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The best table saw (and shop) accessory I have ever owned

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Review by RickH posted 02-26-2008 08:45 PM 30643 views 6 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
The best table saw (and shop) accessory I have ever owned The best table saw (and shop) accessory I have ever owned The best table saw (and shop) accessory I have ever owned Click the pictures to enlarge them

At the first woodworking show I attended years ago I became aware of the Incra table saw fence systems, and bought their first version almost 10 years ago. I upgraded to their LS system (lead-screw) about 4 years ago by purchasing a new postioner w/machined fence, which is even easier to use.

What the Incra fence does is allow for precise and repeatable fence alignment on your table saw:

> Precision – allows adjustments as fine as .001”, though their standard measuring method is done by 1/32”. You select the dimension you want down to the 1/32” by positioning the fence according to the SS magnetic ruler attached on the positioner. (This is because the 32”positioning screw has precisely machined threads @ 1/32”). That alone is fine for most work. If you need finer adjustment you can use the micrometer knob for additional increments of .001”.

> Repeatability – You can instantly go to any measurement desired and know that it will be spot-on. Once the fence is aligned to your blade you can make any variety of cuts you want and always achieve an exact and precise dimension. This feature alone saves hours of work – you can just set the fence to your desired dimension, make the cut, and know that it will be exactly that. No creeping up on the dimension you want, no more boards cut too small, no more trying to nudge the fence over a hair. Just cut and go. Fantastic. Huge time saver.

Incra promotes their table saw and router table line of LS positioning fences as also useful for cutting dovetails and box joints. All that is certainly possible, and they include extensive instructions and ruler templates for doing that. I installed their router table option on the left side of my table-saw so I can slide over the entire LS fence system for router table use as well – slick! Works great for that as well.

But I have found the greatest value from this fence is simply from the ease and accuracy of normal cutting.
The company also stands behind all their products with lifetime warranties, hardly needed as the build quality is great.

If you can attend one of the Woodworking shows be sure to check out the Woodpecker’s booth for a full demonstration as my brief description here hardly conveys it’s full functionality. You need to see it in action.

There are 2 websites to also check. Taylor Design Group is the designer of this product, manufactured and distributed (Wholesale only) by Incra – http://www.incra.com. The retail side was handled primarily by Woodpecker’s – http://www.woodpeck.com, who are the ones you see at the shows, and more and more now through woodworking stores as well. I found the best prices to be at the shows because of the volume business they do there. You will also find a lot of other very useful woodworking tools and accessories for your table saw, routing, and measuring (precision rules and marking).

I installed this fence system on my Craftsman 10” contracter’s table saw, and even though this is an old design, no longer made, and there are newer and slicker saws available these days – with this fence installed I get speed and precision cutting. Combining this fence with a low-vibration drive belt, quality blade installed and using zero-clearance inserts this saw cuts as cleanly and accurately as any.

Be aware that this fence system requires the installation of their side rails, which replace whatever your saw originally came with. So first installation can take some time, but Incra allows for many different mounting options and includes all hardware. Also be prepareed to then further tune-up your saw if needed, because once you have this fence installed you will see how a vibration free, aligned, sharp and true-running blade is needed to get the accuracy the fence can deliver. But then – you would want that out of your table saw anyway.

And no – I do not work for any of these companies. I am just a long-time hobbyist woodworker who appreciates well made quality tools that perform well. Bottom line – the Incra fence is a great product.

-- Rick - OC, CA




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RickH

18 posts in 2405 days



17 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2478 days


#1 posted 02-26-2008 09:13 PM

You really know how to hurt me don’t you.

I have been looking at this for some time now trying to work up the initiative to spend the money. Like you I have a Craftman saw and the fence is not well designed (to put it diplomatically). I have been debating about this and the router fence. Maybe both who knows. I was concerned about the install since I tried the delta T2 and did not like the way it went on the saw.

What model number of saw do you have? I would like to compare it with mine.

