|Review by RickH||posted 02-26-2008 08:45 PM||37573 views||6 times favorited||17 comments|
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