Author Topic: Incra Router Table - Too Much?  (Read 5742 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Ajax

  • Posts: 193
Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« on: August 02, 2016, 03:00 PM »
I currently have a Bosch RA1181 bench top router table.  It works but it can be a pain to use at times. 

I'm thinking about the Incra Combo 3 router table package with the Master Lift 2.  It looks like a great system, but it is expensive and it has a lot of features that I already have in other tools (e.g. dovetail jig, box jig, jointer, etc.).  It also is large and unconventional in the sense that the positioner takes up much of the table space. 

For those who have an Incra table/positioner/fence: Do you use all the features?  Is it too big?  Is it worth the money?
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 03:02 PM by Ajax »
Kapex KS120, MFT/3, TS55 REQ, LS130, RTS400, RO90 DX FEQ, D90 Assortment, RO150 REQ, ETS 150/3, PRO5, D150 Assortment, DF 500, Domino 4/5/8/10 Assortment, DF700 XL, Domino 12/14 Assortment,  CT Midi, MFT/3, Kapex MFT, 2 x SysRoll

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Offline rizzoa13

  • Posts: 587
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2016, 03:36 PM »
I have the router table insert on the right side of my table saw. I feel it's worth every penny. Everything about it is quality and easy to use. I have the prl-v2 lift and really like the micro and macro height adjustments and over the table bit changes.

If it's going to be in a shop take a look at the incra clean sweep and cleansweep magnalock rings too for extra dust collection.

Offline bobfog

  • Posts: 838
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2016, 03:47 PM »
Let's see if I can summarise this thread for you prior to the dozens of posts that often ensue when the question of "is it worth it" crops up and save everyone some time.

The correct answer is it's absolutely worth it and no it's absolutely not.

It depends on whether you can afford it. But as you're seeking advice you probably, like all of us, can afford it but aren't made of money so you're wondering if the money is justifiable vs other things you could spend it on. Therefore the answer probably lies somewhere between the two extremes of the above statement.

So... Is it too much and is it worth it? I'm guessing you're a hobbyist based on owning the Bosch table at the moment. As such I think it will comes down to how much work you do on the router table, how much time it would save, how much mistakes cost you in material and time and generally how much happier a slicker and more accurate table would make you.

If you use the table occasionally and the shortcomings of your existing Bosch are an annoyance but still allow you to achieve the finished result you want, then save the money for something else that will be a more gratifying/productive purchase, now or in the future.

If you use the table regularly and the shortcomings of the Bosch are costing you time and wasted material on a regular basis, detracting from your overall enjoyment then get the Incra.

In summary if at the end of each project the annoyances of the Bosch are forgotten when you marvel at your end results, keep it. If you are still berating the Bosch after you've finished each project, then buy the Incra.

Hope that helps.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 03:56 PM by bobfog »

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 872
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2016, 04:03 PM »
I have a 27x48 table that I made myself, with the 25" LS positioner and the Wonder Fence.

I have only done dovetails/box joints with this setup 2-3 times.  But here are the other things I like about the setup:
1.  LS Positioner: The micro adjust is just top notch.
2.  LS Positioner: Don't have to clamp both sides of the fence and then fine-tune by tweaking one side.
3.  LS Positioner: The locked positioner is rock-solid.
4.  Wonder Fence: Pretty good dust collection on the fence.
5.  Wonder Fence: Good offset capability that I use occasionally.
6.  Wonder Fence: High fence support for routing pieces vertically.

The first three mean that you can get to the setup you want more quickly than with other fences, at least in my judgement.  I've used shop fences, Jessum, and Rockler fences, and they are all accurate enough, but slower to set up.

Offline rst

  • Posts: 2277
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2016, 04:41 PM »
I also have a self made router table.  Mines about 18 years old and is 32 X 49 and uses a PC 7518 router witha Benchdog lift.  Benchdog were the first to market a lift and it was mostly aimed at industrial users.  It's cast iron and has huge bronze bearings.  Two years ago I added the LS-17 and wonder fence.  I use a  http://www.woodcraft.com/product/151090/keen-products-router-table-dust-collection-accessory.aspx for sudt collection and it works every bit as well as my Festool CMS.  My table is large as I rout alot of large, both dimensions, plastic pieces.

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7652
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2016, 05:39 PM »
If being large is a problem, could you make the router table setup a multi use work surface and attach the positioner when required?

