Monday, 17 August 2015

Draper pocket hole jig - review so far!

I have wanted a pocket hole jig for quite some time now but I kept putting it off because I basically thought the one I wanted (the Kreg K4MS) was too expensive. Then I decided to do some research and find a good but cheaper alternative - after all a pocket hole jig is a pocket hole jig right? Well not so much, as it turns out!

After much research I decided on the Draper jig and at a cost of £50 it was considerably less than the Kreg K4MS at £96.
Mr CH never understood the theory behind this, as far as he is concerned you buy the product that you want because an alternative is never going to quite live up to your expectations - wise words!

My jig arrived and I was so excited to get going with it on some coffee tables and a sideboard I was making a new top for but when I opened it up it was obvious that the company had sent me a used product - all the parts were loose in the box, some of the pocket hole screws were missing and the part you drill though actually had some damage to it.
It took a few weeks for Draper to send me a replacement because I went away on holiday but I was still excited to get going with the new product when it arrived.

In the box
  • Clamp assembly and base
  • 75mm square recess drilling bit
  • 150mm square recess drilling bit
  • Drilling depth stop collar
  • Drill bit
  • Drilling depth stop collar
  • 2.5mm hex key
  • 5mm hex key
  • Replacement drill bit collars
  • Drill guides
  • Pocket hole screws
  • Instructions

At this point I have to say that the instructions are naff, really seriously naff! If you're an expert with pocket hole jigs then you'll obviously know what you're doing so it won't matter (though I seriously doubt an "expert" would be using this jig) but if you're a complete newbie to them you're gonna have to find your info elsewhere. The problem with that is I scoured the net looking for a tutorial using the Draper Jig and couldn't find anything - the Kreg jig had loads but it isn't relevant to using this Draper jig.
Eventually I figured things out by wasting time and wood and seeing what does and doesn't work and when I eventually got the hang of it I was looking forward to producing professional looking pocket holes!!

I'm not sure what these pocket holes are supposed to look like but to me they looked very rough though it's not a problem because you don't actually see them and yes, the join is exceptionally strong.
Along with naff instructions this jig came with no info on how to figure out where to set the drill stop and it makes no mention of screw sizes and how to work out what to use and what size wood to use for each screw size.
The problem I had that really reaaaaaaally annoyed me is that the clamp kept leaving dents on the good side of the wood. Even when I had the clamp open as much as possible and used only 3/4" wood there were still dents on the good side which are going to take time to get out.
The dents haven't shown up too well in the picture but honestly they are really evident and spoil the finish. The wood I use for my projects is pallet wood so it's never perfect anyway but these dents are really annoying.

The other problem I encountered is that the drill guides kept loosening on the jig plate and it made it harder to drill and the finished drill hole wasn't accurate. It was a simple solution to keep retightening the drill guides but very annoying.
I haven't yet completed a project using this jig because each piece now needs alot of time sanding it to get those darned dents out.
Basically I wish I had followed my husbands advice and just bought the Kreg jig, I really do not like this jig for many reason however I should point out it's good points as well as its bad


  • Metal construction
  • Cheaper than Kreg
Seriously that is it!

  • Poor instructions
  • Poor clamp design
  • No versatility
  • Dents on work!
  • Wobbly unstable parts. 

I may learn to like this jig the more I use it but I seriously doubt it and I can actually see me purchasing the Kreg jig I originally wanted and selling this one.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Auction furniture revival

A new auction place has opened up in town and last week Mr CH and I went along to see what was up for grabs. It was an antiques and jewellery auction and I had my eye on a few pieces of furniture but I'm quite tight fisted and won't go over what I want to pay for an item. Mr CH on the other hand knows what we should pay for something but gets caught in the excitement of a bidding war and doesn't like to back down, a few times I had to tell him no more!

I particularly liked a very large, carved chest of drawers, I had so many ideas running round my head for what I could do to it but when it came to bidding it hit my limit very quickly and while Mr CH would happily have bid until he won, it would have taken some of the pleasure out of the project for me if I knew I'd paid more than I wanted for it.

We did win this lovely wooden trunk though

If I only came away with one thing from the auction this trunk would be the one thing I would want.
It even still has the original top box inside

Thankfully all the metal work is still in situ with just one nail missing from the front lock.
I'm looking forward to transforming this trunk and can't wait to start taking all that dirty ugly canvas off to the lovely wood below.

We also had the winning bid on this lovely solid wood sideboard

Not sure what the carvings are all about but they certainly add some interest.
Initially we didn't realise the unit had drawers as they're very concealed when they're closed. It wasn't until we got it home that I discovered them.

It's not without its damage though - the previous owners obviously removed the original backing and replaced it with some nasty fibre board. They've also mullered the base panels for some reason and haven't done a very good job of making good.

A piece of carving from the bottom back has also been removed, probably to make the side board fit somewhere and it also looks like it used to have a top half attached to it as you can see where something has been removed just at the back of the top.

Two projects I'm looking forward to getting my teeth into. The trunk will be a blanket box for the front room and the sideboard (after much work) will be the new fish tank stand, at 4ft the tank fits on it perfectly.