to cut a clearance pocket into the base plate.
I then used a hole saw to cut a hole for my dust collection fitting. Hindsight being what it is (2020!!!), I should have drilled this hole FIRST.
Step 8: Finally Assemble! Avengers!
Now that I had the block (re) attached, I installed my PVC elbow, Kreg Jig, Carriage bolt, and knob. Once I varified that everything clamped together nicely, I marked out and pre drilled where I wanted to attach the toggle clamp.
A few 3/4" long screws later, the toggle clamp was installed and it was time to drill some pocket holes!!
Step 9: Drillin' Holes
To use the jig, put the material you want to drill onto the jig and flip the toggle clamp over so it is securely pressed against the pocket hole jig. Turn on the dust collection (if available) and start drilling holes!
This was a super fun project and I expect to be using this a lot. The issue that always kept me from using the jig was simply the fact that I had to clamp it to the board, which could be complicated. Now, I can move the board to the jig, which is much easier!
I hope you enjoyed this project as much as I did!
Now get back out to the shop and make something awesome!
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