I have an MFT/3 + CMS/VL + CMS OF and have recently gone with a 25" positioner and Wonder fence setup that I can add/remove in minutes .. which I anticipate working well for me.

Cost, value, personal enjoyment, etc - we can't answer for you. I do feel Incra products are reasonably priced for their quality.

Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 1929
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2016, 06:00 PM »
I would agree that there is not one answer to your question. I bought the exact Incra Combo you are considering about 1 1/2 years ago. I added the Master Lift and a Porter Cable motor along with the under table dust collection attachment. Before that I used a Rockler table/insert with a 35 year old Makita router and a version of the Incra positioner made specifically for Rockler for their tables.

I have found that my new Incra setup is extremely accurate; both horizontally because of the positioner and vertically because of the Master Lift. Everything I do on it turns out exactly as I want it to (unless I make a stupid mistake). I haven't found anything that the table can't handle accurately with quick setup and usually only with 1 test pass.

As for dovetails . . . Half blind dovetails are quick, easy, and extremely accurate. I made drawers that fit together perfectly after one practice run viewing the Incra video and instructions. Through dovetails are a little bit more difficult and required a bit more practice for me. They aren't quite as straightforward, but still are very accurate once you get the hang of it. Box joints can be a challenge since the accuracy of the joint depends, to some degree, on the tolerance to which the straight bit you're using is ground. If it is even a thousandth under the stated diameter, the joints can be slightly loose. If more than that, it can be a problem which can't be resolved because the Incra box joint depends on the diameter of the bit to get a tight fit. If you do a lot of box joints either find a different method or plan on buying the Incra IBox jig which permits you to adjust the cuts till they fit perfectly regardless of the tolerance of the bit. (This jig also works with a table saw which seems to be the preferred method for most people to cut box joints.)

I love the whole setup and wish I have bought it years before I did. However, if space is a real problem it might not be the right setup for you. All my tools, including the Incra table, are on wheels so I move things out of the way and the tool I'm using becomes the one in the center, so space isn't quite as big a deal for me. If you already have a dovetail jig that you are satisfied with and is easy to setup and use with dust collection, there are other router tables/fences/lifts on the market which are also accurate and easy to use. You can always make your table or buy a table and install either homemade or other accessories.

For me, the Incra was worth every penny because of its accuracy, ease of use, and the dust collection under table. Check on possible discounts from Incra. When I bought, there was a 10% discount on your first purchase from incrmentaltools.com (the retail site for Incra) on everything bought in the purchase. It's not a huge amount but it helps on the cost. One other thing, the shipping charges on this site are high, I think, but they package everything well and don't seem to have any damage problems.

Phone and online support are fantastic. I have never waited more that one day for a return phone call or email if I couldn't get them on the phone immediately. They answer every question very precisely and honestly.

Just so you know, I don't make furniture for a living; just because I like to do it. I still think it was worth it for me.

Hope this helps.

Randy

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7652
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2016, 06:09 PM »
There is a first time purchase discount you get at the moment if you buy through their website, but register first in their preferred customer program.

Offline Motown

  • Posts: 200
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2016, 06:39 PM »
If you happen to be in the SF Bay Area, I'd sell you mine. I just bought a slider and will set up an independent table soon.

The system itself is awesome but if you are looking to do dovetails or box joints you could get by with a Porter Cable or Leigh set up.

Offline geoffshep

  • Posts: 156
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2016, 04:31 AM »
I have an MFT/3 + CMS/VL + CMS OF and have recently gone with a 25" positioner and Wonder fence setup that I can add/remove in minutes .. which I anticipate working well for me.

Kev, do you mean the MFT/VL - the one with 2 legs, attached to the MFT?  I'm thinking of going down this route and wondered how you attach the LS positioner - have you posted any pictures (had a quick search)?

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7652
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2016, 04:42 AM »
I have an MFT/3 + CMS/VL + CMS OF and have recently gone with a 25" positioner and Wonder fence setup that I can add/remove in minutes .. which I anticipate working well for me.

Kev, do you mean the MFT/VL - the one with 2 legs, attached to the MFT?  I'm thinking of going down this route and wondered how you attach the LS positioner - have you posted any pictures (had a quick search)?

@geoffshep YEP - that's what I meant. I haven't posted pictures ... I'm still waiting on a new Precision Plate from Precision Dogs - it's somewhere between Sydney Airport and me and seems lost [sad]

I got the plate before I got the Positioner .. sadly it's a newer base on the positioner so I needed an updated plate.

