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Incra - what's the point ?? ;o)

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Aragorn

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Just looking at the wonderful joints that are shown to advertise the Incra router table fences.
:shock: Fantastic!
Inlaid DTs with the kind of accuracy I've only ever seen with a Leigh. :wink:

Questions are:
Does anyone with the Incra fence on their router table use it for fancy joints of this kind ??
If so, would you recommend this system ??
What other general uses do you have for it where you would choose it above, say, the TS, Leigh, Woodrat, handtools ??
If you are in a position to compare, would you rate this method above the Leigh/Rat for DTs ??
What does the Incra fence/router table combo offer you that would be hard to do with some of the other jigs commonly used ??

As you can probably tell, I'm considering upgrading my whole router table setup, and I'm trying to evaluate the cost benefit over just keeping it as I have it (very basic setup).
I'd love to know more from users what kind of versatility and efficiency is offered by this system.

Any comments appreciated. Please feel free to gloat as much as you like about your wonderful Incra fences :wink: Ta!
 

Chris Knight

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Aragorn,

I don't use my Incra for dovetailing - I think it makes rotten dovetails actually!

I do use it for a number of other things however that are made easy by the precise positioning possibilities of the fence and the repeatability (returning to a position - exactly - you have previously established).

These things are mainly

1. Sliding dovetails
2. Tenons
3. Box joints
4. Grooving and slot cutting
5. Rebating

Of course you can do these things in other ways but the Incra makes them all hit and no miss.
 
A

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I would have written exactly what Chris has, but he beat me to it

The incra is superb and its repeatability unparalleled
 

Aragorn

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I'm surprised to hear it's so poor at DTs. Especially since these make up the bulk of the marketing photos.
Why is it so poor? Or is it just that Leigh/Rat are so much better?
How do you get on with having to have so much width to accomodate the fence? Do you find it turns your router table into a bulkier-than-necessary item?
 
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Aragorn

To be fair, I haven't tried it on DTs as I have the Leigh and now prefer to hand-cut them when I can

I posted a link to my new router table on here a while back and the shape fits nicely into a corner where the extended rear section is pretty snug and so I do not find it a problem. I am poretty happy with the size of the table - Norm's design :wink:

However, I did need to make a new router table to use it as my original (shop bought) one was too narrow :roll:
 

Chris Knight

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Aragorn,
Re dovetails. First I confess that I have limited experience with the Incra in this area - precisely because I did not like my first few attempts and have not persevered - having alternatives.

However - FWIW, The Incra suffers from the usual problem of a fixed jig layout - at least using their supplied templates, although I have seen in the past (on the web) a nifty program for making your own templates. That problem is that you need to match a template to the width of stock you are using. Neither the Leigh, nor the Rat suffer from this.

The Incra templates are also based on horrid dovetail cutters - 14 degrees for example - nothing approaching the elegance of the Rat cutters. The cutting of through dovetails, using only the dovetail cutter - where other jigs use a straight cutter for the pins, requires the judicious use of a chisel and whilst not in itself a problem, leave an odd shaped pin in my view at least.

For half blind dovetails wider than the dovetail cutter, I have not found a way to make something as neat as the corresponding Leigh joint. There seem to be several useless cutouts - which whilst unseen in the finished joint, certainly don't contribute to its strength.

Re bulkiness. Yes, I think the system is bulky and I can think (minus a few critical details!) of at least one (rather obvious) way of making a huge space saving using the Incra tooth system. If I get really bored, I may do this one day - or perhaps I can persuade our JigMeister Tony to do it instead!

HOWEVER - with all its drawbacks, I love it.
 

Aragorn

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Thanks guys.
I'm getting the feeling that, unless you already have one (and love it), there's not much to favour making the upgrade if you have other ways of cutting the joints already established. Especially given that, for me, the upgrade will also involve making a new router table to accommodate the beast!
Am I missing something here?
 

Woodythepecker

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While on the subject of Incra what are the main difference between the Incra Twin Linear 21" and the 25" LS Super Fence System.

Regards

Woody
 

Neil

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Well, I'm a bit of an Incra newbie and I haven't tried it for dovetails yet - I saw this as more of an added bonus feature rather than a reason to get it. In fact I must admit I don't even like the double-dovetails :oops: I was almost completely influenced by Chris' recommendation of the Incra for making items such as full extension drawer runners, combined with my desire to emulate some of the 'wood engineering' in my favourite ‘inspiration’ book, 'Solid Wood Cabinet Construction' by Franz Karg. Also I love box joints and the Incra is great for these. I thought the Ultra-Lite was big enough for my needs and pretty reasonably priced (£140) so I got it and have no regrets, in fact the only tool which ranks above it as my favourite (at least until later this week... :wink:) in my admittedly pretty limited tool collection is the Festool saw.

waterhead37":1yalblda said:
The Incra templates are also based on horrid dovetail cutters - 14 degrees for example - nothing approaching the elegance of the Rat cutters.
I swapped the racks on my Incra for metric ones, and after doing this you cannot use the Incra templates. Now this didn't worry me at all as I knew I could make my own, but when I started working it out I realised that you can use whatever dovetail cutters you like (including the Woodrat ones :roll:) because the template spacing is a function of cutter geometry AND depth of cut - you just need to find a depth of cut close to what you want which results in spacings in some multiple of 1mm or 1/32" depending on which racks you have installed.

