I saw an ad on craigslist for a Jointech 12” router fence positioner which is similar to the Incra LS positioner -has a lead screw, and has what Incra sells as add on – the “wonder fence” as the standard fence. the guy posted it as used, but at what Jointech is selling it NEW… I contacted the person trying to negotiate a win-win situation. that was 2 weeks ago. the jointech fence is still on craigslist. I just couldn’t justify his price for a fence I’m not familiar with, that has no online reviews, when I can get a brand new Incra for about the same amount, which is a proven fence.
after doing some research, I found that my fav. supplier, Lee Valley had the best price and ordered it from them. the fence arrived and had a couple of scratches on them. I contacted LV, and before I even clicked the “send” button, I already got a reply from them (ok – not THAT fast, but I sent the message 11pm, and got a reply before 8:30am the next day! thats FAST). the reply stated that they had already sent a replacement fence system, and a prepaid shipping label for me to send back the first one. that’s Customer Service for ya. I am always impressed with Lee Valley.
So. I got the new fence, and all is well. this fence is phenomenal, and the online videos and brochures does not do it justice. you really have to see it in person to appreciate the design and precision build into it.
That was the GOOD.
now – for the BAD.
I originally designed the phenolic table top with the LS positioner in mind – but since I did not have a way to figure out the distances between fence and router, and fence, router and table. I ended up installing the insert a little too deep into the table, not leaving much room for the reach of the LS positioner (I have the 17” version).
I modeled the Incra 17” LS positioner in Sketchup, and imported it into my router table model, played around with it, until I was happy with a better design and potitioning of the elements on the top:
hence the BAD – I had to recut an opening in the phenolic top. I guess I was too quick to say I won’t be doing that for a while lat time around.
This time, I made the template a little differently. I pretty much repeated the process I did the last time, only I shimmed the pre-template with a thin paper so that the insert would slide in smoothly and not be too tight. I also only routed the template’s straight edges, and then shaped the rounded corners with a rasp – the template was PERFECT.
problem is, when I started routing the phenolic top, on one edge my template bit sneaked up into the collet, causing the bearing to be above the router base, and the router dug into the template, and away from the straight line on the top, I noticed it a little too late (following picture, further errors on left of insert). I fixed the issue with the bit, and continued routing, when on the opposite edge (right side of insert closest error in picture) the bit dug into a part of the phenolic which made the router jump off, and tear a piece of the top off. I guess there was a cross woven part that was harder to route, and the bit got caught in it. I kept my cool, and continued routing all around, and cut the middle with a circular saw. apparently I just have poor luck routing those insert openings – thats 2nd time in a row and 2 out of 2.
so thats the Ugly:
All in all, it’s only cosmetic. the insert fits in beautifully and easily – much better than the tight fit on the previous opening. I’m going to cover the previous opening with a 5/8” insert of phenolic that I have, and may use it in the future if I need more support for the parts being routed. I’ll just flip the table end for end.
At the end of the day, here is the fence installed:
Knowing what I know now, if I had to do it again (or will in the future) I would just order the router top from Incra and forgo all the hassle. this was a part of this project that I really did not like working on.
-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.