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Forum topic by Blake posted 10-19-2007 at 04:30 PM 17660 views 20 times favorited 72 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Blake

3437 posts in 2511 days


10-19-2007 at 04:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: incra router table fence saw

I wanted to start a blog on Incra, because wanted to know what you think. I am relatively new to the discovery. For a long time I was an anti-Incra snob. I saw the shiny gold colored aircraft aluminum and the huge price tag and stuck my nose up in the air. It seemed so extravagant and unnecessary.

But I found a used Wonderfence by Incra and made the plunge. I started looking into it and realized that I could not use it to its full potential without its backbone—the positioner. The whole Incra thing has snow-balled on me and now I am a full believer. I guess I have entered the Incra “cult.”

I have a slightly older version of this system (with a brand new positioner):

I built a router table to use the fence with but it was hastily made and somewhat of a prototype. I used an old piece of formika countertop. There are some features I like: fully enclosed cabinet with dust collection, on/off switch on outside of cabinet, casters on base, etc.

My Router Table:

It was not long enough for the Incra positioner so I added a hinged shelf. This worked well because it allowed the positioner portion of the fence to fold down and save space when not in use:

My Router Table with the fence/shelf folded down:

I also had some thick clear plastic that I used to make a few different router plates. All in all the whole thing is alright but now that I have worked some of the bugs out and committed to the Incra system, I am ready to build the ultimate router table. This current table is not accurate enough. The fence is more accurate than the table top. It is not perfectly flat and the plate also sags. I am building the full size table: 32”x43” (no hinging shelf). The store-bought tables are usually 27×43 but my fence is 32” wide.

I also ordered the Incra Magna-Lock router table plate yesterday. I already have the miter gage channel.

But this is what I want to know from you:

  • Do you own Incra equipment or are you an Anti-Incra snob like I was?
  • Do you have some other commercial brand of router table equipment or something homemade?
  • What do you like/dislike about your system?
  • Did you build your own router table? How did you do it? What innovations have you added?
  • Any suggestions for my table?
  • If you haven’t used Incra before, have you checked out their website or ordered a catalog?
  • Please share your experience with Incra products or other router table systems.

Jon3 Has shared his New Yankee style table with us recently. Check out his series HERE. Thanks, Jon3, I like it. I especially like your router lift. How do you like using it? Is it worth the dough? I have never tried one.

I have thought about using their table saw fence system or integrating that with the router table extension. But that is out of my budget for now. Also I figured that dedicated machinery is best if you have room. I don’t have much room but for this it is worth it.

The table saw fence system:
(This is a pretty sweet system but I don’t have the room or the dough)

edp wrote a great article about the value of dedicated machinery and I agree with him. Check out his article HERE. Thanks edp. Besides, figure if I have to set up for an opperation on the router table, then use the table saw, and then go back to the router table… well, you get the point.

P.S. I swear I don’t work for Incra. I just think their system has dramatically changed the way I do stuff. Everything is infinitely quicker, easier, and more accurate. I build jewelry boxes, so this is crucial.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com


72 replies so far

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3963 posts in 2701 days


#1 posted 10-19-2007 at 04:48 PM

Man that full ride TS/Router system is a beaut. I have a funky home-made table that has served me well for its intended purpose (small box work, edge-forming).

routertable

The visible table top rests on a 3/4 plywood “subfloor”
I never use the miter slot, but if I ever redo the melamine top I would put it closer to the bit. I have to put new runners on the vertical positioning jig, as I have chewed into them over the years, but everything works as it stands. If I ever decided to do cabinet work involving dovetails I would probably get a Keller of a Leigh jig, but I don’t do much fine woodworking on a larger scale and would likely to stick to the Kreg jig for the bathroom cabinets and shop tables I see in my future.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2511 days


#2 posted 10-19-2007 at 05:05 PM

How close is the miter slot to the bit? What should it be?

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3963 posts in 2701 days


#3 posted 10-19-2007 at 05:07 PM

Good question. I think on a do-over I would position it about two inches to the left of the insert. Mostly I just reference to the fence with a sled of scrap behind the workpiece.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View cajunpen's profile

cajunpen

14381 posts in 2703 days


#4 posted 10-19-2007 at 07:22 PM

I have the Incra Universal Precision Positioning Jig. I’ve tried it a couple of times, but have not had consistent luck with it. I know it’s just that I haven’t mastered the “learning curve” yet and once I do, I think it is a great addition to my shop.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased." http://www.cajunpen.com/

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

2914 posts in 2533 days


#5 posted 10-19-2007 at 07:42 PM

The incra is a great tool – the learning curve is not for the faint of heart though. I enjoyed using it once I figured out most of the bells and whistles. I don’t use it much at all now though. To fussy and I don’t have the patients for a lot of fussy. That said, if you do a lot of intricate joints and want a lot of variety this is a good way to go. I’ve quite a few friends who have boxes made with the incra and I have a side table that I enjoy a lot whose drawer I made with the incra.

-- Like a bad penny, I keep coming back!

View Jon3's profile

Jon3

494 posts in 2742 days


#6 posted 10-19-2007 at 10:13 PM

Hey Blake. Yeah, I really do like the lift. Of course, I’m coming from a PC698 where you unclamp and twist the little 1HP router up and down to adjust, so nearly anything seems worth it.