Re: the big router table required - I love all that real estate because it is great for template routing, but I must admit I wouldn't have wanted to try to accommodate an Ultra - I think Tony's solution of taking a saw to the Incra was the best idea to get around this!

Cheers,
Neil
 

bg

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Neil":1bt6u310 said:
I swapped the racks on my Incra for metric ones
Neil
Hello Neil,
seeing your reference to metric racks I've just been perusing Incra and Woodpecker web sites, but I have not found a reference to metric racks. Well its late in the day and my eyes are tired, so I may well not be seeing straight, but to help this poor old woodworker out I would be grateful if you could let me know if I can change my 'inches' incra positioner to a metric one and if so where to get the bits from.
Thanks
BG
 

Noel

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Neil - "full extension drawer runners"? Please explain.


Cheers

Noel
 

Chris Knight

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Noel,

I think Neil is probably referring to these drawer runners in a table I made. They are indeed full extension slides and need very accurate cutting to work well. The Incra makes it fairly straightforward to achieve such accuracy

 

Philly

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Hi Aragorn
Only just read this one-I have an Incra Ultra-lite.
To me, the Incra is how I would like the fence on all my machinery to be-simple to adjust, accurate, easily to re-position (an important feature),micro adjustable. The 90 degree mitre sled thing is awfully handy, too.
As to joint cutting ability-when you read the manual through lightbulbs start going off. You can cut some clever stuff (although you realise that this can be done with other methods/machines when you think about it!) The dovetails are good, although I think (as Chris mentioned) they are more "showy" than "strength" :wink:
As with all jig/systems, there is a learning curve but it is not particulaly hard. I found it showed up the accuracy of my table saw a lot. (that is now fixed, thtank you Woodford :wink: ) You can batch cut pieces, as with other systems, too.
Bottom line-it is a very versatile system, and the more you use it the more you get out of it. As to if it is better than the Rat/Leigh/whatever, they all have their strengths and weaknesses.
It is nice to use the router table to it potential, though!
Cheers
Philly :D
 

Neil

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waterhead37":2z8m7976 said:
Noel,

I think Neil is probably referring to these drawer runners in a table I made.
Thats them - thanks, Chris :) - and it was lovely to see them again as well! Noely, almost anything with a drawer in Karg's book uses these or a variation of them - along with lots of other nice examples of wood engineering such as wooden hinges, door latches, castors etc. Inspirational stuff!

bg":2z8m7976 said:
I would be grateful if you could let me know if I can change my 'inches' incra positioner to a metric one and if so where to get the bits from.
BG, you have to get them direct from Incra in the US I'm afraid - they are very cheap ($6), but I don't know how the carriage worked out (do you remember, Tony?) as they gave me mine free :D. Just email customerservice@incra.com and they will sort it out for you. Oh - I just thought - you don't have the LS positioner, do you? If you do, I'm afraid that there is no conversion kit as far as I know, as it would involve changing the (very expensive) lead screw as well.

Go on, Aragorn, you know you want one :p - £140 isn't much...

Cheers,
Neil
 

Gill

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Until I read this thread, I had no idea what the Incra fence was all about. I must say, I'm intrigued by its potential, especially at a cost of £140.

Isn't it time that somebody wrote a proper review?

Gill
 

Neil

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Woodythepecker":3cjv83by said:
Oh well :roll:
Sorry, Woody :oops:

The LS Super-duper uses a lead screw, the Twin Linear uses racks. The advantage that Incra claim for the LS is that there is no limit on your microadjustment - on the rack models, if you are a bit disorganised and don't reset your microadjustment back to zero now and then, it is possible to run out of adjustment (I think it has a range of +- 5/32"). I've never had a problem with this in practice so I wouldn't say its a big issue. If you want a metric Incra, I am 99.9% sure that there is no conversion kit for the LS.

Hope this helps :)

Gill":3cjv83by said:
Isn't it time that somebody wrote a proper review?
Gill, I've been thinking this too. I guess I could do it, or maybe I could do the dog-work and Chris/Philly/Tony could help me by adding a bit more 'experienced input'? :oops:

Cheers,
Neil
 

Woodythepecker

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Thanks Neil, i was just interested to know the differences between the two.

I will have to go and investigate some more.

Regards

Woody
 

Noel

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Thanks Chris and Neil about the drawer slides. This is the first time that I've thought that the Incra could actually be useful. Cheers.

Noel
 

Noel

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Neil, think I may have to drop in with you next time I'm down your part of the world, which might be in a week or two.

Rgds

Noel
 
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