View Full Version : Incra Jig Ultra and Ultra Lite
I am new to woodworking. Worked with a cabnet maker on a walnut coffee table that came out great and have been hooked ever since. I was amazed at how easy it was to make nice furniture (cheap too) with a full blown shop of nice tools. For my shop I have a contractor's saw, router (I am building a router table for it now), mortise machine (a premature purchase but I needed to make mortises for my router table) and for Christmas I am getting a planer and one other tool. I can't decide between a jointer or an Incra Jig system. I want to make mostly furniture (with dovetail drawers etc.) The Incra Jig system with a router table looks like it will let a novice make nice traditional joints. However a jointer is pretty key (even though I could only afford a $300 one or so). I have heard you can use your router table as a jointer and it does a good job. So does anyone have any suggestions? Does anyone have any advice or information on the Incra system? Thanks in advance for any help.
12-15-2000, 09:31 PM
I have very stong opinions on this one. I feel that a Jointer is the second most important tool in the shop. Far more important than a router table.
Why do I feel that way. You have to start with true stock. If you are going to make good furnature you need to make good joints. The first thing you need to make good joints is your stock to be true. You must have each edge flat, and at a 90 degree angle to the next. If you have warped wood a planner just makes thinner warped wood.
The first task I do when I start a project is select my stock. Then I joint one face on all pieces of the stock. Then I joint one edge. I then plane all stock to the same thickness by placing the jointed face down on the planner table. You then have three parallel faces and one edge flat and true. It is easy to then rip to size on the TS.
The only issue I have is your budget. I table top jointer might have the ability to be used on the edge of a board for glue ups but that is about it. You can also do that with a tuned hand plane in about the same amount of time. I have a 10 inch combination Jointer planner. I would recommend others buy a dedicated jointer. Check out Grizzly and see if you can find one that is a heavy tool that is in that price range.
I also know others will tell you to get the Jig. If you want to make craft projects then maybe that would be the way to go. But to make furnature buy a jointer.
12-15-2000, 09:33 PM
If you get the router table insert for your table saw you can both save floor space and use the Incra on both the TS and the router!
I have this exact configuration in my shop and it's essentially eliminated the need for a jointer since the saw cuts are now for all intents and purposes, perfect.
Check out how I did this and what I use: http://www.netexperts.cc/~lambertm/Wood/incra.html
12-17-2000, 10:32 AM
I bought the 24" ultra....love it. I could make dovetails on a 48" wide board with this puppy. If I were only going to make 24" wide cuts, the lite would work fine.
Regarding the jointer issue. I have a Jet 6" cabnet jointer, and can't imagine using a router for this work. While it is true that you could edge joint the side of a 1" board, how are you going to square the 6" face of the board with a router bit? I bought the jointer first, and if I could do it again...I would do it in the same order. The Incra is nice to have, but the jointer is essential for good "power" joinery.
12-17-2000, 11:14 AM
I bought the planer instead of the jointer. Allows me to face up to 13" stock. Between the planer and the TS I can duplicate everything that the jointer can do and more. Saved a good chunk of change for other toys...
Check out my shop: http://www.netexperts.cc/~lambertm/Wood/mytools.html
12-17-2000, 12:30 PM
I still say a planner without a Jointer gives you a thinner crooked board. It will not give you a flat face unless the face on the table is flat first. That may not be true if you are starting with 12/4 stock but normal 4/4 will be pushed temporarly flat by the rollers just before the cutter. The rough cut stock I buy is never flat enough. Even though I hand select each piece.
12-17-2000, 02:55 PM
That is such a crock. There is no way in the world that a roller on the planer is going to push a board flat. You can easily test this. Set the planer so that the it's just barely contacting the surface and then pull down 1/64" beyond that. If there is cup or crown the planer will hit just the high spots. If what you are saying is true (and it's NOT) then the whole face would be planed.
My planer gives a *dead flat* board. I'm not taking 1/4" off at a pass with some giant 3/4 ton monster, I'm taking off 1/64" off with a benchtop.
I hear that "the rollers will press it flat" wives tale on many of the boards and its JUST NOT TRUE!
The jointer, because of not having an opposite reference plane, simply cannot make two sides of a board parallel except by blind luck. With my planer and TS I get flat, parallel, 90° lumber.