Although I bought a fairly high end lift, I do think a lift is worth it. What used to take me quite a long time, and a lot of hand adjustment and lots of trial pieces of scrapwood I feel comfortable doing on the first try.

And a 3HP router is a dream. There really is a huge difference in having a strong router in that table!

I like the Incra stuff. I don’t look down on aluminum stuff. I’ve done some machine work, and I know you can get some crazy good tolerances with precision aluminum.

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2731 days


#7 posted 10-20-2007 at 09:47 AM

I was sort of like you Blake. Not so much a snob if you will. Just balked at the price. However, I’ve been reading here and researching miter gauges and have looked at the Incra as well as Kreg. I have a Kreg fence on my bandsaw and I’m very pleased with it.

I’m like Jon3 with regard to the precision you can get. Thanks for the post. This gives me more info to ruminate. Tom and David Pruett have both posted informative blogs/videos on the Incra and Kreg systems.

I’d be interested to hear more about any research you did before ‘plunging’. Nice setup and post by the way.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View mski's profile

mski

412 posts in 2617 days


#8 posted 10-30-2007 at 04:54 PM

I was a snob till I shopped for a quality dovetail jig
Never regreted getting the 25” LS Positioner.
I haven’t found anything negative yet, ( at first the centering and depth of cut setup cuts annoyed me but now it’s just routine, they make a centering gauge but Incra told me it wasn’t as precice)
Woodpecker table, would have made my own but for about $50 more than materials to make my own already made and flat. Also Woodpecker aluminum insert with the interchangeable rings for different bits, really a good feature!
Working on the drawers, fuctional now so I can finish the rest with the setup.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Got the idea and plans/guide from http://members.toast.net/boatguy/routerstation.htm

First try on a cornerpost double dovetail. It takes a little getting used to the system but if you replay the video while doing it you will catch on. then after that youll get the idea.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I also bought the project book, it has alot of step by step instructions with pictures and drawings, helps alot getting used to the system, neat little boxes and small items to practice with without using alot of precious wood, but very nice projects.

Some of the projects use the wooden Incra hinge, I’m going to either get the hinge plans and drill guide or the Hingecrafter (on sale at Hartville Tools $59) the plans and drill guide are $12.95. at Woodpeckers.

-- MARK IN BOB, So. CAL

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2511 days


#9 posted 10-30-2007 at 06:29 PM

I really like that Cabinet/Table!

So what do you use for centering work and depth of cut setup? I have not bought the centering jig yet. Should I?

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View mski's profile

mski

412 posts in 2617 days


#10 posted 10-30-2007 at 07:06 PM

Hi,
I just do how Incra says in the instructions , a piece of scrap to center then a piece for the depth, then I use that piece for a backing board to eliminate tearout.
I thought the centering jig would save some time/wood but contacted Incra through E-mail and they said they have them but said you get better results from doing the centering cut proceedure so I opted out.
I am going to call them because I was thinking of using one of those centering pins for a router to do it, it seems it would be more accurate than two cuts then eyeballing the center.
Do you have the master template library book and templates? They have the manuals on the Icra site.
I did forget to say that INCRA has the best product support I have ever come across, feel free to call or E-mail them there great!! They even suggest you call because it is easier to answer questions about their products in person.
Mark

-- MARK IN BOB, So. CAL

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2673 days


#11 posted 10-30-2007 at 08:10 PM

I use an Incra Mitre Express and Mitre 1000SE mitre gauge. I considered an incra router table fence but don’t have the room in my shop for how far they stick out the back. The incra stuff is pretty sweet, for sure.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View mski's profile

mski

412 posts in 2617 days


#12 posted 10-30-2007 at 08:31 PM

You can always make a fold down extention and remove the jig when not in use!

-- MARK IN BOB, So. CAL

View Chip's profile

Chip

1904 posts in 2729 days


#13 posted 10-30-2007 at 09:11 PM

I own the Jessem system which is also aluminum extrusions and I have been very happy with it but boy, that setup sure looks sweet.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Karson's profile

Karson

34870 posts in 3037 days


#14 posted 10-30-2007 at 09:36 PM

Blake I’ve got the TS III table system with the router on the right. Like the last picture you posted in the blog.

I use it on the table saw and on the router table. I’ve never used it for dovetails though. I used it for finger joints when I made the hinges for my Joinery Challenge contest entry. using the Incra Hindge Crafter.

I love it. I even put an Incra tube on my sliding table so that I can use the ShopStop for cutting length. I put on a long tube and extension so I can get about 8’ using the Incra tube on the sliding table.

I bought the first TS III that was shipped because i needed a custom size. 44” in depth with a 32” slider. I upgraded it to the LS when it was offered at a discount. So I’ve still got the older slider and I’m thinking about making another router table so that I can have two different bits in at the same time for Stile and Rail cutting. Then maybe I’ll need another for the raised panel.

The only thing that causes a problem is when the jig is set up for the router, then you need to cut a board. So it’s move the jig to make the saw cut and then reset it back to the router. I guess I’ll need to get the second table saw up and running.

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

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12268 posts in 2734 days


#15 posted 10-30-2007 at 10:44 PM

Like Chip, I’m in the Jessem camp.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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