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My Incra router table build

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Sporky McGuffin

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Be forewarned that thus isn't going to be another fawning Incra-worship thread, and my recommendation is not to buy one of these combos - they are vastly overpriced and under-engineered. Buy the positioner, if you want the joinery stuff (and can afford to add all the other things you need to make it work), but you can do better on all the rest.

Anyways. I've had home-built router tables, originally just a plate sunk into my workbench, then added the blue Axminster lift, then a new table hung off the back of my tablesaw with a dust enclosure. However, I'd never done a proper fence which was limiting what I could do with it. I'd considered the Axminster cast iron table but emailed WWW for suggestions. My Axminster lift wouldn't fit the Incra table, but my Bosch GMF1400CE will fit the Incea lift so I figured I could sell the old lift (turned out to be a poor assumption on my part!). Ended up spending nearly double what I'd planned but reassured that the Incra gobo was great.

First job; assemble the stand. Which is rubbish. The corner posts are aluminium extrusions, and there are powder coated mild steel stringers to fix 'em together. The stringers attach via bolts and nuts; the nuts slide into the extrusions. Thus means there is absolutely no positive, built-in squaring of the base. On mine one of the stringers had a big gouge in the powdercoat which was clearly there when it was packed. Thanks Incra. Why try harder, eh? Two hours of swearing later and the ******* thing is assembled and square. You'll need some extra washers here, Incra think that tightening a bolt head straight onto a soft powder coat is fine.

We'll skip over the godforsaken wheel kit at this point. It really is dreadful. Put the thing on a proper wheeled base instead.

Next job is to encase the stand - thanks to MikeK for the inspiration. Bit of 12mm ply in the back first:

IMG_0389.JPG


Then the sides and base, and a housing slot in the back for the mid panel to come. So far so good.

IMG_0391.JPG


Because of the whole aluminium extrusion thing, to put drawers in you need spacers. So I made some. The mallet has already had both practical and therapeutic application.

20211113_151447.jpg


And three bits of poplar (because that's what I had) to make a partial frame at the front. You can see one of my eBay special drawer slides too. Incra could learn from whoever made them; they're cheap and work perfectly.

20211113_151441.jpg


Next the middle panel goes in, secured with pocket screws, and then the drawer slides using a spacer block to get them to line up. Then everything comes apart for painting.

20211120_105558.jpg


20211120_105607.jpg


And back into the frame.

20211120_110402.jpg


Imagine yet more swearing; this is my first time making drawers. The drawers are actually fine - 12mm ply front, back, and sides, 6mm base in a housing, pocket screwed together. Getting the base square enough for them to work is another matter and requires a lot of shims, more swearing, and more applications of the mallet.

By this stage I really wish I'd just built a damned cabinet out of 18mm ply. It'd have been quicker, easier, and better. Ho hum. The good news is that it gets a bit better from this point on.
 
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Droogs

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I love a good MIP (Moan In Progress)
you have my sympathy, It's a right teeth grinder when something doesn't live up to the hype
 

Sporky McGuffin

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Actuly, that's pretty much it. I added some beautifully ratty drawer fronts made from a Duropal offcut from my last kitchen. Horrible stuff to work with - brushed aluminium skins on each side of pure evil.

20211121_184520.jpg


Not much less ratty inside, but functional.

20211121_184533.jpg


Waiting for some hinges to put a door on the other side, at which point I'll divide the left just below the dust port.

Here's the finished doodad:

20211121_184920.jpg


Here's where Incra left sharp bits on the edge banding. Of a £1300 combo.

20211121_185556.jpg


20211121_185614.jpg


Here's where they couldn't be pineappled to polish or even tidy up the steel endplate of the positioner. You can also see some of the swarf from chopping off the Ali extrusion. On a £1300 combo.

20211121_185648.jpg


The recommendation for squaring the fence is to add masking tape where it attaches to the positioner. Masking tape on a £1300 combo. Only one layer isn't enough, and two is too much, so now I need to buy some accurate shim stock.

Finally the lift; it is not as good as the Axminster. The cheap plastic handle had a sharp unfinished bit where it was cut off the sprue and not cleaned up, and the knob had been put on so tight it wouldn't turn. The Axminster has a lovely aluminium handle, and, more importantly, can be zeroed via the rotating collar on the indicator.

