Kreg Tool Company has had a killer grip on the pocket hole joinery market for years now. Although we think Kreg makes great products, we’re always happy to see competitors step into a market previously dominated by one company. I have done a limited amount of pocket hole joinery using the most minimal Kreg setup available, the Kreg Mini Jig Kit. It’s a single pocket hole jig that you simply clamp to your workpiece. It’s solidly made and serves it’s purpose well, but it’s also a bit cumbersome to work with (mainly in terms of calculating the distance from the edge to clamp the jig to ensure a properly aligned pocket hole). Pocket hole joinery fans everywhere should be very excited to see the disruptive innovation that has been ushered in by the release of the new Porter Cable QuickJig 560 pocket hole joinery system.
When we first saw this thing at the STAFDA tool show, our initial thought was that it looked like complicated overkill for what it does. I’m not ashamed to say our first impression was way off. Porter Cable sent us a QuickJig a few weeks ago, and we’ve had enough time tinkering with it to share our thoughts. The QuickJig 560 is very easy to setup, right out of the box. Onboard storage of the two included square drive bits and the main stepped drill bit keep everything you need close at hand. The main bit storage also doubles as the way to calibrate the stop collar. You only need to do this once, and then possibly after months of use if the collar has worked itself back at all. One of the beauties of this system is that you don’t need to adjust where the stop collar sits based on the material thickness you’re working with, it always stays in locked in the same spot.
A handy dial makes adjusting hole width insanely easy (when you’re drilling a pair of pocket holes next to each other). Setup for a new piece of material is dead simple too, just slide the clamping mechanism down and rotate a knob. Another great feature of the QuickJig 560 is the ability to repeat your exact setup (for pieces the same size), with a simple lift and push of the repeat lever. I knocked out six pieces with dual holes in this softwood in a matter of a few minutes. The Porter Cable QuickJig 560 performed great (and did so with hardwood such at white oak as well).
Once you clamp your piece in, a nifty screw length indicator gives you the recommended fastener length. Porter Cable even chipped in three bags of varying length pocket hole screws (square drive), to get you rolling. The kit also include a vise-grip style clamp which is useful for clamping right angle joints before screwing them together.
If your a neat-freak like I am, you’ll also appreciate that Porter Cable included a dust collection port that you hook up to your shop vac. The feed tray that catches the dust does a great job, but you won’t get 100% collection since you’ll get some chips and dust near the top of the jig each time you withdraw the bit. The dust collection also won’t work if you opt for the alternative horizontal mounting position for the jig (useful if you’re working with particularly long pieces). I suspect most users will use the jig in its normal vertical orientation, and for that, the dust collection functions well and is a solid feature.
After one blissful pocket hole after another, I was seriously trying to find something I didn’t like about the QuickJig 560. Aha, I thought! What if I want to put a really wide piece in. I had used Porter Cable’s integrated stop which keeps your work pieces in the same place each time (it’s adjustable for different width material). I assumed that stop would block doing pocket holes on a really wide piece like a narrow half oval shaped wood shelf which I used some beefy pocket hole screws on to fasten it to the wall. Then I realized the QuickJig’s stop not only adjusts left to right, but it can also be flipped out of the way entirely. It seems Porter Cable’s engineers have thought of just about everything with this one. My guess is I would have shaved about 80% off the time it took me to produce three pocket holes on that wide shelf piece when compared to the Kreg Mini Jig. For some details on a Kreg jig that’s more comparable, check out One Project Closer’s review of the Kreg K4 Jig.
The Porter Cable QuickJig 560 thwarted my attempts to find flaws in it. Also, don’t let it’s somewhat intricate design fool you into thinking it’s complicated or hard to work with. If you do any significant amount of pocket hole joinery, we think the QuickJig 560 is a no brainer. the Porter Cable QuickJig 560 is such a pleasure to work with, you may find yourself making pocket hole joints just for the shear pleasure and ease of it all. The PORTER-CABLE 560 QUIK JIG Pocket Hole Joinery System is available for around $225 via Amazon.