You make it really difficult to pass this up but by the same token if I buy it then I can forget about the sawstop that I would love to have.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 2531 days


#2 posted 02-26-2008 10:27 PM

I would like to get the whole Incra product line. To see the demos at a woodworking show, it looks like the projects will just build themselves.

View Tom Adamski's profile

Tom Adamski

306 posts in 2427 days


#3 posted 02-26-2008 11:50 PM

Years ago I had an old P.O.S. table saw that with a lot of t.l.c. did some respectable work. I would drool over the incra, but when reality set back in, I knew it would be the silk purse from a sows ear thing. Since I did not want to (read couldn’t) spend the money for a new saw and incra fence, I opted to do the incra and the offset router table since I did not want to hang the router on the saw either. To make a long story short, I now have a new Delta with the T2 fence and it works very well and after using a dedicated router table, I don’t want to combine the two.

Now I’m torn, do I need the accuracy of the incra for my table saw in addition to my router table? Another direction I was thinking about going is to get the Wixey. It would allow me some added precision while allowing me the use of mt T2. Any comments?

-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsman can hide his mistakes.

View RickH's profile

RickH

18 posts in 2405 days


#4 posted 02-27-2008 12:37 AM

To Scott: I have a Craftsman model 113.299315, circa early 1990’s, contractor table saw. The table size of that saw was – and apparently still is – very much standard, so the Incra fence mounts on it quite well. I custom made a RH table of the same depth as the cast iron top, as the supplied front & rear fence rails are much longer than std. See the photos to see what I mean. You need the extra width to accomodate the fence 32” adjustment, but that extra side width helps any saw anyway and this is one way to accomlish that if you just have a standard top only. Incra sells a leg set to support the rails – I made my own to do the same while supporting a melamine top and cabinet underneath.

The only issue I had with the Incra fence installation was the Sears blade guard/splitter which mounts from under the saw top at the rear, and protrudes back, up and then over the blade. To avoid the rear Incra rail from interfering with this the installation instructions ask that you cut the rail there to provide a gap for the guard. I did not want to break up the rail continuity (as I needed the rails to support a router table top on the left) so my solution was actually pretty simple – I made a wooden extender block that pushed back the guard mount so that it then wrapped around the Incra rail as well. Yes – it moved the entire blade guard back a few inches, but I use an insert mounted Micro-jig splitter right behind the blade anyway, and the guard still fully covers the blade with no problems.

-- Rick - OC, CA

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RickH

18 posts in 2405 days


#5 posted 02-27-2008 12:56 AM

To Tom Adamski: I think anyone who uses a table saw can use high fence accuracy – it just allows for better work and saves time. But to your point – it appears there are now more options on how to achieve it. I think you are referring to the Wixey “Saw Fence Digital Readout”, which I only recently became aware of -www.wixey.com. I have not used the Wixey, but in reviewing their web site for this unit it appears to mount on it’s own thin rail (which mounts under your std saw front fence rail) from which it takes a signal to give you a distance reading. Other than appearing to be a bit fragile there is no reason this cannot work well to give you the accuracy and precision I referred to with the Incra.

However – if you only have a standard size saw, such as a contracter’s saw, your fence travel is limited to the right, so you would want to extend that – a’la a big cabinet saw – anyway. This means you have to buy new fence rails. So with the Incra LS system these rails are included.

The other thing I like about the Incra fence that I did not mention is that you can set it up to be absolutely parallel to you table top miter grooves. Just by setting the locking handle it is pretty rock solid, but you can also lock down each end of the fence to the front and rear rails by tightening finger knobs. Doing that totally guarantees a fence setting that will not budge and is still exactly parallel to your table top (and hopefully to your blade as well).

As to the router table being mounted on the left side – while I agree that there are advantages to a separate router table, since I already had that this setup gave me a 2nd router table that can also use the Incra dovetail joining system thru the same LS fence. It also extended my table saw top more to the left for support of larger pieces. And sometimes it is nice to be able to route deep into a workpiece – something that most router tables are too small to accommodate.