Now if I have a board that is really rough on both faces, I'll take alternating passes off on both sides to remove the high spots. Once that is done I'll plane one side until *flat*. This gives me a reference face. Moving to the TS I rip a little off both sides keeping the reference face down. This gives me edges that are parallel to each other, 90° to the reference face and no taper. If I need to resaw I do so now. In either case I return to the planer and finish off the remaining face. In short order I've gone from a random piece of rough cut lumber to a board that is square, flat, and ready for whatever I've got planned for it - all without a jointer.
Go *LOOK* at some of the stuff I'm producing and then tell me how you can't do good work without a jointer! http://www.netexperts.cc/~lambertm/Wood/wood.html
12-17-2000, 10:57 PM
Check out the latest issue of Popular Woodworking, page 54. A rather interesting perspective on straightening warped, bowed, twisted and whipped wood.
MadMark, with the the Incra fence and the set-up that you have with the table saw/router table combo can you still use Incra's template set. I am interested in doing some of the complex joints like double dovetail and would like to be able to use their template guide. Other than that I think that set-up looks very cool. Now what to do with the router table I just built...maybe it can be an extra work bench. Thanks for the insight.
12-19-2000, 08:26 AM
Yep. You can just insert any of their guides right in. I keep the "autocenter" guide and an auxilliary guide in place at all times and I still have a slot open for specific dovetails.
I've been using just the auxilliary guide to cut box joints. I have the aux guide zero'd for the router and the main (steel) guide zero'd for the saw. I set the fence so it just touches the router bit (using the micro adjust to get it just *there*) and then I set the aux guide the width of the bit shy of an inch division. That way I don't need a sacrificial fence or a split fence to make the first cut 'cause I start with a "finger" instead of a "slot". I move the fence until I'm on my reference mark and start cutting. If I'm cutting ¼" fingers I just index ½" each time and they come out absolutely *perfect*.
Instead of spending the $35 on their push sled, I made one out of a chunk of 2x12 maple scrap I had kicking around. I screwed some 1" spacers to the bottom to raise it off the deck and put a piece of ¾" oak on the front as a clamping surface. I've been making the PO Banks like crazy (over two dozen this month!) and I gang cut the pieces for two of them at once. Works like a charm.
I have not used the Incra Jig, and I am wondering how a super accurate fence like this would allow you not to need a jointer? Even if extremely accurate, and with a good carbide blade, doesn't the saw blade still leave cut marks on the edge of the wood? Maybe you are doing this final cut with a router? I find my jointer getting used 2nd most to my table saw.
12-19-2000, 11:00 PM
My saw is giving me a *very* clean edge with essentially *NO* saw marks or burn since I changed to the Incra. Since the stock feeds absolutely parallel to the blade with a hollow ground blade only the tips ever contact the wood and then only once.
I must be using the wrong blades. Or the saw has some runout?
I can clamp the fence to the table on both sides and still get saw marks. when I rip a board.
12-26-2000, 02:02 AM
There are a lot of things that can contrubute to saw marks the most common are listed in order.
Fence not paralell to blade.
Blade quality, some blades are just not flat and true
Arbor run out
Stock with high mosture content. The wood warps as it is cut causing the board to push against the blade on the back side of the blade.
Poor pressure against the fence.
All of the above will give you a nice edge off the saw.
Or just run it accross the jointer one time and not worry about it.
Go for the jointer and I'll sell you mine. I use my shaper
as a jointer. I use straight knives in the head and works great.
12-26-2000, 03:02 PM
My guess would be the saw blade. I was having a bad time with saw marks and burn using the factory blade on my Rigid Table Saw and I put in an 80 tooth DeWalt Blade in it, redid all my blande and fence alignment and now almost no saw marks and I am just using the factory fence that came with my tablesaw.
12-26-2000, 11:28 PM
Saw marks are caused by the blade rubbing the stock. Source of rub is misalignment *somewhere*. Blade runout you should be able to *see*. Sight at table level w/ tips just clearing slot. Fence misalignment is *VERY* common. Measure w/micrometer and often back of fence will be tight to blade. Should always be zero or positive away from blade.
Bad blade is less common but should also show in other areas, bogging, sound, etc.
Be sure to clean your blades regularly, pitch build up is also a contributing factor to burning/poor performance.