Shop Stuff #1: $12 Incremental Stop Block

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Blog entry by SPalm posted 487 days ago 2280 reads 13 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Shop Stuff series Part 2: Fingernail Gouge Sharpening on the WorkSharp »

An incremental stop block is a stop block for a fence that can be moved in precise increments or can be removed and then returned to exactly the same spot at a later time. This is how Incra got its name. I am too cheap to buy an Incra fence, so instead I spend hours trying to save a buck or two. Go figure. I mostly like the feature of being able to put the stop block exactly back where I had it earlier – and I use pencil marks, not the ruler.

I had posted an incremental stop block a couple of years ago in a blog that used threaded rod. While it worked OK, it had a couple of problems; it wasn’t strong enough for heavy use and it wasn’t portable to a new fence once the old fence wore out. I wore it out.

So I decided to go simple and strong with a new design. I went and peeked around the Incra website and found the replacement racks for some of their fences. These are plastic like Legos, but have precision teeth on one surface that are spaced 1/32 inch apart. They are 6 inches long and attach with two screws. When two racks are mated to each other they are really locked in place. They are very durable while only costing $2 each. So I bought 10 of them, and used five for this project.

I bought them by going to this web address:
And then selecting item number 16 from the pull down list on the right hand side:

ID#16 – PULT – 500600 [Add $1.95]

I mounted 4 of the racks to a strip of 1/8 inch thick aluminum. A pair of mated racks is about 5/8 inches so this sits nicely on top of a plain old 3/4 inch ply or MDF fence. (I am old school and don’t like aluminum fences yet. I cut new zero clearance slots all the time. I made a new fence for these pictures). Then I mounted the aluminum strip on a piece of two inch tall, half inch ply. This assembly is now removable and can be mounted on a new fence. I also installed a row of small magnets to securely hold a ruler.

I then made a stop block with a rack inside and it also has a T-nut for the lock knob. It is kind of wide looking, but the screw holes in the racks are 4 inches apart. It hangs down 1 inch on the back and all the way to the table on the front. There is about an 1/8 inch gap on the inside when the lock knob is screwed out.

It works a charm. It’s inexpensive. It’s strong. Removal, moving, and re-installing the stop block is very smooth and easy. The whole thing can be moved to another fence in minutes.







Three items that immediately pop to mind that are missing from this design:

Micro Adjust is used to hit the spots between the 1/32 increments. The aluminum bar actually has slotted mounting holes in it so it could slide side to side with a screw adjustment on the side but I could not get this to work consistently and it added a lot of slop. Alternatively the side of the stop block could have a protruding adjustment screw. Or just use shims. 1/32 inch works for most projects.

Flip Stop is use to get the stop block quickly out of the way. This requires a hinge which is easy enough, but causes weakness and slop in the system. The block is easy to remove. Maybe I’ll add it at a later date.

Thin or Pointy Stock Catch is used to keep work-pieces from wedging under the stop block. It is implemented by adding a small groove near the bottom of the fence and a protruding tenon that rides in the groove. This could easily be added.

Comments and suggestions are welcome. I just think this is kind of nice trick to add to a fence for any number of tools.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

21 comments so far

View Woodwrecker's profile


3582 posts in 2201 days

#1 posted 487 days ago

Outstanding Steve !
Definitely something I’ll have to add.
Thank you for the very done post on it.

-- Having fun...Eric

View ruddy's profile


396 posts in 1565 days

#2 posted 487 days ago

Beautiful! Thanks for posting.

-- And my head I'd be a scratchin'

View stefang's profile


12874 posts in 1960 days

#3 posted 487 days ago

Ingenious Steve. Amazing what a couple of bucks and some brains can do. Unfortunately non of these great ideas work on my Euro machine, but I do enjoy seeing them anyway. I’m sure there will soon be a shortage of these Incra fence parts.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View peteg's profile


2856 posts in 1449 days

#4 posted 487 days ago

Steve, I’m not into cabinetry, but I can see how this would be a godsend addition to any sawbench & someone trtying to achieve accuracy & the ability to go back for repeat cuts.
Give a thinking Man a problem & time to solve & an answere will come forth, guarantee it
well done :)

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View MShort's profile


1725 posts in 2044 days

#5 posted 487 days ago

GREAT way to spend $12 and save a bundle. Excellent idea !!!

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View SPalm's profile (online now)


4784 posts in 2508 days

#6 posted 487 days ago

You can get the racks from Incra in metric for the same price :)


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11295 posts in 1731 days

#7 posted 487 days ago

Steve, that is really neat. Thanks. I need to make one like that for our miter saw in Arizona

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Roger's profile


14318 posts in 1430 days

#8 posted 487 days ago

Fantastic, Steve. Wow, now that should produce some very precise measures. Thnx for the link too.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View Karson's profile


34870 posts in 3026 days

#9 posted 487 days ago

Steve: If you were to modify your stop and include something like the Incra stop. then you’d be able to get it dialed in to the actual cutting edge of the blade and get to .001”.

I’ve found out that I need two stops on the fence at the same time. If I’m doing a wrap around grain match I need a both a length and a width at the same time and I use a hinge to allow one to get out of the way.

The project where I used them are here

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View SPalm's profile (online now)


4784 posts in 2508 days

#10 posted 487 days ago

Thanks guys.

Karson, the wrap around grain procedure is exactly why I rebuilt this stop block. Except I just pop the fence back and forth, then I only need one, and it does not have to be a flip stop :)
But I still want the micro adjust as an option.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Karson's profile


34870 posts in 3026 days

#11 posted 487 days ago

By the way Steve they have the metric parts in a set of 10 for $17.95 and it includes scales and other metric parts.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View Karson's profile


34870 posts in 3026 days

#12 posted 487 days ago

Steve about 10 years ago the had a clearance special of the Aluminum tracks in 30” length. I bought 6 of them for less than $10.00 a piece. I’ve used them on drill presses and other jigs.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View patron's profile


13001 posts in 1967 days

#13 posted 487 days ago

yup … some cheap you are

but some smart too

i can see these in various uses


-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View JL7's profile


7103 posts in 1591 days

#14 posted 487 days ago

Very clever Steve…...I’m sure you will figure out those missing features…...well done…

-- Jeff - I have not failed. I've just found 10,002 ways that won't work.

View rance's profile (online now)


4128 posts in 1786 days

#15 posted 487 days ago

I remember that unit you blogged. You might link to it above for ease of others finding it. It is still one of my favorite favorites. I just loved your ingenuity and cleverness.

This too is a boon in cleaverness. For micro adjust, add a 10-32 bolt that uses a flat-bladed screwdriver into the right side of your block. One turn gives you 1/32” adjustment. Put it in with Loctite(blue) to tighten it up a bit and eliminate the need for a lock nut.

Again, well done.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

showing 1 through 15 of 21 comments

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