Incra I-Box Headache

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Forum topic by MillarTime posted 03-11-2014 12:36 AM 5145 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MillarTime's profile


8 posts in 2195 days

03-11-2014 12:36 AM

What in the * am I doing wrong..?
I have watched the video 5 times now; tightened, squared, and triple checked everything I can think of… This is my 2nd test box and every board comes out different.

I mark 1 side of all the boards and always start cutting from that side I start the sides mark-to-mark with the front/back piece (like in the video) the adjustment lock knob is tightened

full size image link:

22 replies so far

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2127 days

#1 posted 03-11-2014 12:40 AM

I don’t know what to say other than that when I get frustrated like that, the best thing for me to do is walk away, shut the shop door and look at it the next day.

I love my iBox but whenever I set up, I look at the instructions. Give me a second and I’ll go take a look….

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View MrFid's profile


877 posts in 1956 days

#2 posted 03-11-2014 12:45 AM

Just cut ‘em by hand! Only kidding, to each their own. I know what it’s like to be frustrated by tools not working like they should.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2127 days

#3 posted 03-11-2014 12:47 AM

Check out p. 8 in the instructions. I suspect this is where you might be going wrong.

You have to do the ‘kiss calibration’ every time and then reference off the first cut.

In other words, once you make your first test cut, then you have to tighten or loosen the pins so that they fit into the test cut they way you want them to.

I don’t know if I’m helping, but don’t give up! Or maybe give up for tonight…..

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29553 posts in 2390 days

#4 posted 03-11-2014 01:47 AM

My IBox is one of the best investments i have made. Not that it’s not possible to have a defective one, but mine come out awesome every time. I watched the video once and followed the instructions in the manual.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View MillarTime's profile


8 posts in 2195 days

#5 posted 03-11-2014 02:31 AM

Definitely walking away from it for 24hrs.

I had this same issue when I previously used it on the tablesaw. this is the 1st time I’ve used it on a router table. The issue seems to be magnified now.

My 1st test box was cut from some MDF I had laying around. I used a scrap piece to do the ‘kiss’ calibration and the pins were very loose. I adjusted the gear-knob and tightened the gap. Then when that turned out all funky, like the one pictured above, I was out of scrap and went to some nice overpriced poplar boards (all I had left…). I did the ‘kiss’ calibration all over again and the test pieces seemed good-ish.

Sigh… I hate messing with dado blades but, I might have to move back to the tablesaw.

View Paul's profile


721 posts in 1617 days

#6 posted 03-11-2014 03:04 AM

Without proper teaching it took me days to get box joints to a level that I found could be workable for drawers. I can’t comment on the bought jig you are using I learned using a homemade jig(well about 4 fences on the home made jig.

The biggest issue is making sure your spacer is exactly the same size as the dado set your using. If you have to go a thousanths smaller and shave away a tiny bit with a sharp chisel.

When you move to the second piece ( the mate to your first piece make sure you use that spacer between the stop) this is what looks to me to be where your mistake was made.


View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2127 days

#7 posted 03-11-2014 10:13 AM

I hope it goes better for you today. I’ve never tried the iBox on my router table, but have had great luck on my TS. I did go through many scraps the first time though.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2629 days

#8 posted 03-11-2014 11:27 AM

I haven’t used the ibox on the router table, only the tablesaw, but from here it looks like something got botched up during the setup process.

It sort of looks like your shorter sides are upside down, but that still wouldn’t account for the gaps.
Are you sure the red knob is in the home position? Are the material platforms tightened down?

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

View MillarTime's profile


8 posts in 2195 days

#9 posted 03-11-2014 09:02 PM

I’ve torn the i-box down to the ground and began the setup process as if I just opened the box. I was able to drastically reduce the errors BUT, they are still there, to a smaller degree.
A few issues I identified:
-SOMETHING is moving. After setting the distance between the blades (of the jig) to lightly fit my test cut (with a 0.75” bit) AND tightening the locking knob, the blades moved further apart to the point that I had to yank the board off the blades each time. This actually worked out for nice snug joints on the test pieces so I cranked the locking knob down even more (a ridiculous amount more…) and continued with my project.
-Using a clamp to hold the pieces on the jig is not just a good suggestion, it is an absolute must. Most specifically on a router table because of vibration and the bit rotation. I’ve been using a clamp all along but, I’ve been using an Irwin Quick-Grip. That type of grip will, and has, moved the workpiece slightly as you tighten it down and it attempts to slide itself to a square position. Don’t use this type of clamp!
-Cheap wood (poplar) and cheap bits make a mess of chips and splintering. DUH

Despite everything I did, the last cuts I made still came out wrong… The width of wood I am using results in just a tiny cut at the end of the pins. (No big deal, I was just going to adjust the width of the pieces on the tablesaw afterwards.) Somehow, from one piece to the next the first/last pins came out different… Like, that tiny last cut came out to no cut at all on the opposite board.

