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Thread: Incra Tablesaw Fence...Worth it?

  1. Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Shew View Post
    I've had both an Incra and a Biesemeyer. "The Incra is a thinkin' man's fence and the Biesemeyer is a doin' man's fence."
    I like your buddy already. That is a funny and true saying. Pertaining to the Incra installation, it does take a little time to install, but on Incra's behalf, they label and place the hardware for each section in it's own bag, and purposely give you more of what you need, so you have plenty left over.
    The Beis does go together faster, but I would say the Incra takes maybe an extra hour. But who is counting minutes when it feels like Christmas morning?
    I feel blessed that I have both, and do love both of them. The Accu Fence (Beis Clone) works great on the other saw, because I have zero clearance on the end of that station, and I love the industrial grade feel of it.
    You also brought up a point about the outfeed table mating up to it. It does present some special challenges having a rear rail, that causes the outfeed to be a few inches away from the table saw top. So I build a ramp on the leading edge. That way I could get the entire outfeed table perfectly even with the table top, and not have to worry about catching the wood on the leading edge. Norm Abrams mentions that he sets his outfeed 1/8" lower in the front to compensate for that problem.

    You will also notice I did about a foot or foot and a half or so cutout so I can access the clamping knobs, for those rare occassions I want to move the fence to the 8 foot sheet position. Yes you can get totally accurate cuts up to 52" with just 4 locking knobs, slide the bridge down to a bolt, large thick washer and nut that you preset, and tighten down, and get totally accurate cuts to a thou again. But you have to access that side of the fence for that, so I created the cut out.
    Here is a picture of it, not yet attached to my old saw before I got the PM, so you can see how the cut out looks down the other end.

    Your review is spot on. Great input.
    Last edited by Bob Feeser; 01-26-2008 at 10:00 PM.
    "Fine is the artist who loves his tools as well as his work."

  2. Incra advantage, cutting thin strips.

    Let me embellish on the Incra advantage a little more. I was reading a post on the home page, and it was covering how to cut 1/8th in strips. So ponder on the challenges of such a move. You can't run a push stick between the blade and the fence, so how do you do it? Make your cut pushing the waste section outside of the blade, then reach over and try to pull the thin strip out that is now loose, and trapped between the blade and the fence? That not only is condusive to a kick back, that is a finger grabber as well.
    The solution is to cut your 1/8th strips wide of the fence. In other words, you cut your first piece to set your reference, and then move the fence whatever the width of the piece you are trying to cut, in this example 1/8th inch, plus the thickness of the blade. What if your blade is 3/32nds. So you are going to move your fence over exactly 1/8th plus 3/32nds =7/32nds for each cut. Do you think that without the advantage of locking teeth every 1/32nd that is accurate to 1/1000th that you are going to wind up with a pile of strips exactly 1/8th wide? No way. With the Incra, this is just standard procedure. So what does this mean. You are making your job safer, your 1/8th strip is always falling to the outside, and you are saving time because there is no overcutting the strips, then having to plane them to thickness. Faster, safer, better, less waste. That is the Incra result. Combining the Incra with a larger horsepower motor, and you can use a larger number of teeth blade, and wind up with glass smooth surfaces as well.
    "Fine is the artist who loves his tools as well as his work."

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Fallbrook, California
    Posts
    3,562
    After fighting with the fence on my old Craftsman I decided to get an Incra for the accuracy. I'm very pleases with it. For me the Incra was a great choice.
    Don Bullock
    Woebgon Bassets
    AKC Championss

    The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.
    -- Edward John Phelps

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Seabrook TX
    Posts
    475
    I've got a 32" TSLS that handles 95% of the cuts. Precision and repeatability are the big upsides to the fence. The downside is that the extension takes up a lot of room. A 52" fence would at 8-10ft of walking to get around the right side of the saw. And the positioner would be steps away from the blade.

    However you could purchase smaller Incra and extend the rails to the right side. Any cut bigger than 32", slide the entire assemble right 20" and you've got a 52" cut with a 32" Incra. A stop bolt in the rails lets you position the assembly each time without measuring. Just an idea.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Gilbert, AZ
    Posts
    239
    Quote Originally Posted by Forrest Price View Post
    Hey, one thing I hadn't thought of. Occasionally I move the fence to the left of the blade if doing bevel cuts sometimes.....what's the Inra version? Even possible?