20211121_184714.jpg


Not sure if it's clear in the photo, but if the Maglock rings, two weren't polished, and still had rough edges. On a £1300 combo.

My suggestion, therefore, is to buy the positioner (budgeting for the bit set you'll need) and fence, but get the superior Axminster lift, and make your own table and base.

Hopefully it'll prove worth it in use. Not impressed so far though; Incra come across as a bunch of bodgers and corner cutters based on my experience, I'm afraid.
 
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Sporky McGuffin

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@Sporky McGuffin Off subject question - how do you get on with that flooring, is it hard enough to wheel machines around on or would they dig in?
No problems at all. Dragging the bandsaw over it left some marks but not gouges. Anything on wheels rolls beautifully. It's from Plasfloor. Would recommend.

I love a good MIP (Moan In Progress)
you have my sympathy, It's a right teeth grinder when something doesn't live up to the hype
MIP! Excellent. :D

What's disappointing here is that it would have cost maybe £5 in bits and ten minutes to solve most of the problems. Smacks of systemic ineptitude and complacency at Incra HQ.
 
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MikeK

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Great build!

If you don't like swarf or machining residue, don't remove the steel plate on the end of the positioner extrusion. :oops: I'm not going to speak for Incra, but I think they put effort into the parts that matter and disregard the parts that don't benefit from a smooth finish. The Incra equipment is expensive and polishing the steel plate adds cost but no value.

If I build another router table, I will buy the top, positioner, and lift, but build my own base as you suggested. When I have time, I'll recreate my build thread here. The 12mm plywood for the sides were loose in the extrusion, so I used screws to secure the plywood to the extrusion. This made it more stable.
 

Ollie78

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I feel your pain on the £1300 and poor finishing.
I have the older version of the positioner and fence and actually found the build quality very good on it, it could be 15 years old now.
Maybe quality control has slipped.
It's interesting that your table is exactly the same shape and everything as mine, even the way the mitre guage track is done.
I suppose the positioner governs the size really.
I made mine out of a kitchen drawer unit and some side panels, with 100mm castors.
It is not as nice as yours, I think I will need to do one final rebuild on my table to get it spot on.

Ollie
 

Sporky McGuffin

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I do think the positioner is a really good idea and nicely done (apart from relying on masking tape to square the fence vertically, which is just pathetic).

I don't get the "that's good enough" attitude throughout though. Sharp edges, gouged powdercoat, no zero (that I can find) for the lift. They should lock a senior manager in a room with one of these combos and a tool kit and not let them out until it's finished. Excluding the boxing out and drawers, that might be a bit too cruel. It doesn't feel like something that was ever test built.
 

Peter Sefton

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Hi Spooky McGuffin

I am sorry to hear you are not happy with your Incra, I need to have a chat with our customer support team. Have you been in contact with them regarding any of these issues? We always want to assist our customers wherever we can.

Thanks

Peter
 

Spectric

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Here's where they couldn't be pineappled to polish or even tidy up the steel endplate of the positioner. You can also see some of the swarf from chopping off the Ali extrusion. On a £1300 combo.
Yes that caught my attention when looking at the pictures MikeK posted whilst we were talking about shortening an LS17, Incra LS 17 positioner

but as Mike has said it is cosmetic, but then they do say it is the details that make a product, and
"that's good enough"
is a real pet hate for me, along with " it does not matter because you won't see it when it's finished and " it's near enough" all just cop outs.

Maybe @Peter Sefton will bring a new fence design to market with the AUK badge!
 

Sporky McGuffin

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Is a real pet hate for me, along with " it does not matter because you won't see it when it's finished and " it's near enough" all just cop outs.
Exactly. Cleaning the swarf is a 30-second job at assembly time. If they can't be bothered to build a mechanism for accurately squaring the fence, why not include £2 worth of shim stock in three thicknesses?

