Pocket Hole jig is really expensive for me and I don't plan to buy one right away. So, as a newbie I was searching for any alternative. I have seen many videos and stuff over the net but as a fresher woodworker it would be better with some professional advice so that I could build one of my own.

Any help or reference is appreciated

Tools I have right now : Drill machine, saw, set squares, clamps.


  • Having said that, the Kreg Mini is only $8.99 online at Woodcraft. I can't imagine how you're going to find anything less than that. And the only way building it yourself would be competitive is if you already have everything you need lying around. Edited To Add: Though maybe you aren't in the U.S. like I am...? Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 16:58
  • You are right.. m not in U.S.. that's why the question.. In Asia it costs around $55.00..Could you suggest me some way so that I can get one around your mentioned price?
    – mustangDC
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 17:42
  • 3
    I vote to keep the question open. The question asks for alternative approaches to create a pocket hole. This could be a tool, a jig, or a technique. That strikes me as a legitimate question.
    – Ashlar
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 19:00
  • 2
    Yep. I retracted my close vote after the rewrite. Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 19:17
  • 2
    @rob : I have edited the question and highlighted my requirement. All other words are a reference of my situation. Thanks
    – mustangDC
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 6:17

1 Answer 1


I'm glad someone finally asked a Question about alternatives to these jigs.

In the US at least, and probably in other parts of the world by now, pocket holes have become synonymous with Kreg. While they make good products that work exactly the way you'd hope, they can be expensive and their dominance of the market has led to a pervading belief among new woodworkers that the only way to do pocket holes is with a commercial jig when in fact pocket-screw joinery pre-dates the foundation of the Kreg company by several centuries.

Yes centuries, this isn't a new method at all. It's just that the technique was used very selectively back when joinery was all made by hand.

Working freehand
The simplest way to do this is probably the historical way, using only one gouge and a drill, in some cases fitted with only a single bit. There can be no jigging involved, just careful judgement of the correct screwing angle. Of course a bevel gauge can be used to help reference the angle or if preferred, a very basic jig (e.g. a wedge of wood) can be fashioned to ensure consistent results.

A little more about the history and alternative methods here:
Pocket Screws with Fine Furniture by Glen D. Huey on Popular Woodworking.

These days the simplest non-jigged method is probably to use just a drill, sometimes using multiple bits to form the various holes needed — a face hole (using a Forstner or sawtooth bit), the clearance hole in the first piece (this goes into the side of the hole formed by the Forstner) and the pilot hole in the adjacent piece.

No-Jig Pocket Holes on Lumberjocks.
Pocket-Hole Joinery on WoodMagazine.

Building your own jig
Of course if you want to do this with a jig then one can be made and there are a few types.

Building a jig for this can be a very simple operation, requiring no more than a few minutes of work if you're fast (but take as long as you need to make it right). Here's one of the simplest types, originally published as a reader's tip on Fine Woodworking:

Homemade pocket-hole jig

Other examples:
DIY Pocket Hole Jig on Instructables.
DIY Pocket Hole Jig from CrazyRussianWoodShop on YouTube.
Pocket Hole Jig Plans on BobsPlans.com (with free PDF download).

Metal inserts (bushings) can be glued in place to extend the life of any wooden drilling jig, but even without those you can expect a lot of use before wear makes a jig such as this inaccurate enough that you have to discard it, even if made from pine or another soft wood. If made from a strong hardwood like oak or maple I think you can realistically expect it to last for a few years of regular use if you're careful.

I would fit metal inserts if you'll be using your jig very frequently, or alternatively make yourself three or four of the all-wood type in one go so that as soon as one wears out you can throw it away and immediately swap in a replacement.

Also see some related previous Q&As:
When are pocket holes an appropriate joinery technique?
What alternatives are there for pocket screws?

  • 1
    First of all that is an ANSWER indeed. Even though I am not from U.S but these jigs has taken over everything like they are the Adam and the Eve, further more a simple kreg junior jig costs $55 around here, anyways I am taking that as an ANSWER and will develop one of my own this weekend and surely let you know..thanks a lot
    – mustangDC
    Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 4:53
  • @mustangDC You're very welcome, that's what we're here for... although some seem to have forgotten :-| Hope your jig works well for you. I'm sure it will since I've used one of the homemade ones a friend made (from the first design) and it works perfectly although you do have to be sure to clamp it firmly! I know what you mean about the cost of Kreg jigs in other parts of the world, one of the larger ones can be over $200 in Europe... $200, for a jig. No thanks! I wouldn't pay that for a hand plane I'm certainly not going to for a simple drilling guide that can be built from scraps LOL
    – Graphus
    Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 8:33
  • Not made one yet. But will do very soon and let you know. But thanks for your support
    – mustangDC
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 6:13
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    Hey, Graphus, don't forget, if there's something you feel passionate about (like this), you can always ask & answer your own question. You do seem to have a wealth of knowledge, and there's no reason to keep it bottled up waiting for someone else to ask!
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 14:42
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    @FreeMan Yeah I know but I feel a bit cheap doing that, sort of an excuse to get points (although I know it's perfectly accepted practice on SE). But the main reason I'd hold off doing that is because there would be so many LOL
    – Graphus
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 8:33

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