Auto Jig sets the new dowelling standard
Pocket hole joinery has been around for a long time, but I’m always interested to see a new idea for a pocket hole jig. Pocket holes can be finicky to set up for different thicknesses of material, and the AutoJig from Armor Tool is a well-constructed jig. The jig feels heavy duty with all the parts being thick and sturdy. The biggest feature of the jig is the fact that it adjusts for different thicknesses of material quickly and easily. By sliding a handle at the front of the jig, the clamping thickness is adjusted along with the height of the drilling guide. There is also a thumb wheel under the clamp handle to control clamping pressure. The jig clamped the material securely and I had no issues with the wood moving while I was drilling. The movement of the slide handle also moves a holder at the side of the jig which holds the drill bit and depth stop collar. This allows the depth stop collar to be set to the right position quickly and easily.
The jig also has a handy chart on the side which tells you what length screw to use for the material thickness the jig is set to. Armor uses a colour coded system to make it easy to select the right length of screw. Based on the thickness of material, the chart tells you what colour screw to use which will be the correct length. For example, 3/4″ thick material requires 1-1/4″ screws, which are yellow according to the chart. If you happen to be using fasteners from a different company, the chart on the side of the jig does tell you what length to use. One thing I’ve found over the years with other screws is that sometimes an 1-1/2″ screw will get mixed in with 1-1/4″ screws, and without being colour coded you won’t realize this until the end of the screw is poking out somewhere it shouldn’t.
The drill guide on the AutoJig is adjustable for two different hole center spacing applications. Changing the spacing is easy; just loosen a thumb screw, flip the drill guide around, and re-tighten. The jig also has a vacuum connection point, which will help drill bits last longer and drill quicker by removing sawdust. I found that the included drill bit drilled quickly, though some of the holes were a little fuzzy around the edges. This seems to be a common problem with pocket hole jigs. I never put a pocket hole where it can be seen, so this isn’t an issue for me.
I was impressed by the quality of the jig. It’s well constructed, and the adjustment for the clamp is smooth and easy to operate. Underneath the jig, the mechanism that makes it all work is heavy gauge steel, while the colour coded screw system makes it easy to pick the right fastener. I found the included driver bit wasn’t the best quality, but this isn’t a deal breaker. As Canadians, I expect most of us already have a handful of #2 square drive bits around the shop. I would recommend the AutoJig if you are in the market for a pocket hole jig.
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