Peter - I've not contacted WWW customer services because these are design and QC issues at Incra. All WWW does is store and ship the boxes - you can't fix the design, and there's no point wasting a week or more shipping one stringer back, or returning the top just to get another with the same sloppy edge banding (which I can fix in ten minutes with a scraper - and so could Incra if they cared). In real terms I'm out £1 or so of washers, some time, and some swearing, plus whatever a pack of shim stock costs. There were reviews before my order (to which I should have paid more attention) mentioning the problems with the wheel kit going back to 2016, so clearly the feedback isn't valued or acted on.

On the upside the experience has certainly saved me the cost of the Cleansweep cabinet and an Incra mitre gauge as I imagine they're made to the same standard. I was going to get the Cleansweep rings but will probably have some made locally instead so I can be sure of the quality.
 

Hornbeam

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I have the Jessem lift which is almost identical to the Incra. Bought from woodworkers workshop and dont have any real complaints, I did have 1 issue which I contacted www and they sorted out over the phone
My only gripe with either system is that the router motor does not have a spindle lock so its 2 spanners or a further dollop for a muscle chuck
My view of the axminster own brand versions is not as good as Jessem. Perhaps hwe have just had different experiences
Ian
 

Sporky McGuffin

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Maybe - mine is the older blue one, which I've heard was made for them by Jessem. Worked beautifully for about 10 years, and still works beautifully.

The other advantage if the Axi is that you can use it with a normal router.
 

Wood Workers Workshop

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Hi Spooky McGuffin, as an authorised dealer for INCRA we always appreciate the feedback and do pass this on to our relevant contacts at INCRA, whilst you are correct in that we have not direct influence on design or quality control, as the dealer who has provided the service and items for your order we want to make sure that you, as our customer, are satisfied with your purchase.


If you do wish to take up our offer of customer support please contact the team regarding the issues that have been raised in this thread and they will do all they can to help you out - sa[email protected] or call us on 01684 594683
 

Sporky McGuffin

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Thanks Peter, but realistically, what can you do? It's built, the pain is done, Incra won't change anything. It's certainly not worth taking it to bits and trying to return it now I've drilled holes, used a whole sheet of ply, and hit things with hammers.

If you have suggestions I'm all ears.
 

Spectric

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Apart from the cheap handle and unpolished insert rings are you happy with the actual mechanism, in my opinion from an engineering perspective these lifts running on linear bearings have to be better than the UJK item that uses a chain and sprockets to move four post, which must move simultanously to prevent binding which could be a longer term issue. Yes the UJK is roughly half the price but can only take a router not a spindle, and you do now have a decent setup that will give repetative precision and open up more challenges in your woodworking, it is a direction I am working towards with a new workbench but want a shorter positioner.
 

Peter Sefton

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Maybe - mine is the older blue one, which I've heard was made for them by Jessem. Worked beautifully for about 10 years, and still works beautifully.

The other advantage if the Axi is that you can use it with a normal router.
I think there is a little confusion regarding the router lifts available, the JessEm Prestige is the upgraded version of the old "Axi" lift you used to have. The Prestige is designed to be used with plunge routers.


The Incra Mast-R-Lift is designed to be used with round bodied routers.


We are always happy to discuss customers needs and offer advice if required.

Cheers

Peter
 

Peter Sefton

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Apart from the cheap handle and unpolished insert rings are you happy with the actual mechanism, in my opinion from an engineering perspective these lifts running on linear bearings have to be better than the UJK item that uses a chain and sprockets to move four post, which must move simultanously to prevent binding which could be a longer term issue. Yes the UJK is roughly half the price but can only take a router not a spindle, and you do now have a decent setup that will give repetative precision and open up more challenges in your woodworking, it is a direction I am working towards with a new workbench but want a shorter positioner.
Thanks Spectric, the only thing I can add is that the JessEm Prestige at £334.96 (including three Tab-Loc rings) is actually cheaper than the UJK version at £349.98 not sure how many insert rings it comes with.


Cheers

Peter
 

Hornbeam

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I bought the Jessem lift and motor from www over 2 years ago. I have never questioned its accuracy or repeatability. I didnt go for the incra fence positioner as it takes up so much room, however all the feedback I have had is extremely positive
While the fence should be perpendicular to the adjuster, actually it is a bit irrelevent. My first router the fence pivoted from 1 end,
One thing that is critical is that the fence should be parallel with the T track
 

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