Kreg Foreman Pocket Hole Machine - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

Durably built, quick and easy to use - the Kreg Foreman considerably speeds up the pocket hole joinery process.

Kreg Foreman Pocket Hole Machine

Kreg Foreman Pocket Hole Machine



Pocket hole joinery is easy, quick, and strong enough to use on just about any kind of stress-free joinery that won't be subject to a lot of racking. Which is way it's a popular technique for cabinet carcasses, cabinet face frames, aprons, edge banding, picture frames, and beveled corners. 
 
For occasional pocket hole joinery you can use a simple, cost effective manual jig, like the Kreg Jig R3 or K4. If you use pocket hole joinery on a regular basis, and want to increase your product assembly efficiency, then a pocket hole machine is the way to go. However, you'll find that an automated or semi-automatic machine starting out around the $800 mark. If you don't operate a production shop it's a fair chunk of change to dish out. Happily, the Kreg Tool Company has recently introduced a professional grade, light to medium duty pocket hole machine that is ideally suited for the independent woodworker, hobbyist woodworker, and avid DIYer – the Kreg Foreman DB210.
 
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Light weight and durable construction make it easy to transport

The Foreman is a light weight, compact unit, that can be used on top of a workbench, and then conveniently stored under the bench when not in use. Anyone who totes the unit to and from a job site will appreciate the tough polyurethane body. What I like is that the large rubber pads on the base provide very good adhesive force, so that the unit doesn't move about in use – even when placed on smooth surfaces like a table saw top or linoleum floor. However, there are holes that run through the pads so that you can bolt the unit to a permanent work station.

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Ribbed work surface protects material from debris 
 
The work surface is made of cast aluminum and has a series of grooves that help trap debris that might otherwise mar your material. It also creates some resistance, making the top less slippery than a polished surface. I like this because material doesn't slide around as much when aligning it at the fence. The 14" by 24" top also provides enough surface to handle large panels. You can also use roller stands on either side of the Foreman to help balance really long panels.

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Replacing the bit is quick and easy

Even though the motor and the stepped bit is tucked away under the work surface, replacing the bit is super easy. The aluminum top tilts up and a swing up arm then holds the top in the open position. The motor is connected to two steel rods and can be easily removed by pulling a locking pin. You can then pull the motor off the steel rods, giving you unimpeded access to the quick connect hex drive bit. Snap the old bit out, pop the new one in – completely tool free. A real bonus is that you can install the smaller Kreg Micro Pocket bit for use with thin 1/2" material and narrow material down to 1" wide, or the larger Kreg Heavy Duty bit for thick material when you want to use larger 2-1/2" #14 pocket hole screws. The first time you use either of these optional bits you need to purchase a bushing with the bit. After that, you just need to buy replacement bits. 
 
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Very good dust extraction

When drilling a lot of pocket holes you'll be surprised at the volume of dust chips you can create. The Foreman comes a short length of vacuum hose (white in the inset photo above). If you chose to use the Foreman with a dust extractor (which I highly recommend), then install the supplied hose in the bottom of the unit. This way, 95 percent of the wood chips will end up in the dust extractor. If you chose not to use a dust extractor don't install the hose – the chips will fall directly down out of the bottom of the Foreman.

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Convenient bit and accessory storage

The Foreman comes with a driver bit, Allen key, and bit alignment block – items small enough to be easily waylaid. Placed in the storage bin under the top they're right at your fingertips. I found that even when carrying the Foreman on it's side the bin contents didn't fall out. However, I did notice that when carrying the Foreman on it's side the top tended to open up. Pushing against the top snapped it back into place.

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Easily adjustable fence

Each time you use a different material thickness you need to reposition the fence. Doing so is quick, thanks to clearly visible registration marks milled into the work top. The marks are set for the three most common material thicknesses – 1/2", 3/4", 1-1/2". Cam clamps on either end of the fence quickly lock it firmly in place. The whole process takes less than a minute. I would have liked to see detents at each registration mark, so that you could be assured the fence was level. As it is, you have to visually check both ends of the fence each time you readjust it. Fortunately, aligning the ends of the fence goes very smoothly.

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Adjustable stops help position your material 

There are two fully adjustable spring-loaded material stops integrated into the front of the fence – particularly useful when for repetitive drilling. To use them you simply flick them open with a finger. The stops can be moved to any position along the fence by means of an Allen key. I found that the stops aren't completely flush with the front of the fence – however this doesn't affect the operation of the machine. Occasionally, when material is pushed up against the fence the stops pop open. A minor nuisance.

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Setup block ensures quick, accurate drilling depth

The Foreman comes with a setup block that establishes the drilling depth. You use the setup block in conjunction with the drilling depth adjustment knob located at the back of the clamp arm housing. Once you've dialed in the correct depth you can lock it in place by means of a locking nut just below the adjustment knob. The process is virtually infallible to use, and it takes less than a minute to set the correct drilling depth.
 
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Clamping material in place

Just above the drill bit is an adjustable clamp that holds material securely in place while drilling. In the photo above you'll notice a rubber pad on the end of the clamp that prevents material from being marred. The trick is to set the clamping pressure so that you can just barely slide the material out from under the clamping pad – when you lower the control arm it will apply sufficient pressure on the material to securely hold it in place while the pocket hole is cut. Slip another piece of material under the clamping pad and you're good to drill another hole.

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Control arm moves up and down smoothly
 
The power switch and lock out button are located on the handle on the control arm, and easily manipulated by forefinger and thumb. The control arm moves up and down smoothly.

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The easiest, quickest way, by far, to drill pocket holes

Once you've gone through the process of setting the fence and the drilling depth a few times, you'll find it goes very quickly. And, drilling holes is even quicker – about a second to drill a hole and a few more seconds to move the material so you can drill the next hole.

I found that the 5 amp (3/4 HP) motor plenty powerful when drilling sheet goods solid wood – after all the bit is drilling a fairly small diameter and not overly deep. The question is how the Foreman will stand up to repetitive drilling of dozens or even hundreds of pocket holes at a go. Time will tell.
 
Renovators, cabinet installers, finish carpenters, indeed, anyone who does any amount of repetitive pocket hole drilling, will want to get their hands on a Kreg Foreman. It's much more efficient than using a manual jig, and you're bound to see a quick return on your investment with the time you'll save. 

KEY FEATURES:

  • Power source: 5 amp, 2,800 rpm, 110V motor
  • Dimensions: 15" H x 19" L x 29.5" D
  • Table top: 14" x 23-1/2"
  • Construction: polyurethane base, cast aluminum table
  • Clamping capacity: 1/2" to 1-1/2"
  • Adjustable fence with spring-loaded stops
  • Weight: 20 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 yr
  • Includes: Kreg 3/8" stepped drill bit, dust-collection attachment, drill bit setting block, and owner’s manual

COMPANY:Kreg Tool
MODEL:DB210
PRICE:$449.00
MADE IN:USA
SOURCE:Find a Dealer
November, 2014
Author: 
Carl Duguay
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