Instructables

Making a Pocket Hole Jig with your Router

 In my former life I worked in a cabinet shop, and was exposed to all sorts of fanciful, specialized tools that most homeowners simply can't justify the expense for, like a $20,000 sliding carriage table saw.  Or, even more modestly, a couple of hundred dollar pocket hole machine.

Having used and liked the pocket hole machine, I decided to build my own, using a router I found for a song at a yard sale, and with scrap plywood I got at the cabinet shop.  The one I made was many moons old, and looks much worse for the wear, so it is modeled and rendered in 3D for your viewing pleasure.
 
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Step 1: Commercial versions and basic use

There are some machines that are full size floor model machines, but the one that I based this design on was a Porter Cable bench tool that I used in the cabinet shop I worked in.

It is basically a router set up with a handle and a pivot.  The picture is the only one I could find, and is of bad quality after zooming in and taking a screen shot.

The basic use of one consists of putting a board (usually) horizontally and the router bit either swings from the top or the bottom and creates an arced pocket so that you can basically toenail a screw into a board and it lets you butt joint two boards together.

Also shown is a picture of what the joint itself looks like- chances are that you have seen this on furniture even if you didn't know what it was.


There are also jigs you clamp on and use a drill with, the most notable being by Kreg.  You can make those homemade as well, but I wanted a machine based version with a more dedicated setup.  All other options were more expensive than I wanted to invest, so I made my own similar to the bench top model I was familiar with.


DeanGPotts3 years ago
im looking to make one eventually, the simple steel ones that you use a stepped drill with, that ive seen are over £85 and i cant understand why they would ever be worth that, you dont even get the screws or stepped drill bit with it!!!!

Ive seen Norm abram on New yankee workshop use a little one that he just clamps on but i cant find one like that anywhere.

Good instructable.
kreg makes a tiny little one that costs about £15
http://www.kregtool.eu/Kreg-Jigreg-Mini-Prodview.html
or there is this one where you get a little more for your money
http://www.kregtool.eu/Kreg-Jigreg-Jr-Prodview.html
denal463 years ago
I would like to know the length of the pocket slot ? Looking at the design I think it would be rather short based on the radius from the hinge to the end of the router bit.
I made my own pockethole machine using a regular style kreg jig. I can now drill these holes with just two fingures, I have a demo up on utube under cabinetmanwayne. Look for my homemade pockethole machine. It cost about $25 dollars for the parts if you allready have a jig and drill and some scrap plywood. Drills and clamps with one handle. Going to start selling plans on ebay. Have a look at my demo.
This is an absolutely great idea... I tried this and it made a perfect and super fast pocket-screw mortise (only); but I had no problem what-so-ever in guiding in a standard drill bit and screw completely free-hand in the angle and direction desired. And, it makes buying the expensive step bits and special screws totally unnecessary; wonderful!
This is an absolutely great idea... I tried this and it made a perfect and super fast pocket-screw mortise (only); but I had no problem what-so-ever in guiding in a standard drill bit and screw completely free-hand in the angle and direction desired. And, it makes buying the expensive step bits and special screws totally unnecessary; wonderful!
Sirplus4 years ago
Good concept, I made mine with very few revisions. your background in mass production is obvious to me,but maybe not to less dedicated wood workers. novices might miss the fact that as presented this unit will only create only the pockets, other means have to be supplied for the holes. I did add a piece of Lexan in line with the centerline of the router to line up my layout to. I can envision my next version with a squaring fence and a much deeper  throat.
Thanks for the preliminaries, I might have missed adding a valuable piece to my shop. 
SirPlus

wilwrk4tls (author) 4 years ago
 Hopefully step 6 is some elaboration until I can get pictures or video of the actual machine.  It has yet to make the move with me, but when it makes it home I will get pictures at least, and hopefully a video, too.  Admittedly it helps to be familiar with the industrial machine.  

One intent with making this machine is that it is much more production friendly than the jigs.  If you have a fence set up or some sort of fixed guide, (safety nazis do not read ahead) you can even cut the holes without clamping down the board every time, which makes for a much faster system.  That does create more of a safety concern, but I still have all ten fingers, toes, both eyes, etc. and never worried about losing them with this machine in the shop.
I'm having a problem seeing how this is used.  Please elaborate if possible.
I have to agree, I have no idea how you get a hole on an angle into a board with this. Where do you put the board? Can you post a video of it in use, and the results?
wilwrk4tls (author)  jackthesquid4 years ago
Are you familiar with a pocket hole machine and this just doesn't make sense, or are you not familiar with a pocket hole machine?

I will try to show some pictures of what a pocket hole is if that would help, and maybe I can find a picture of an industrial-made pocket hole machine as well for comparison and explanation.
lemonie4 years ago
Even though it may look the worse for wear could you add some photographs of the device, possibly arranged as it was in use?

L
crapflinger4 years ago
i just use one of these ....$20 and simple to use all you need is a drill and some wood
I'm familiar with pocket holes  using the Kreg system, but perhaps not a pocket hole machine.  Some comparison would be helpful.