I am not familiar with the T2 fence, but it sounds good. If you go with the Wixey let us know how it works out.

-- Rick - OC, CA

View Grumpy's profile

Grumpy

19467 posts in 2508 days


#6 posted 02-27-2008 01:37 AM

Very neat piece of equipment , would love to have one but what would I do with all those hand made jigs?.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View motthunter's profile

motthunter

2141 posts in 2455 days


#7 posted 02-27-2008 02:57 AM

i think this is great also… Can make a saw with defects into a good saw and make a good saw into a great one.

-- making sawdust....

View DaveH's profile

DaveH

400 posts in 2435 days


#8 posted 02-27-2008 03:04 AM

I’m crying already! It will be years before I can afford the incra fence system.

-- DaveH - Boise, Idaho - “How hard can it be? It's only wood!”

View woodup's profile

woodup

145 posts in 2599 days


#9 posted 02-27-2008 04:24 AM

I saw the incra products in action a couple of years ago and I still have a craving to someday get the setup. ‘Oh the things I could do….’, keeps my imagination going that I will someday get it. Nice write up. It only confirms my gut feeling that this is a great addition to have. I did start my incra collection with the 6” T-rule. lol, got to start somewhere. Michael

-- Michael, Fort Worth, TX. "I wood if I could!"

View Tom Adamski's profile

Tom Adamski

306 posts in 2427 days


#10 posted 02-27-2008 06:49 AM

Rick… Thanks for the input. I’ll have to think abouth this for a while…

Tom

-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsman can hide his mistakes.

View mtnbikecrash's profile

mtnbikecrash

31 posts in 2424 days


#11 posted 02-28-2008 09:16 PM

I have been agonizing for about three weeks about what to do with my current shop. I had some money set aside to upgrade tools and was having a hard time deciding what to do. Finally I decided and two days ago purchased the Incra TSLS Wonderfence combo for my grizzly 1023SL. It’s too bad Rick didn’t write this review about two weeks ago. I might have went ahead with my decision and already had that thing in my shop!!! Oh well, I guess I can be patient and wait until it gets here. I just hope I like it as much as you did, Rick

Thanks, Jason

-- JD - Sand Springs, OK - "You can't steer a car that isn't moving..." Unknown

View TroutGuy's profile

TroutGuy

223 posts in 2368 days


#12 posted 04-01-2008 04:07 PM

I first saw this fence system a couple of years ago at a show in Denver. I’m still drooling…

My solution was to mount my old faithful IncraJig Pro w/28” fence on my Bosch 4000 TS (see the pics in my workshop). Yeah, it’s a bit of a PITA to have to indicate the fence in, every time I have to remove it, but it WORKS! It has never failed to do what I needed it to do, including cutting coves in 16’ 2×6’s for my deck stair’s handrails.

I wish they made a smaller version of this that would fit my smaller TS…

-- There is nothing in the world more dangerous, than a woodworker who knows how to read a micrometer...

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2645 days


#13 posted 04-01-2008 06:47 PM

I have their router fence, and I think it’s great.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Chris 's profile

Chris

1867 posts in 2648 days


#14 posted 07-03-2008 06:59 PM

Iknow this is an older review; however, you answered some lingering questions I had with the system. Thanks!

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View degoose's profile

degoose

7014 posts in 2011 days


#15 posted 04-15-2009 01:25 PM

I have had the TS LS 32 for a while now and it is great, repeatable and accurate!!!
Allows me the flexibility to do things I could only dream of doing without it!!!!
I have it set up on Carba-tec 12 inch table saw. Also have the mitre express, mitre 2000Se, build it jig and the 6 inch rule set.. next aquisiton is the router table ls wonder fence and router lift combo

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ lazylarrywoodworks.com.au For lovers of all things timber...

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