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Router Table Fences - Incra vs Jessem vs?

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stimpy

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Hello folks...

Been in a quandary recently with regards router tables.. Have some windows I want to build so the time has come when I can justify a table of some sort... Initially I was hoping for a complete one stop shop unit - had initially looked at the Trend , Triton and Axminster offerings and didn't really want to spend too much! ( The usual story!).

After chatting to some buddies, a lot of searching on here and a post on FOG which led me here actually - Thanks Mike, I came full circle... Which isn't a new position let's be honest! I decided I would buy the Incra Wonder fence and router plate and make / fudge a table onto the side or one end of an MFT I have, with a view of then adding an LS positioner later when/if I could justify it - as I can see many more projects I want to do using a table...

Trouble is..... There doesn't seem to be any in stock in the UK at the mo till next spring!!??o_O.. Idid email the wood workshop yesterday just to double check but not has a response yet... ( A shame I missed a whole set selling earlier this month on here :-( ).. Which led me to exploring some other alternatives...

Mainly the Jessem Mast - R- Fence III which looks to be a decent bit of kit especially once you have a micro adjuster.. But, it doesn't seem as readily adaptable nor accuracy achieving as easily as the Incra?.. You shall have to forgive any ignorance as I'm new to tables!!

What sayeth you folks?
 
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ScaredyCat

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@Peter Sefton (Woodworkers workshop) did say that they'd had a delivery come in I don't know what was on it but with any luck he'll pop in and give you and update :)
 

Peter Sefton

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Hi Stimpy

Welcome to the forum, I am sorry Jim hasn't replied yet I am sure they will get to you as soon as possible.

ScaredyCat is correct we have just received an Incra delivery (our biggest to date) we have been working overtime to get through the pre orders to ensure those customers are served as quickly as possible, once all back orders are satisfied we will have a clear understanding of the stock position and the website will be updated.

As I am sure you will understand Covid has had a huge knock on effect of manufacturing across the world with our American suppliers being particularly affected, social distancing, factory lockdowns, self isolation and the logistics of very few planes flying has caused us all a challenging year. The whole of the woodworking industry has been very busy with customers at home getting into the workshop and spending the families holiday money on new tools :)

I am afraid the website is correct, our next Incra delivery isn't expected until next Easter despite our best efforts to jump the queue, having no tools to sell is not a great position for us to be in. This date is subject to change, hopefully in a positive direction with a quicker turnaround from Incra if all the planets align.

We may have some Incra fences available for sale but the demand has been outstripping supply, we have to serve customers in order date to be fair so if you do want a particular fence you can place an order, if it's in stock we will get it out to you very soon, if not you would be fully refunded as soon as the picture is clear.

You have also mentioned the JessEm Mast-R III fence, I have both the full Incra and JessEm router tables in my school workshop and the students make some very complicated and accurate work. Just to say the JessEm gets used 75% of the time and is my go to router table. The JessEm quality is superb (they make some of the Incra kit) JessEm invented router lifts back in the 90's and have always been leading the way in router table technology. The Canadian made Mast-R-Fence III is a beautifully engineered system, their latest design and well worth considering.

Please bare with us, router tables are our speciality and I am sure we can give you sound advice and get you the right table for your needs, Jim will be in touch to update soon.

Cheers Peter
 

stimpy

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@Peter Sefton , Thank you for your response and I fully understand your position. I did note that many items suggested a restock on 5th November so assumed you were waiting on a delivery...

With regards the Jessem vs Incra would you mind expanding on why the Jessem gets used more often?. As I said above I am fairly uneducated re the benefits of various options.

To the untrained eye; I like the seemingly easier adaptability of the Incra system and the fact that the LS acts on the fence always keeping it parallel, the large scale also looks useful and the in vs outfield fence adjust is uber quick. On the downside the LS takes up a lot of room, the unit in general is quite chunky and the colour a little marmite!. Where as I like the simplicity, size and evident quality of the Jessem and understand that a micro adjust on the leading fence edge does the same job - but not when using a sled arrangement....

Thankyou.

And if anyone has any comments re this or other solutions pls do talk up!..
 

stimpy

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Just to update here, Jim emailed me today and I called back and we had a chat... Sadly there are no Incra units till march definitely. So I shall need to make some decisions either on other products or wait to build these windows and other projects I'm dreaming of...

If anyone has a set for sale or some other wisdom then pls do let me know....
 

Peter Sefton

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Sorry for the lack of Incra stock, pleased you and Jim caught up this afternoon so hopefully he explained some of the differences.

Just give us a shout if we can help out anymore, under normal times we would invite you here to take a look at the tools for yourself.

Cheers Peter
 

stimpy

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Sorry for the lack of Incra stock, pleased you and Jim caught up this afternoon so hopefully he explained some of the differences.

Just give us a shout if we can help out anymore, under normal times we would invite you here to take a look at the tools for yourself.

Cheers Peter
No problem, thank you.
 

custard

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I don't have a dog in this fight (I use a Festool router table), but what I increasingly see in professional cabinet making workshops is the Jessem router table. I've used one a few times and it's well designed and impeccably made. If I was replacing my table tomorrow that's the one I'd probably get.

It's interesting what Peter Sefton said about when students have the choice in his workshop they vote with their feet and choose Jessem. That kind of captures it, at the end of the day they all get the job done, but the Jessem just has that little bit extra that makes it the favourite.
 

stimpy

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I don't have a dog in this fight (I use a Festool router table), but what I increasingly see in professional cabinet making workshops is the Jessem router table. I've used one a few times and it's well designed and impeccably made. If I was replacing my table tomorrow that's the one I'd probably get.

