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Thread: INCRA or Sawstop router lift or other? (PCS tablesaw shopping)

  1. #1

    INCRA or Sawstop router lift or other? (PCS tablesaw shopping)

    I am a hobbyist and have decided to get a router table with INCRA fence. Because I don’t have storage space in my garage for a separate table, I’m looking hard at the Sawstop PCS saw, replacing Dad’s 70-y/o Rockwell, and adding the right-wing router table. It’s a win for storage, and a win to get the incremental fence on both the saw and router. A big win is the PCS folding outfeed table.

    I would like to use the router table and INCA fence to make finger and dovetail joints. Sometimes I make weird stuff for work.

    For the router lift, I see a few choices:

    1. Sawstop RT-LFT
    2. INCRA-MAST-R-LIFT-II (Jessem lift with INCRA magnetic inserts)
    3. Use the unlifted plain-jane INCRA solid Magnalock RT plate I have sitting new in a box (MLP690890-AL). I don’t do work this all day long, so could save some dollars or sell it new.

    I’m leaning towards the INCRA lift… made in Canada vs Taiwan? Here’s a YouTube comparison of sorts. I have ordered and am waiting on delivery for a fixed Makita RF1101 router, deciding on Makita over Porter Cable. My other routers are Festool 1400 and Shaper Origin.

    I hear the Sawstop feels Taiwanese, although the cast iron top should be fine spec’ed to .010”. Currently, I’m figuring as pictured: 1.75hp (save $ over 3hp?), mobile base, folding outfeed table, and right-side router table. It will barely fit in my garage storage space.

    And then I throw away the Sawstop fences and put on the INCRA TS-LS Fence. Like this poster.

    There will be some work remounting the Sawstop outfeed table outside the rear INCRA rail, like this.

    And then I’ll need suggestions for a small mobile dust collector. I have heard that my Festool CT-26 at 137cfm isn’t enough.

    Any red flags? Besides that I’ll be broke.

    TS_rail_clearance.jpg
    2020-04-26_Grants_SawStop_1020073.jpg
    2020-04-26_Grants_SawStop_140909sm.jpg
    Last edited by Ralph E Burns; 04-28-2020 at 12:09 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Marquette MI
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    521
    Get the SawStop Industrial base. It is much better than the Professional base.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Chapman View Post
    Get the SawStop Industrial base. It is much better than the Professional base.
    Will do...(this picture?) Sawstop won't even bundle the PCS base with a right-side router table.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
    Posts
    773
    I and a hobbyist also. I bought the SawStop PCS 175 about 4 years ago. Last year I upgraded the saw to the 3HP 220V motor, very pleased with hose easy it was to do and the results. When I bought the saw, I did not have a 220v feed. If I was to buy again, I would opt for the 220v up front.

    Also last year, I changed out the system for the Incra TS-LS Positioner and added a router table into the right end of the saw. It takes me about 3 minutes to go from the tablesaw mode to router.

    I bought the Incra router table extension and installed a Jessem Master Lift Ii, but swapped out the router top plate for the Incra Magna Lock with Cleansweep inserts.

    Although, when I initially bought my saw, I had to move it away from a wall to use it and put it away, in the evening, so the wife could put here car away. The ICS mobile base made this super easy. I put a few duct tape markers down on the garage floor and could roll it and position it perfectly , so the legs on my outfeed table did not need adjusting.

    Before I bought the Incra TS-LS fence system, I mad a folding outfeed table and attached to the SawStop outfeed fence rail with a large piano style hinge.

    I've since moved and although my saw still sits on the ICS mobile base, I no longer move my saw.

    I initially bought my TS-LS positioner in Imperial. Around January 2020, I converted it to metric, which I now use throughout all my tools and much prefer it.

    With the router table in the saw, I did buy the support legs from Incra, not sure how well the mobile base works with the extra weight of the router stuck out there.

    I did make my own router dust collection box, out of a melamine shelf, an this box makes a good place for the router fence storage when not in use.

    The Incra fence rails will provide you with an easy place to attach a folding outfeed table.

    This was my folding outfeed table, attached to the Incra fence, after I was not longer using the piano hinge. So you can see that it would be easy to mount a hinge tooth's rail.


    This was the piano hinge I was using (mcMasterCarr)







    Router Dust Collection Box



    With front cover on


    Front cover off for access





    If you cannot see the above photos here is a link to most of them https://s1094.photobucket.com/user/c...cra%20LS-Fence
    Last edited by ChrisA Edwards; 04-28-2020 at 7:47 PM.

  5. #5
    I don't know anything about Incra fences. But I like the Bisemeyer style fence on my 1.75hp PCS. I learned the hard way to stick with thin kerf blades, at least for thick cuts. With good (I like Freud) thin kerf blades (including a dedicated ripper) I cut 3 inches deep with a normal feed rate. I think full kerf blades last longer and kind of prefer them but they trip the thermal overload of my saw on deep cuts. Infinity blades were noticably worse than DeWalt or Freud.

