Incra LS router-table fence gets installed
I had no real shop-time this weekend even with a -3 degree temperature outside. Goal for this week will be to finish-sand the various leg assemblies and began the fit up.
But first, I wanted to get the new Incra router-table fence installed…
A lot to like…
On Tuesday night, I completed the installation of the Incra LS 25 “Super System” onto the router table. Complete installation took less than an hour. I am very impressed with its fit, finish and packaging. The fence seems exceptionally well thought-out and engineered and if it operates nearly as well as it installed it will be a pleasure to use. The instructions were clear and easy to follow and all the parts were well labeled and packaged. The accuracy of the machining on the parts was excellent, and it was made in the USA.
It’s hard to describe how the Incra fence differs from a traditional router table fence. The primary difference is what is called “incremental positioning.” Simplistically, this allows the fence to be moved forward or backward in very tiny, very accurate increments (a couple of thousandths of an inch at a time). The fence operates like a large engineer’s T-square that is mounted on a sliding base on the surface of your router table. The router-fence itself being the T-square’s crossbar with the long measuring unit sticking out perpendicular to the fence toward the rear-edge of the router table. I recommend reading the website for clearer details (www.incra.com).
I purchased the larger (longer) of the two units, which has a 25 inch reach (vs 17 inches for the smaller unit). The fence width is the same for both size Incra units, with the only real difference being the length of the positioning bar. I also purchased what is called the “Super System” model. This model includes a split front-fence attachment, dust collection, and a high-rise attachment in addition to the basic incremental positioning unit. These pieces can all be purchased separately if desired.
After having permanently mounted the aluminum base unit onto the rear of my router table during initial installation, the fence itself is now very easy to remove and replace as needed. This is a nice feature to allow for easy conversion to pattern routing, etc.
Calibration and squaring of the unit was easily accomplished following the instructions in the manual and it appears to me that these settings should hold with good reliability and only occasional checks.
After I have had a chance to really use the new unit, I will post a more extensive review.
The only real negative so far….(other than price)
The fence requires a great deal of distance behind the router-bit collet to the back edge of your router-table. I knew this going-in, and that’s why I had added a plywood router-table extension earlier last week. Even so, the fence barely fit on the new table extension and still overhangs the back edge by almost 4 inches. According to the instructions, that’s not a problem….but if you intend to install an Incra fence onto your existing router-table, keep in mind that its likely to need to be MUCH larger top than your existing table-top (something like 34 inches is required behind the router bit to accommodate the larger Incra positioning system!).
If shop space is at a real premium in your shop, this could be a major negative for it an Incra- style positioning system. Also, keep in mind that when the fence is retracted backwards into the Incra’s base to make joints on wide workpieces, the aluminum positioning-unit will extend a significant distance behind the back edge of your router table. So, if you already had 32 inches behind the center of your router bit, you may have as much as another 20+ inches of aluminum positioning bar that extends behind the table (on the larger Incra unit). This precludes you from positioning your router table with its back against a wall. That’s not a problem for me given the position of the router-table in my shop, but it could be a real issue for people working in tighter conditions. Of course, if I had purchased a smaller unit it would have required slightly less room.