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Picture of Pocket Hole Plugs Cutting Sled for the Kreg Jig
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Pocket Hole Plugs Cutting Sled for the Kreg Jig

Right,
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.

 
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Step 1: Step 1 - The Base & Fence

Picture of Step 1 - The Base & Fence
For the sled base measures 48cmX33cm (19X13”) and the fence (4cm/1½ high).
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

Picture of Step 2 - Cutting the sled to its working width
The next step was to cut 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

Picture of Step 3 - Cutting the blade path way
With my Table Saw fence still in place I turn the sled and use the 30 degrees angle bottom part of the sled to run on the TS fence and with a blade height to 4cm (1½”) I cut through the sled fence and base creating a pathway about 10cm (4”) deep.

Step 4: Step 4 - Dowel plug cross cut guides

Picture of Step 4 - Dowel plug cross cut guides
Using a dowel as spacer I glued and nailed another piece of MDF to be use as a guide for the cross cutting the plug, and then pass the sled one more time to cut the MDF guide (this step could be skipped if done at the same time with step 3).

Step 5: Step 5 - Stop Block

Picture of Step 5 - Stop Block
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A counter sink T-nut at the back of the sled’s fence, and a bolt with washer, will be used for adjusting the cross cutting 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

Picture of Step 6 - First cut test run
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Next on the photos you will see the first cut test ru, rip and cross cut of a dowel to make a Kreg pocket hole plug.

Step 7: Step 7 - The Result

Picture of Step 7 - The Result
The result was successful!
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

Picture of Step 8 - Dowel Plugs Trick & Fence Set-Up
Dowel Plugs Trick

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.

Fence Set-Up

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.

Step 9: Step 9 - Adding a Push Blog

Picture of Step 9 - Adding a Push Blog
Finally, I screwed a push block at an angle on the sled, to help pushing it and holding it in place.

Enjoy

Thanks for reading and commenting

Stelios L.A. Stavrinides
AKA Steliart
danneauxs1 month ago

money saving ideas are always appreciated. Good job!

lykle5 months ago

Hi Stelios,

Thanks for that idea. I will dive into the workshop now and see if I have enough material to make one straight away. Never thought of making a jog. Nice!

As for screws, these are the screws I use. (see image) I found them in Super Home but Elinas has them as well I think. So widely available in Cyprus. The nice thing is that they are in Inches, so it is easy to use the Kreg screw length guide.

I have used them and it works well. The thread is between course and fine, so works for soft wood and hard wood, but it is a bit of a compromise. Anyway, I always use glue as well.

Yassas,

Lykle

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KellyCraig1 year ago

Oh, and thanks for sharing your work.

KellyCraig1 year ago

Instead of using the rip fence, consider using the miter guide. If you do, you will always repeat the cut without set up. Just drop it in place and push it through. The only down side is, you may have to cut your sled in half and use a miter guide on each one.

blounsb9991 year ago
I have honestly never bought the Kreg screws. For softwoods i usually just use drywall screws and for hardwoods I use sheet metal screws with pan heads. I have yet to have any issues with my joints.
klee27x1 year ago
With a little experimenting, you could batch cut these. You would cut the dowel up into double length + kerf width segments. Then take your double length pieces and cut them down the middle at the other angle. You would have to set up an additional stop block to make the first cuts, but then you could cut a bunch at a time instead of alternating between the two cuts!.
Yea, you could do that also if you need so many plugs. But since the time needed to finish one is so small (just rotate the sled), personally I found this way easier and mostly safer to work with.
Thanks for visiting and commenting
rimar20001 year ago
Very interesting, Stelios. Although I have not a Kreg Jig, I see it is very useful.

Regarding microwaving, the procedure is very useful when you must process any little piece of wood. IE when I must turn a spinning top, I soak the wood, then I microwave it and leave to dry overnight. That method relieves tensions and avoids deform the finished piece.
rpjamess12 years ago
I haven't used any plugs on my Kreg projects yet since they're collapsible, but this is a great idea. The only improve I would likely make is to had a runner for the miter gauge slot. This would remove the need for the fence and you would not have to make sure the fence is set just right before sawing. The runner could be added with the fence in palce during the build to ensure proper spacing.
If you put a runner how would you make the second cut?
I thought about that a couple of hours after I posted the comment and I don't have a good answer. Maybe put it on a locking pivot? But then it's needlessly complicated. Your design works just fine.
Here is the trick how to set the fence distance always right.
Set the Jig at the cross cut angle - slide your blade into the allready cut groove - now bring the fence to the distance.
Return the jig for the first cut position and you are set to go.
nyx7022 years ago
Awesome microwave tip! Does it work the opposite way? Can you dampen the wood/paper towel to make it expand?
If you damp the dowel it will expand, that how glue works, it damps the dowel makes it to expand and then hardens. The microwave dries out all moisture from the wooden dowel and forces it to contract.
Thanks for visiting and commenting
artlife2 years ago
Excellent! I am adding this to my shop to do list.
artlife artlife2 years ago
Also, great tip on the alternative screws. The kreg screws are not available here either, and I use my supply only for the most expensive projects. Thank you.
There's another alternative which unfortunately I can get either, but someone of you might find, are the Phillips Round Head Wood Screws. Don't know its price if it's acceptable, but here it is.
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No those are way too expensive here. I will stick to the first solution. Thanks.
Thanks artlife glad I could contribute a bit :)
Can't wait to build this for my Kreg. Thanks Steliart!
You are welcome rolltidehank and thanks for visiting and commenting
Uluz2 years ago
Great Instructable! The microwave tip is awesome, can't wait to try it out!
Thanks Uluz for visiting and commenting