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Kreg Deck Jig
Pro deck installation at a DIY price!
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 10-131-2010
While the Kreg Deck Jig is not strictly a woodworking tool, many woodworkers still need it. Our penchant for justifying tool purchases with their utility in building things for around the house sets a precedent for slipping the Kreg Deck Jig in when a new deck is on the Honey-Do list. In addition, the Kreg Deck Jig helps build an attractive deck that won’t need repair anytime soon so that Honey-Do list just might get a bit shorter over the long run.
The Kreg Deck Jig makes use of their extensive background with designing systems for hiding screws that hold things together. The Kreg Deck Jig System shown in this review comes with the jig itself, an instructional DVD, a 6” Deck Jig Drill Bit, a 6” KTX Square drive bit, three 5/16” Spacer Rings, three ¼” Spacer Rings, 2 stop collars, 1 Allen wrench and a case for carrying all that around. Kreg also includes 100-piece starter pack of their Protect-Kote Deck Screws that are specially designed for this jig.
The Kreg Deck Jig itself and most of the parts are made from the same durable plastic material Kreg has been using for years. The drill guide bushings that keep things on the desired angle are made from high-end steel and guaranteed for life. Of course the drill bit and drill driver are made from quality steels as Kreg bits always have been.
There are actually three guide bushings in the Kreg Deck Jig. One in the center is used in most situations and produces the strongest grip. The bushings at the ends are angled to allow you to work close to a vertical obstruction (like a wall) and still drive a screw into the edge of a deck board precisely. The angled guides can also be used when splicing boards together in the field of the deck and for diagonal deck boards.
Protect-Kote Deck Screws
Kreg has lots of experience designing screws that complement their jigs and the Kreg Deck Jig is no different. The Protect-Kote Deck Screws shown in this review were designed specifically to work with the drill guide bushings of the Kreg Deck Jig. The Protect-Kote Deck Screws have a KTX square drive and a self-tapping tip so they go into even tough decking woods easily and hold fast. The screws are a tan color that is very neutral with many wood species and along with the positioning of the Kreg Deck Jig, pretty much disappear. As the name suggests the screws are given a Protect-Kote treatment that helps them resist corrosion in pressure ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quaternary) treated lumber. The Kreg Deck Jig is designed to work with pressure treated, composites and the more exotic hardwoods that are sometimes used for decks.
The Protect-Kote Deck Screw heads have an outer diameter that allows you to drive them right through the drill bushings on the Kreg Deck Jig. That is a huge timesaver along with insuring that the screws are driven straight and in the correct position.
In the Shop
The instruction DVD shows all of the techniques you need to use the Kreg Deck Jig in most situations you can encounter including splicing boards together, working at the ends of the deck with and without obstructions and even using the Kreg Deck Jig with deck boards installed diagonally! The DVD also shows how to install deck boards on stairs with the Kreg Deck Jig.
Setting the Kreg Deck Jig up takes just a couple minutes. All you have to do is install the guide bushing pieces with the included screws and stick the slip-resisting rubber feet into their sockets on the underside. Install the stop collars on the special step drill and square driver bit and you are ready to go.
Actually using the Kreg Deck Jig is simple enough that if you have a problem, you either didn’t read the instructions (or watch the DD) or you did something very wrong. Kreg includes the ¼” and 5/16” spacer rings for a reason. The ¼” rings are used for most good quality decking materials. If you are using material known to expand a bunch when wet, use the 5/16” spacers to give the wood a little more room to move. In either case, the spacer rings make installing evenly spaced boards a no-brainer and a surprisingly fast process.
The underside of the Kreg Deck Jig has a tongue (sort of a fence) that slips between the boards and lets you hold it against the board being screwed down to be sure the angles and screw placement are right and consistent. I understand that there will always be someone out there that can mess up anything but if you can follow the simple instructions the Kreg Deck Jig is virtually goof-proof.
If you need to install one deck or a bunch of them the Kreg Deck Jig can make that process faster while making the deck more attractive at the same time. With a street price of just $99.99 (10-13-2010) you can probably pay for the Kreg Deck Jig by the time you finish the first deck.
Installing decks is not a project most of us want to do every other summer and the Kreg Deck Jig, along with the special high-tech corrosion-resistant screws and proper drainage separation can extend the life of a deck considerably. If you like to do things right and fast at the same time, the Kreg Deck Jig should be high on your must-see list.
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