Tool: Kreg K5
Pocket hole joinery has been synonymous with the name Kreg for years. Kreg’s jigs have always been affordable and user-friendly. With the new K5 jig, the folks at Kreg have managed to tweak their flagship kit to make it even more user-friendly.
For starters, there’s the almost-automatically adjusting clamping mechanism. It’s a ratcheting, spring-loaded affair that’s really simple to use. I say almost automatic simply because you still have to slide the clamping head up to your workpiece; but that’s about it. At that point, you just hold the back of the clamping mechanism and raise the large paddle-style handle until you’ve heard two positive clicks. That’s it. No trial and error. And there’s no need to reset the clamping head until you change stock thickness.
The K5’s drilling guide has also been upgraded in a couple important ways. First, instead of the knurled knob-and-screw to change the height for different stock thicknesses, the K5 employs a spring loaded knob. It’s just plain faster. Secondly, the graduations on the side of the drilling guide are highlighted white, making them much easier to read than before, where they were just indentations.
The folks at Kreg also changed the method for setting the bit’s stop collar. The previous version had a recess where you’d lay the bit and set the stop collar according to the engraved stock sizes next to the recess. The K5 uses a setting block in conjunction with the drilling guide instead. It’s simple, positive, and quick. Initially, I still preferred the old method, but have since come to like the improvement on the K5.
The K5’s support wings also serve as storage boxes for bits, screws and accessories. The dust port swivels for optimal vacuum hose positioning. A quick-attaching adjustable stop can be used on either side of the drilling guide for easily repeatable drilling.
Bottom line, there are lots of little changes here that add up to an improvement in the whole by making the jig faster and more utilitarian.
The K5 kit includes the base with ratcheting clamp, extension wings, dust port, drill guide block, spacer block, adjustable stop, drill bit setup block, hex-shank stepped drill bit with stop collar, 6″ driver bit and a starter screw and plug pack.