Monday, January 25, 2016

Pocket Hole Fixture

I've wanted to make a larger pocket hole fixture for quite a while. I have a smaller Kreg jig, which works fine, but can get tedious when drilling a lot of holes (building cabinets).

I've seen a number of plans on line, but they all seemed a bit to complicated for what I was looking for:

  • Hold all sizes of pieces that I would want to put pocket holes in
  • Clamp from the drill side so I don't have to move back and forth
  • Have fence so I could set up a stop-block for repetitive pieces (cabinet face frames)
  • Not cost very much or take a lot of time to build

Here is the design I came up with, and I'm actually surprised at how well it works.

Had this simple pocket hole jig I bought years ago that I used it until I bought the Kreg. It works OK, not great. The little clamping screw is marginal - the thing doesn't always want to stay put.

I cut the screw-end off with a grinder, drilled some holes, and mounted it in a piece of 2x4. I routed out the spot for it to go in, so it sat flush with the base and the back fence I screwed on. I also routed a 1/4" channel for the squeeze clamp to pass through.

Here is the back of the fixture with the clamp coming through. I put a piece of plywood behind the fence to support the drill-guide. I used a small shim and some epoxy to glue the guide to the plywood. I mounted another small piece of plywood as a spacer, then mounted the clamp to that with a screw. The spacer allows me to fit my finger in to loose tension on the clamp.

The clamp stays fixed to the drill-side of the fixture.

It took me a few minutes to decide what to do with the top of the clamp - that end that actually clamps the board. Since the bar of the clamp sides back and forth, it gets stopped by top hitting the 2x4. So I put an extension on the top. It's just 3 pieces of pine glued and screwed together with a little piece of plywood on the top. It creates a recess for the clamp to fit into. I drilled and screwed the extension to the clamp.

The clamp pulls really tight on the piece. The large clamping surface holds it well and doesn't mar it at all.

The fixture is about 20" long and clamps to the bench by little feet. This will hold almost any size board I want. For long boards or plywood, I will make a couple of extension supports. There is plenty of fence to clamp a stop-block to.

The clamp cost $10 (2 for $20). All the wood was scrap. If I bought the parts new, the total cost would be about $35. As it was, I used things I already had.

It took me about 2 hours to figure out the design and make this. Nothing about it was very difficult - it doesn't have any real fine alignment required, you just need to make sure the drill jig is setting flush with the base and the fence. I have a nice router setup that made quick work of it, but you could do the recessing with a drill and cut the slot with a table saw as well.