    My lift is home made and would be hard to use on an extension table setup.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
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    773
    I would like to get your opinions on the Shaper Origin, I'm very close to buying one.

    I believe the router lifts, under the Incra name are the Jessum and Woodpeckets. I actually have bothe of these, the jessum in my Sawstop table and the Woodpeckers in a standalone Router cabinet. Of the two, I would probably buy the Jessum version over the Woodpeckers. Both work well, but I'd had to send my Woodpecker back to have the fine adjust gears replaced and the slide rails tend to get a little bunged up with debris and require me to take the whole unit out to clean occasionally.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Okotoks AB
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    1,868
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph E Burns View Post
    Will do...(this picture?) Sawstop won't even bundle the PCS base with a right-side router table.
    I can see that. The ICS base provides more support for that end of things. I have an Excalibur router lift, which the SawStop lift was cloned from, and it is built like a tank. There are 4 threaded posts that raise and lower a very robust aluminum frame that holds the router motor. I tossed the OEM extension table & made a much more rigid one from 3 layers of 18mm Baltic birch.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Arlington, TX
    Posts
    146
    A few thoughts...

    I have a 3HP Unisaw (early '90's bought new), after a ~1.5 HP Craftsman from the late 80s. I would not go with <3HP on a 10" saw again. Especially on one as expensive as a SS. I would not trade that much HP for SS's safety system.

    I have the Rockler Bench Dog router extension wing, which appears virtually identical to the SS extension (and included fence), except on two points:

    1. The opening for the insert/lift on the Bench Dog extension is narrower than many insert/lifts, but Rockler sells a slimmer version of the same Incra lift you are wanting, that is made just for Rockler tables. I have it, am extremely happy with it, and recommend it highly (regardless of whether you go with the SS or Bench Dog extension).

    2. The Bench Dog extension has dual slots for mounting the fence, which lets you mount the fence on either side of the bit. This lets you use the entire length of your table saw and opposite extension wing to support long work pieces, such as when milling tenons on the ends of bed rails. Note that if you mount the router extension on the right end, with the fence on the inboard side of the bit, you will normally work from the rear and/or end of the saw. If you choose the bench dog extension, and want to work from the front (or use the whole saw table for support), then mount the fence on the outboard side of the bit. My Unisaw is right-tilt, so I have mine on the left end, and unless I need the extra support length, I work from the front & left end of the saw with the fence inboard of the bit.

    -- Andy - Arlington TX

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
    Posts
    773
    Here's a quick video of me using the router table to cut the beads on each edge of the Stiles for my Plantation Shutters. Notice the lack of debris from the cut. What does come out, at one point, is the debris from the mortise. I have the router fence connected to a 2.5" hose and the router box, below, connected to a 4" hose, both going to my Dust Collector


  10. #10
    Howdy and thanks all!

    @ ChrisA: I want to be your clone! And I actually linked to photos of yours in my post #1. Answer about Shaper Origin: I’m not convinced it’s great for a real woodworker, but good for organic curves and such. The ability to hold tolerance over distance might be not as advertised (stay tuned). See my post here.

    I’ll look into getting a full-length L-angle for mounting the INCRA rear rail, but using a longer bottom leg to remount the SS outfeed table. Will need to measure up and investigate. It kinda bugs me that the fence rail is supported by only a few brackets.

    Question: are there issues with a bare metal INCRA fence and the SS brake sensor?

    @ Frank Pratt: Did you start with the cast iron SS right router table RT-TGP and toss that in favor of homemade? I’d like to know if the SS cast iron router table is worth buying (especially since I’ll overpay and toss the SS router fence).

    Y’all are all about power! I was trying to save money going with the 1.75hp. The local Woodcraft store suggested that 1.75hp would be okay if not doing thick hardwoods, and my buddy got a PCS 175 a few months ago and is happy. Though I would overheat Dad’s old 1hp Rockwell and just paid to have the motor rebuilt (& added Vega fence). I do have 220/1ph available right next to the saw in the garage; I added it a couple years ago for a Grizzly G0640X bandsaw. If I keep buying bigger toys, then I’ll never retire! This SS + INCRA is a chunk of coin!

    I reckon to either get the INCRA router lift or just use the unlifted INCRA plate I already have(?). Unless it‘s worth getting a motorized digital readout one? And I’ll just get the SS RT-DCB router dust collector box, because the holes will line up without too much brain damage.

    *** I'd love suggestions for small, stowable dust collectors. Maaaybe something akin to this Grizzly G0583Z, except fitted with a hard bucket instead of plastic trash bag, an a bonus for HEPA.

