Home - This Old Workshop
Incra has been making accurate jigs for woodworking systems since 1986 and in my opinion they have designed with the woodworker in mind.In 2003 I moved my shop to the Northwest and decided it was time for a little upgrade to the tools I have used for many years now. After much hunting and thought I decided I would focus on the 3 main tools I use: The Table saw, the Drill Press and the Router Table.
The Table Saw was the first to fall under my critical eye. Do I yard sale my old Craftsman and invest in a new model or somehow put a little work into it and bring it up to speed. After much thought and budget concerns I decided to put Incra to the test and see if I could pull the life back into this circa 1970's Table saw and drag it into the 21st century.
The TS-3 system from Incra gives you repeatable accuracy of at least .001” across ranges up to 32”. I found the set up fairly easy and it fit onto my saw without trouble. The fence may not be as quick to adjust as a typical saw fence, but then again this is no typical saw fence. The ability to adjust the fence to such a minor scale gives you the ability to create precision cuts that will make your projects reflect the accuracy of this jig. Score one for Incra. Although this is not an inexpensive upgrade for a table saw (retailing around $329 to $528 depending on the model), it can add options to your existing table saw that spending even twice that much on a completely new saw will still leave you without these abilities. Now the old Craftsman saw I use is an accurate and precision tool and my work shows it.
Next I turned my attention to my drill press. For years I have been very pleased with the Delta Full standing drill press and have used it to drill thousands of holes without complaint. I have created dozens of different jigs and stops for it to make production work easier, so why mess with a good thing? Okay so the only reason I could come up with is "why not". I was happy with what Incra could do to the table saw, I wanted to see what they could do for the Delta Drill Press.
The TT+ Drill Press Table crafted by the people at Woodpeckers is topped with an 18 ply, phenolic coated baltic birch table that boasts a 23-3/4" x 17-3/4" surface. More durable than virtually any other wooden material, the table even features a replaceable insert to ensure all your precision through holes are tear-out free. It comes standard with four embedded aluminum T-Tracks (two with scales), two pivot style hold down clamps, a 36” x 3/4” coated Baltic birch fence topped with separate left and right T-Track fences. Each fence has its own adjustable scale and stop. No longer are you stuck with the small work surface the typical drill press offers. The stops and adjustment do for the drill press what the table saw system did for the table saw. Micro-fine adjustment for accurate and precision repeatability. Starting at around $120 this is not a bank breaker for what you get. Without a doubt I love my Delta Drill Press, but dressed up in its Incra TT+ its potential is expanded greatly and set up changes are fast and easy.
Lastly I stood in front of my Router Table, a dear friend in my wood shop. After my experience with Incra and the table saw and drill press what miracles could they do with my router table. Well I am here to testify they can do a lot.
The Incra Ultra Jig system for routers looks like something out of a science fiction movie. The dials and panels create an awesome array of possibilities I don't know where to begin. So here is a little of what they say about it.
"...And with decorative joints like the exquisite Incra Double Dovetail, Incra Jig made the impossible quiet possible. Designed for all levels of woodworkers, the Incra Jig Ultra will quickly elevate any woodworkers skill, craftsmanship and mastery of intricate joinery with just basic inch scale reading skills. By combining Incra’s patented incremental racks and simple template system, you’ll be making perfectly fitting box joints and dovetails in a matter of hours. Need a dado exactly 15 31/32" from a boards edge, no problem. The Ultra does that to, with a positioning accuracy of .001" along its entire 16" range. Need to nudge the fence a “hair”, the built in Micro-Adjust knob enables you to fine-tune the fence position in marked intervals of .001". Want to stop a cut before the end of a work piece, Incra’s patented incremental stop can be positioned anywhere along the 28" fence with the same .001" repeatability of the Ultra itself."
By using one of the dozens of templates you can create a huge variety of joints both strong and beautiful. I wish I could say I have mastered its use, but there are so many possibilities using this system I discover something new every time I use it. Priced from $179 to $200, it is a very worthy upgrade to your router table.
Now standing in my shop surveying the new upgrades to my woodworking machines, I am both pleased and impressed with Incra. I can easily recommend any of these systems for their performance, durability and ease of use, If the rest of Incra's systems are up to the standards I have seen in these three systems then any choice you make should be a good one.
If you are looking to upgrade your systems, visit our friends at Woodpeckers, Distributes of these and other great systems from Incra