    Guess maybe I should see if I can download destructions and do some reading.
    Oh yeah. There are a couple of stops that you put in the rails. So what you do is have a set of stops for the positioner on the right side of the saw. Then, when you want to rip fence on the left of the blade, you move the positioner over to the left, then, take out the fence and flip it around and re-insert.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    williamstown,ma
    Posts
    74
    i love micropositioners for all my quality woodworking.when working on my barn projects i use my regular rigid portable table saw.weather changes outside make perfection a moot point because everything shrinks and swells.also my outdoor materails are never flat so exact cuts are impossible and unnecessary.for house projects i love micro tools like the microfence,jointech miter sled and jointech positioner fence.i also have a jointech fence for my router table.never had a incra but it looks just like the jointech.but nowdays you can get a digital table fence so i do not think you need an incra but just add this on to your biesmeyer.you can made a leadscrew jig to push or back up your fence.rockler has one for 19.00 on sale.one thing i learned is that i do not need a 52 inch saw.i stopped ripping all my plywood goods on the table saw and use the festool guiderail.i cannot recall the last time i ripped anything over 30 inches on my tablesaw

  7. This is key. The Incra, the way they set it up in the following picture


    requires that you buy the optional 92" rails if you want to be able to handle 8 foot sheets. But, I called Incra, and they told me that I could get 52" cuts, (way more then you need to cut 8 foot sheets) by positioning the standard rails that come with it like this;


    That also reduces the overall space that it takes up. Plus I do not need rails out to the left side of the blade. It works great.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Giles View Post
    I've got a 32" TSLS that handles 95% of the cuts. Precision and repeatability are the big upsides to the fence. The downside is that the extension takes up a lot of room. A 52" fence would at 8-10ft of walking to get around the right side of the saw. And the positioner would be steps away from the blade.

    However you could purchase smaller Incra and extend the rails to the right side. Any cut bigger than 32", slide the entire assemble right 20" and you've got a 52" cut with a 32" Incra. A stop bolt in the rails lets you position the assembly each time without measuring. Just an idea.
    Last edited by Bob Feeser; 01-28-2008 at 10:53 PM.
    "Fine is the artist who loves his tools as well as his work."

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Frederick, MD
    Posts
    322
    You might want to read what Marc over at WoodWhisperer said about the Incra fence. He was less than impressed.

  9. #24
    I had a Bies on my Walker Turner and I considered it a substantial upgrade. It was difficult to hang devises on it but it was heavy duty. I was forced to liquidate that shop ten years ago.

    I've since purchased a contractor saw (long story) and am simply amazed by the accuracy and repeatability of the Incra. No test cuts, no knuckle tapping, and quickly and easily recalibrated. I've got an eight foot aluminum extrusion I can mount and when the Incra is locked down at the front and the back the extrusion is very stable. There is zero deflection or uplifting, something a T-square can't claim.

    Still, I'll agree with the above responders the Incra may not be for everyone. If you use the area to the right of the fence as a catch all you'll lose this space to the Incra's beam. The Incra uses a rear channel which may interfere with an existing outfeed table and over the rear of the table blade guard brackets. So there are a few things to consider.

    I paid $275 for a 52" LS (lead screw) from Amazon.

    Vic

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    21
    Forrest,

    I have a TSLS32" that I bought a few years back at the Atlanta WW show. It was an immediate improvement on my Jet contractor saw. We moved and it has taken me two years to get back into the grove of WW and get the thing aligned properly.

    It is not for everyone and if I could do it over I will get a cabinet saw with a good fence. Nevertheless the saw is great and my TSLS is very accurate and best of repeatable.

    I am still on the fence (pun intended) about getting the wonder fence and other assessories to go with it. I have the left router table from Woodpeckers and generally like there stuff, pricey as it is.

    Good luck.

  11. Quote Originally Posted by Brian Dormer View Post
    You might want to read what Marc over at WoodWhisperer said about the Incra fence. He was less than impressed.
    I went over to The Wood Whisperer, and read Marc's review. I have a lot of respect for Marc, love the Wood Whisperer videos, and site, have had a couple of extensive conversations with him via email, and appreciate that he would take the time to respond to my inquiries. Be that as it may, I think that he made several criticisms of the Incra fence that I think should be clarified.

    I came back and edited this post because I posted a rather scathing commentary of his commentary, which I do not think is professional of me, so I have edited it.
    Last edited by Bob Feeser; 01-30-2008 at 12:43 AM.
    "Fine is the artist who loves his tools as well as his work."

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SE KY
    Posts
    404
    Marc, thanks for checking in on this topic. I already responded to your blog about the problems that you encountered with the Incra fence, but for those here that have not seen it I will try to briefly recap what I wrote. I encountered the same alignment issues that you had when I first set up my LS-III fence. Incra's tech support quickly identified the problem and suggested that I shim the fence glide brackets which did correct the problem. I can now put a dial indicator in the miter slot, set the fence, and it is within .001 front to rear. If I move the fence 1/2", the dial indicator moves within .001 of .500 and it is still within .001 front to rear. I could not ask for a more accurate and repeatable fence, once the alignment issue with the glide brackets was corrected.

    For those not familiar with moving the Incra fence carriage for rip cuts greater than 32", that takes me about 30 seconds to move it out and the same to move it back. It really is easier done than what it sounds like, and Incra has a nice video on their site that demonstrates the procedure. Frankly I find the speed and accuracy that I get with the Incra on the 98%+ of the cuts I make at less than 32" more than offsets the inconvenience of moving the carriage for wider cuts.

