I am trying out my new pocket hole jig....I tried it out on a piece of poplar...is the wood too soft to get clean holes? They seem sort of choppy!
I have the basic Kreg pocket hole jig and have used it on all types of wood without problems (Pine, Oak, Mahogany, plywood). I have definitely used it on wood softer than poplar. However, my definition of an acceptable hole might be different than yours. Personally, I have always been impressed with the quality of the Kreg drill bit.
My experience is that the oblique hole that is drilled will have some roughness of the timber but I clean this up (gently) with a chisel though a sharp knife or sandpaper would also do the trick.
The exit holes have been generally clean without need for cleaning up.
As the pocket holes are meant to be hidden the issue of cleanliness is not a problem for me as they are usually in a hidden area.
If you have one of the lower end models (like mine) you have to use C-clamps to hold it to the wood. If it's not solidly clamped to both the jig and the work surface, that can cause messy holes. There's usually a little "frayed edge" on the exit hole, but it's very easy to sand off.
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