It's interesting what Peter Sefton said about when students have the choice in his workshop they vote with their feet and choose Jessem. That kind of captures it, at the end of the day they all get the job done, but the Jessem just has that little bit extra that makes it the favourite.
Woof!

I think it is probably more approachable in terms of classic design and perhaps not quite so marmite in appearance!

And not wishing to sound prejudice, who doesn't like a Canadian right?..

I shall have to mull it over, it is only really the LS positioner that draws me down the Incra route, I'm sure it would make my skills look way above what they are!! In all seriousness though, it does make adjustments look proper easy...
 

MikeK

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I shall have to mull it over, it is only really the LS positioner that draws me down the Incra route, I'm sure it would make my skills look way above what they are!! In all seriousness though, it does make adjustments look proper easy...
Timing is important. If you had joined a week earlier:

 

stimpy

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Timing is important. If you had joined a week earlier:

No need to rub my nose in it Mike! hehe, yes I had seen this, just bad luck I guess - but good luck for whomever got the deal (y)
 

Spectric

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Hi all

One obvious lesson but very hard to follow is to just buy what you really want because it is cheaper in the long term. We all do it, listen to the advice and read all the literature then buy something that we think will do. You then learn that the advice was good and what you have brought is really a bit of a compromise so you buy something better and eventually you end up with what you should have brought in the first place but now you have spent more than it would have cost had you just brought it. Quality never comes cheap, you only get precision and repeatability with quality.
 

stimpy

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@Spectric Fully agree to a point. The point usually being budget vs necessity.

In this case perhaps desire vs supply - but also open minded as I am new to this subject..

Personally, I nearly always go for top end quality as I know I'll get there in the end, poor quality frustrates me, and my time is usually worth more than spending the extra time faffing with poor quality components... That said, learning the hard way always teaches a valuable lesson!.. ( Not necessarily a great one mind!).
 

Peter Sefton

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@Peter Sefton , Thank you for your response and I fully understand your position. I did note that many items suggested a restock on 5th November so assumed you were waiting on a delivery...

With regards the Jessem vs Incra would you mind expanding on why the Jessem gets used more often?. As I said above I am fairly uneducated re the benefits of various options.

To the untrained eye; I like the seemingly easier adaptability of the Incra system and the fact that the LS acts on the fence always keeping it parallel, the large scale also looks useful and the in vs outfield fence adjust is uber quick. On the downside the LS takes up a lot of room, the unit in general is quite chunky and the colour a little marmite!. Where as I like the simplicity, size and evident quality of the Jessem and understand that a micro adjust on the leading fence edge does the same job - but not when using a sled arrangement....

Thankyou.

And if anyone has any comments re this or other solutions pls do talk up!..
The Incra LS is an amazing system and really comes into its own when doing repeat cuts, dovetails or comb joints, not something we use the router table for. We are usually doing quick setup rebates, grooves, mouldings, tenons or curved work which are very quick and easy on the JessEm. I think all best designs "keep it simple" unless it needs to be more complicated. The Incra is very accurate with 20th of a mm adjustment and presets and templates for dovetails etc, and as you mentioned it stays parallel to the mitre track which is great for for endgrain work. The JessEm fence does not stay parallel to the mitre track but utilizes its Mite-R-Slide which glides on the fence and stays square or is adjustastable to 45 degrees. The fence can be set to parallel or used with a router sled. The JessEm outfeed fence can be offset by using their fence shim bars.

I just found this video showing the top of the range JessEm Excel and TA fence and side winder hight adjustment which is market leading, Our router table has our own AUK router and remote speed control and NVR switching.


This second video shows the Mast-R-II fence, the Mast-R-III is even better, also the fence slider shown here is an old style, the newer version is now 18 months old is better and cheaper and the one we use. We don't recommend the digital readout with our AUKTools router as the router frequency can affect the readout, our router is very similar to the JessEm but made for the EU market and without the digital readout.


This video gives you a better idea of the TA fence and the Mast-R-Slide II


I think JessEm are the unsung heroes of the router world, the quality is amazing their biggest downfall is spending all their time developing and improving and not blowing their own trumpet!

Cheers Peter
 

Peter Sefton

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I don't have a dog in this fight (I use a Festool router table), but what I increasingly see in professional cabinet making workshops is the Jessem router table. I've used one a few times and it's well designed and impeccably made. If I was replacing my table tomorrow that's the one I'd probably get.

It's interesting what Peter Sefton said about when students have the choice in his workshop they vote with their feet and choose Jessem. That kind of captures it, at the end of the day they all get the job done, but the Jessem just has that little bit extra that makes it the favourite.
It's simple, accurate, easy to use and we have one in the Edward Barnsley workshop.
 

PaulArthur

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It's simple, accurate, easy to use and we have one in the Edward Barnsley workshop.

Peter - I’m building a router table in to my table saw and need a fence - the problem is that the side-mounted rails are off limits for me because they’ll interfere with my table saw’s rails. I’ll need the fence to fit to recessed track in the table top. The older Jessem fence seems to be able to adjust to different size tables, but it’s less easy to see that on the pictures for the newer one. Can you advise, please?
 

stimpy

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@Peter Sefton Thankyou for the videos and explanation.

The chap in the first video clearly has the best wife in the world! ( In a deep 'Murican accent) " Why she said to me, how can we make your life in the shop easier for you?... I said the Jessem Excel and TA Fence".... Brilliant (y)

Joking aside, it certainly looks good quality. With regards to the Mite-R-Slide, am I missing something or can it only make obtuse angles? If so, whilst no doubt excellent in operation ( and a solution to the parallel / perpendicular issue) it would be limiting.. A Worktop T bar solution like the Mite-R-Excel Mitre gauge or suchlike would be more adaptable - and also usable on the table saw if needed...
 
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