Anyways… I’m taking the jig back to the tablesaw (tomorrow). I give up and need to walk away another 24hrs.

View Jasonjenkins's profile


44 posts in 1655 days

#10 posted 03-11-2014 09:33 PM

have you called Incra yet? There are several posts about there good customer service. I bet they would have some ideas of where to start… Er… Continue?

-- Growing a full beard is proven to instantly improve your handtool skills...

View OldRick's profile


72 posts in 1746 days

#11 posted 03-11-2014 10:13 PM

Hi guys!

Glad this topic came up as I was in my shop for a few days playing with MY Ibox. Interesting to see that someone also has just a tiny bit of material left on the one edge. That is the same problem I was having. Since I was just practicing and not trying to make anything of value, I was using some 3/4 birch plywood remnants I had. I cut them to 3 inch widths and went with 1/2 inch box joints. Sounded like easy division to me. Imagine my surprise when I, too, ended up with just a slight amount of material on the one end. So I measured it. It ended up being 1/8 inch thick. So how in the hell do you divide 3 inches by 1/2 inch and get a remainder of 1/8? So I tried again only this time I cut the boards 2 and 7/8’s. I’ll be danged if it didn’t come out perfect. At this point I’m chalking it up to “SPOOKY MATH”. But since my OCD refuses to let me be content with this answer, I have some 1/2 inch plywood remnants at hand and a brand new zero clearance insert that I will profile with a 3/8’s dado stack. My math tells me I can divide 3 inches by 3/8s and come up with an even 8. It might be a few days or so but I will let you know what I find. There’s got to be an answer.

View AandCstyle's profile


3093 posts in 2309 days

#12 posted 03-12-2014 01:17 AM

I have an Ibox and had a hard time getting it set up correctly. I called Incra and was told enough to get it setup for making 1/4” pins after much trial and error. At that point I decided to NEVER change the setting and ONLY ever make 1/4” pins. The instructions assume that the user is able to make the correct adjustments correctly the first try; there is ZERO troubleshooting to assist if the first try isn’t successful. I only use it on my TS and I have marked on the shims which ones are the ones I use to make my pins. This is all less than ideal, but it is the best I am able to do. Maybe if someone from Incra reads this they will enhance their instructions to include help for those that are less than perfect.

Regarding some of the other issues, if a router bit has been sharpened, that would make the pins slightly undersized.

-- Art

View Bobsboxes's profile


1368 posts in 2716 days

#13 posted 03-12-2014 01:55 AM

I was also stumbling with mine. I downloaded the link on Sandra’s post, to my ipad and took that to garage with me. I followed the instructions and was able to cut very nice 1/2”, and 3/8” box joints. I learned that, you need to use a scrap of same material. Clamp and make a cut in test material, then use that cut to set width of pins, get the fit snug, then flip test piece and begin again. Cut all the pins on that end. My cuts across a 5” board, were within a .001. Hope this helps.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View Dan's profile


714 posts in 1944 days

#14 posted 03-12-2014 02:39 AM

I have the Incra I-box also. What I have found is that it is necessary to be very precise at every step of the process. When clamping a piece in for cutting check to make sure it is flat on surface. If you are blocking it up against a starter piece take time and insure everything is square and flush. My initial mistake was after I watched the video I thought I could go as fast as the demonstrator. Nope.

Also the rail that slides in the miter slot doesn’t afford a lot of stability. It is easy to lift it up without realizing it. I actually squat down somewhat to get level with table and push straight through.\

I can get mine set up fine but making running adjustments with the micro knob has been futile. Once I start I just keep going and hope for the best.

I’ve found I like the looks of the centered box joints and they are much simpler than the math way. I think they look better anyway. I use that 1/4 – 3/8 switchable dado by Freud and it works great.

Hope this helps.

-- Dan

View PRGDesigns's profile


238 posts in 2365 days

#15 posted 03-13-2014 04:00 AM

Call Incra and ask for Mr. Perry McDanial – he designed it. Thanks.

-- They call me Mr. Silly

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