    Is the Incra right for everyone? Absolutely not-there are many differences between how it operates compared to a T-square fence. I'd recommend that anyone considering one research it thoroughly and try to get some hands-on time with it if possible. However for me, it's all good and I would really not like going back to my old fence.

    One final question on the topic, well 2 questions actually but since one of them may appear to be confrontational rather than sincere, I'll ask one of them via PM. You mention that your career depends on public opinion and that you would prefer to be contacted privately on questions concerning your methodology before posting in public. I can fully appreciate and respect that. Would you agree that Incra, or any other company for that matter, should be afforded the same courtesy? After all, their livelihood depends on public opinion as well. Perhaps a call to Incra to inquire about the issue you encountered with the fence moving when locked down would have changed your opinion of the fence somewhat. Thanks and be well.

    Greg

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Belden, Mississippi
    Posts
    2,726
    I'm askin' this 'cause I really want to know.....
    I hear everyone talking in terms of +- .00_ of an inch for dados, cut widths, repeatability, etc. Sounds great, but how accurate seems to be a moot point when dealing with wood. Are the kitchen cabinets, entertainment centers, raised panel doors ever the same dimension from day to day? Here in Mississippi (that means humidity) the wood changes dimension before I can get through with a rip cut.
    Do you gauge your finished products by the microns of finish material?
    Certainly not tryin' to be a smarta$$, but the old masters didn't seem to build to space age tolerances.
    Bill (it's cold and dry today-everything is shrinkin') in MS.
    On the other hand, I still have five fingers.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    L.I., NY
    Posts
    157
    Marc-

    Not liking the fence system, ok, I can understand that - but no oysters!!!

    Thanks for opining.
    Matt

  15. #30

    My Incra Experience... all Good!

    I've had my Incra on a Sawstop for about 3 months now. Have used it to build all of my shop furnishings, and have made several samples of kitchen cabinets with it. (I'm prepping for a major kitchen cabinet project.) I honestly can say that I could not have done many of the things that I do with out it. A few examples:

    When initially designing something, one inevitable needs to go back and make another cut of an exact dimension as a prior cut. In this "proof of concept" phase of my work, or simply building the first cabinet of several, the "workflow" is not usually set up to the point that I can usually make all of my rip cuts, etc. at the same time. The repeatability of the Incra has removed the error in repeating a cut at a later time. Once I have a complete cut list as a result of my design phase, I've been able have a work flow that also eliminates most of this resetting to a prior cut dimension. In the mean time, the Incra has saved me much time.

    I no longer measure anything on a board. I simply set the fence and cut. I did spend about two full days setting up my Sawstop and Incra, following all the setup & verification procedures that you could ever imagine. I initially had the Incra fence about 0.006 inches out of parallel to the mitre track on the TS... following the procedures in the Incra installation & setup guide, I reduced this to 0.001". I have three stop positions set up with my Incra TS-LS. One for short cuts, one for long cuts, and a third where I can flip the fence around for use with my router (on the right hand side) as a router fence. This position is actually a secondary router fence position as I only use if I need the router bit to be more than about 6" from the fence. I've set up my attached router table so that when doing routing requiring less than 6" from the fence, I simply can slide the fence all the way to the right most stop (long cut position). This saves MUCH time. All positions in my experince have been accurate & repeatable.

    The most amazing thing I've done with my Incra fence has been to use it to mitre the angles required for beaded inset face frame construction. I simply cut off the bearing from a 45 degree chamfer bit. Knowing the bearing on this bit was 1/2 inch & using another bit's 1/2" bearing, I can exactly center the altered chamfer bit to the fence. The altered bit's cutting edges on the skinny side of the chamfer is exactly 7/16". Knowing these dimensions allows me to do some simple math and I can use the TS-LS, it's exact 1/32" incremental settings, and the Incra Wonder Fence to mill the 45 degree cuts required on both the rails and stiles of beaded face frame. (When I have time, I'll post more details on how I did this.)

    Finally, to me one of the best things. I have had wonderful customer service from Incra. (I have no affiliation with them.) My first fence was perfectly straight, initially sat exactly perpendicular to the table saw's table, but had a very slight cup to it's face. The next day after setting up my Incra & discovering this, I was scheduled to go to a wood working show. I simply mentioned this to one of the Incra reps there, and after literally 10 seconds of describing the problem, then handed me an order form for me to write my address down on. They completed the form with the product specifics & I had a new fence in less than a week with no charge. As I add on to shop & table saw, I've called back & asked for misc. bolts & plastic measuring guides... all were sent to me without any cost. I also ordered a fence system & flip-stop for my compound mitre saw. I instead received the shop stop. Again, Incra send me the correct product without charge. I received it in three days, and didn't have to return the shop stop. Benefit to me... I now have two shop stops to use on my wonder fence when needing to do any stopped dados, etc with my router.

    To me my Incra TS-LS is the most used in my shop. I have been VERY happy with it.
    Jim

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