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.


Kirsty Willaton said...

Thanks for your feedback! I am trying to buy a pocket hole jig in Australia, and they're all expensive - with the Kreg being at the top. I had been looking at this one, as it seemed essentially the same and was heaps cheaper, but haven't found any reviews. I'm sure that we would struggle more with all the challenges you faced and I would not be happy to see the damage done to the good side. Sorry it didn't work out but thanks again for the honest feedback - and saving me this heartache!

Linda Claxson said...

You're welcome Kirsty and if I were you I would definitely go with the Kreg jig. I've never used it but at least there is s ton of help available on the net due to its popularity.
The other annoying thing with the Draper jig is that the screw driver attachments aren't magnetic. I didn't realise just how much of a problem that was until I was trying to hold something and put a screw in at the same time - I dropped a load of these pocket screws and due to their cost I spent a heap of time on my hands and knees trying to find them again.
I definitely would not recommend this Jig to anyone.
Good luck on your quest! :)