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incra i-box a nice little jig

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Review by awlee posted 04-21-2013 05:49 PM 3863 views 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
incra i-box a nice little jig incra i-box a nice little jig incra i-box a nice little jig Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’m a fan of Incra tools and was very happy to get the I-box jig for box joints as a gift. The jig is sturdy, made of extruded aluminum and MDF, and includes an instructional DVD. Set up is easy. The instructions in both the DVD and the handbook are clear and easy to follow. I set mine up for a table saw, though there is an option to set up for a router table too; and one can go back and forth between table saw or router table without much fussing. Set up took me an hour-and-a-half (but I tend to be slow). I’m including a photo that shows the final set up and the position of the wood to be cut. The basic components of the jig: a fence that sits on rails that run in the table saw’s miter slots, and an assortment of platforms, guide blocks, and backer boards to hold and lock the project pieces into place, and an acrylic sheet in front of the jig to prevent dust and chips from kicking up.

The components seem so simple that I wondered if the Incra was much of an improvement over a shop-made jig. After using it, I’d say “yes.” The biggest advantages of the Incra I-box seem to be these:

First, there’s a micro-adjust knob (you can barely see it, but it’s on the far left side in the picture, sticking out the end of the jig) that allows for quick, small adjustments to vary the distance between blade cuts and, thus, to allow for very precise joints. Turning the knob widens or narrows a “saddle” incrementally; the wood rides on the saddle and continually moves along it as you move from dado cut to dado cut. Second, you can easily adjust the jig for any width of dado cut. Third, the dust shield really works and is a big help for safety. Fourth, the backer boards (you can see the sheets of hardboard that sit flush on the front of the fence face) are adjustable, riding on a miter slot in the fence; and so you can move them to the left or right after a series of cuts to maintain some backing and prevent tear out. After using the backer boards for a few projects, you can simply make new ones and slide them into place.

In terms of improvements, I wish the fence were taller and the platform a bit deeper. There’s a fair bit of torque on the wood as it passes over the dado blades, and I found the MDF blocks of the jig don’t really hold the wood snugly. As you can see from the photo, I ended up clamping the wood to the jig itself; and still I found myself taking very slow passes with each cut.

I’m including photos of a wood box that I made using the jig. The box came out well, the jig made pretty quick work of it. The jig is pricey, as of this writing $155 on Amazon. For me, that’s more than I would care to spend if I were making only a very occasional box. But if you make any with regularity, it seems like a good investment.




View awlee's profile

awlee

18 posts in 979 days



6 comments so far

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1234 days


#1 posted 04-21-2013 07:43 PM

Great review.
I love my ibox and don’t feel I overspent. :-)

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View sikrap's profile

sikrap

1021 posts in 2016 days


#2 posted 04-21-2013 08:40 PM

I have one of these and I love it. It might be more expensive than making my own jig, but I can adjust this for different widths very easily and they joints are flawless.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Lwin's profile

Lwin

10 posts in 521 days


#3 posted 04-22-2013 03:48 AM

I have one too awlee and it’s the kind of thing “that only hurts once” as so many tool purchases. Others may say they make their own jigs and really do it, others may say they make their own and never do it, but your making boxes and that’s what counts!

View Lumberpunk's profile

Lumberpunk

196 posts in 994 days


#4 posted 04-22-2013 02:25 PM

Just got one of these for my birthday… assembled but not used yet… seems like a very well made tool. In the instructions it calls for a clamp on the fence so that is part of the design. Looking forward to trying it out when I get back from my trip next week.

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15814 posts in 1524 days


#5 posted 04-22-2013 05:18 PM

I have looked at this jig too. I think that it would make a very nice addition to any shop. Thanks for the review.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Domer's profile

Domer

248 posts in 2024 days


#6 posted 04-25-2013 03:00 PM

I also have one and it works just like it is advertised (imagine that). The set up is easy and the DVD is very helpful.

My first project using it I used a different sized dado blade that I had intended but it did not make any difference. The result was perfect. Nice to have an idiot proof tool.

It also works well with different wood thicknesses so you can use it to make boxes with as I remember it 1/4” wood all the way up to as I remember it 1” thick wood for larger furniture pieces.

I have used it on both my router table and table saw. It works a lot better with plywood on the table saw but that is a function of the blade vs the router bit.

It is not inexpensive but a really nice tool.

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