I was looking for an inexpensive or alternative way to complete my Kreg Jig accessories.
Kreg Jig Work Platform
So after I build my Kreg Jig Work Platform, which you can see on the link, not a step by step instructable as I believe is very easy to build (photos is all you need for the idea) and measurements are up to you and what stock you have available; I looked for alternative screws for the system, as the Kreg ones are not available in my country.
Kreg Pocket Hole Screws Alternatives
So let me explain a few things about these alternative screws before you grab my throat :)
I think the Kreg Jig system is one of the best products that Kreg came out with.
By saying that personally I have a problem, the Kreg does not exist in my country so I always have to import from overseas (via air freight) my stock in screws.
OK, I do have a small stock in the shop but since they cost me almost double the price to stock them (especially for low budget projects) I needed to find an alternative.
They way I come up with was to use the nearest to length I needed screw (maybe one or two millimeters off) that I could find in the market i.e. for coarse thread 1”1/4 I use galvanized chipboard screws 3.5X30mm together with an M4 or M5 washer.
I have no way of testing the strength between this alternative and the Kreg screws, but since the Kreg Jig system advertises that is so strong and needs no gluing, then if I use the alternative screws with glue on the joints then is a very strong joint also.
Now is about time to complete the set with a Kreg Pocket Hole Plugs Cutting Sled, which It’s more like a dowel cutting sled that allows you to make two different cuts with it, and end-up with a Pocket Hole Plug.
Step 1: Step 1 - The Base & Fence
I used 18mm (¾) marine plywood for both base and fence, joint together with glue and biscuits.
Step 2: Step 2 - Cutting the sled to its working width
I set my Table saw fence to 30cm (12”) and made the first cut with the sled's fence running on the TS (table saw) fence to establish the working width.
After this cut Do NOT move the TS fence.
Using a protractor I drew a line at 15 degrees from the sled base towards the left side to give me the angle cut of the plug.
I sand down to 10mm (3/8”) few piece of MDF about 5cm (2”) width to be used as the dowels guides.
one piece I glued and nailed on the line we drew before, then I used a 10mm 3/8” dowel as spacer and glue the second piece.
Leave those guides to overhang from the left and bottom, and since my TS has not moved I cut them flash to the sleds left side.
Setting my miter gauge to 30 degrees angle I made the second cut to the bottom of the base. Cutting both the sled's bottom and the overhanging MDF guide.
Step 3: Step 3 - Cutting the blade path way
Step 4: Step 4 - Dowel plug cross cut guides
Step 5: Step 5 - Stop Block
The Stop Blog is made from MDF, has an adjustable groove, is at the same height with the fence, and has the dowel's thickness 10mm (3/8”).
Step 6: Step 6 - First cut test run
Step 7: Step 7 - The Result
And here is the comparison of Kan original Kreg Plug with the shop-made one, same length, and same angle cuts.
Step 8: Step 8 - Dowel Plugs Trick & Fence Set-Up
If you find that your dowels are very tight fit or need some sanding, try putting them in the microwave on a paper towel on high temperature for 30 seconds, this will shrink the dowel down to size.
Make sure you check also the plug’s length, you might need to adjust the stop block also… experiment a bit to get it right.
Here is the trick how to set the fence distance always right.
1) Set the Jig at the cross cut angle position
2) Slide your blade into the allready cut groove
3) Now bring the fence to the distance.
4) Return the jig for the first cut position and you are set to go.