    Cheerio - Ralph in Colorado
    Last edited by Ralph E Burns; 04-29-2020 at 9:52 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Okotoks AB
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph E Burns View Post
    @ Frank Pratt: Did you start with the cast iron SS right router table RT-TGP and toss that in favor of homemade? I’d like to know if the SS cast iron router table is worth buying (especially since I’ll overpay and toss the SS router fence).

    *** I'd love suggestions for small, stowable dust collectors. ???

    Cheerio - Ralph in Colorado
    I built my table before SawStop came out with their router lift or the cast extension table for it. But in a case of really bad timing, just as I finished my table, a local tool store was clearing out old Excalibur stock & had the cast iron extension table on for $99, down from over $400. Oh well.

    I don't know of a small collector that would work with a table saw. They need lots of volume. I guess it would depend on your definition of small & stowable. I've heard that a shop vac works well for the blade guard collection though.

    Nothing I've read about the Incra fences has convinced me that they are worth having. Too many downsides, cost being one, but the biggest thing is that it renders the entire right table saw extension completely useless for anything but holding the fence hardware.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
    Posts
    773
    With the SawStop, with power to the saw, but the blade not powered on, you can test items against the blade by touching the blade. If they are conductive, the red LED light will come on. If I need to rip something which is questionable, I just use the saw in the override mode with the safety brake turned off.

    Yes the Incra Fence will trip the SawStop if it comes into contact with the blade while the saw is running, but why would it? I've ripped 1/8" strips with it. I actually zero my Incra Fence this way, move the fence until the SawStop Red LED comes on, which indicate the fence is just kissing the blade, then I adjust the ruler scale under the cross hair.

    I think more people tend to trip the SawStop when they using an Incra miter gauge, change the angle, and don't adjust the fence position.

    True, the TS-LS positioner does take up some real estate on the right side of the fence, but to me, that means I'm just a bit better organized with less clutter on that side.

    If for whatever you need the entire table surface, without the fence, 4 handscrews allow you to take the fence off in about 30 seconds. The rails have registration bolts that allow you to align it accurately when you put it back. Mine had registration bolts for the fence in saw mode and another set for router mode.

    With the way the Positioner locks in place when you clamp it, I know my fence is always set exactly where I want it. It's like when you register a miter gauge or saw adjust a preset stop, you know that tool is where you want it, same it true of every increment on the Positioner. The only extra step is a quick quarter turn of a thumbscrew to lock the fence, but this becomes a habit real quickly.

    I thought the SawStop fence was good quality, but I would not go back to it. Being able to cut something and then being able to come back and cut that same exact width, several operations later, with precision accuracy, just gives you such confidence and pleasure using the tool.

  13. #13
    I'm a numbers guy, working as a solo mechanical design engineer, so maybe that's why I'm attracted to numerical scales, and attracted to the INCRA. I work both metric and inches with hardly any notice.

    All that is holding me off is needing to figure out exactly what to order from INCRA (shopping is a time burn!). I want to revisit a PCS saw in person, do some measurements and see about full-length mounting angles to the saw table. Might that help keep all the sections joined flat? Also full-length front and rear rails. And I ought to read thru the LS-TS manual; questions like can I put the fence on the right side of the router so long work is supported by the table? The technical help Mark at INCRA is a goldmine. Then it's three months lead time for INCRA, but only a short time from Sawstop.

    From INCRA, get the TS-LS, extra mounting hardware, router lift, and will look at their miter gauges (ChrisA - which miter?)
    From Sawstop, a 3hp PCS, ICS base, folding outfeed table, right router table, and router dust box.
    And a dust collector. Looking for one that rolls around on a sturdy base, has pleated 1 micron or better pleated filter on top and trash bucket on bottom... seeking an improved Grizzly G0583Z.

    Stay safe - Ralph in Colorado (fire/EMT)
    Last edited by Ralph E Burns; 04-29-2020 at 11:48 AM.

  14. #14
    If you are willing to invest in an INCRA and Sawstop set up, i humbly suggest you get a larger, cyclone dust collector. I'd get that before even a router lift or even a fancy fence like the LS positioner (both of which I *love*).

    There are roll-around cyclones that can fit your space (Grizzly even has a couple; I have been happy with Oneida too). A cyclone unit with a 1.5+hp motor will grow with you a little more than a 1hp unit.

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Location
    Okotoks AB
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    As far as accuracy and repeatability go, for about a hundred bucks you can put a DRO on the fence. I got one because I sometimes have trouble focusing on the cursor & rule lines. The DRO solved that problem and allows me to exactly repeat a cut later if I need to.

    A 2 stage collector, with a cyclone & HEPA filter is lots better than single stage. Saves you from cleaning filters every time (or more frequently) the bin is emptied. Oneida makes a smaller roll around collector that might work for you. Check out their website.

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