I have used my Kreg pocket hole jig for the past six or seven years with a great deal of satisfaction. It was the K3 model, and I have used it to build a lot of projects around the house.
But, there were these items that came with the kit that I wasn’t sure what to do with. They were a steel plate with a keyhole slot in the middle and four countersunk screw holes on the corners. There is also a clamp that came with it, with a bolt that obviously engaged the plate that could be used to hold work pieces down to a table.
But, I wasn’t about to mortise this into my new workbench. Not on your life.
I had to come up with some way to use this. One Saturday, I saw an episode of the American Woodshop featuring Scott Phillips and the idea hit me. I could do what he did!
First, I needed a block of wood. I had a nice piece of Southern Yellow Pine left over from the workbench build, so I was able to cut it to the size I needed and marked out the width of the plate and set it up to dado out a little material to help hold the plate in place.
There, a nice fit. Now, for the next step, I had to head over to the drill press. After all, I had to remove the material just beneath the keyhole slot to allow room for the bolt on the clamp to drop below the surface of the plate. That was easy work with a forstner bit.
To use this clamp setup, it’s an easy matter of clamping the block with the plate on it into the jaws of my vise, slip the bolt on the clamp into the keyhole slot and then secure the work down to the bench.
Sure, it works as a great hold down, but it works even better as a large face clamp for when I assemble face frames with pocket screws.
After using this set up in the shop for a few days, I do have to ask myself why I didn’t think of that!