Look here http://festoolownersgroup.com/festool-jigs-tool-enhancements/it's-finally-here-the-precision-plate-for-incra-positioners!!/

I've also got the GE, but I leave that set up with the TS75

Offline geoffshep

  • Posts: 156
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2016, 04:45 AM »
Thanks - I've seen that plate and discovered the new Incra design snag.

Sorry to hijack the thread, but it gives the OP another option.

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2742
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2016, 05:33 AM »
I built up a router using a Kreg table and top, PC motor, Woodpecker lift & integrated plate, and a high precision fence I've had for many years. The Kreg table is on lockable castors. The dust collection is cobbled up, but functions.

I needed a large stable flat table, a mounting plate that won't sag, portability (within the shop), and high precision on the fence and cutter height.

I think satisfying those criteria with and brands or combination of brands will produce a very usable router table.
Birdhunter

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2016, 06:54 AM »
Thanks - I've seen that plate and discovered the new Incra design snag.

Sorry to hijack the thread, but it gives the OP another option.

For rizzoa the Incra makes sense as the porter cable fits it.
However Porter cable does not make a 230v router, and it seemed like a triton is at the top of that price point outside the US.
@geoffshep if you have other options for 230v, then I am interested.

Offline geoffshep

  • Posts: 156
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2016, 07:30 AM »
Sorry, not too familiar with all of the fixed-base router options.  There are some 240v options in UK but very few ever give their body diameter, similarly router lifts often say which routers are compatible but don't list the diameter they will accept.

This one is available in UK (although it always seems to be out of stock) and specifically says it fits the incra lift: http://woodworkersworkshop.co.uk/epages/eshop814530.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/eshop814530/Products/AUK_FBROUT


Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 872
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2016, 10:32 AM »
...
This one is available in UK (although it always seems to be out of stock) and specifically says it fits the incra lift: http://woodworkersworkshop.co.uk/epages/eshop814530.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/eshop814530/Products/AUK_FBROUT

Looks very similar to the Portamate router motor that is newly available in the US.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 4311
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2016, 12:16 PM »

Offline geoffshep

  • Posts: 156
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2016, 12:55 PM »
And this...

Yes, I'm interested in that one, but not sure it will not fit the lift mentioned by rizzoa13

Actually, 4 inches seems like a reasonable size for the body of a router, so maybe they are all standard - or would that be too much to hope for?
« Last Edit: August 03, 2016, 01:19 PM by geoffshep »

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 872
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2016, 01:42 PM »
...
Actually, 4 inches seems like a reasonable size for the body of a router, so maybe they are all standard - or would that be too much to hope for?

The Port-a-Mate router (US) and other router motors that are pretty obviously made by the same company list the motor diameter as 4 1/4 inches.  The Porter-Cable 75182 router motor which is the gold standard for heavier router lifts is listed as 4.2" diameter.  That's enough of a difference that one or the other might end up slightly off-center to the lift plate opening if the lift clamp is not self-centering or adjustable.  One can only hope that there is some hyperbole in the Port-a-Mate spec.  Note that some lifts do not support the Porter-Cable 75182 - that means it's a lighter weight lift.

In any case, in the US, the Port-a-Mate runs $229-$269, depending, while the Porter-Cable can be had for $259 until the end of August at Woodcraft.  I just bought the Porter-Cable - it was kind of a no brainer, as it appears that the Porter-Cable bearing problem has been fixed.

MLCS also lists a 4.2" diameter motor.

Offline rizzoa13

  • Posts: 587
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2016, 09:40 PM »
For you guys worried about finding a 230v router, couldn't you just wire up a 110v outlet in your shop? It sounds like the op is building a stationary table for use in a shop. Are your electrical panels different from ours because we have 230v coming in from the meter and then it gets split at the panel depending on how you wire it.

You may have to manually turn on your dust collector but it may be worth it to get the lift and router motor you really want.

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2016, 05:13 AM »
For you guys worried about finding a 230v router, couldn't you just wire up a 110v outlet in your shop? It sounds like the op is building a stationary table for use in a shop. Are your electrical panels different from ours because we have 230v coming in from the meter and then it gets split at the panel depending on how you wire it.

You may have to manually turn on your dust collector but it may be worth it to get the lift and router motor you really want.

It may be possible in the UK as (I believe) it is a push pull like US 220v.

In the rest the worth centre tap of the transformer is not tied to ground, but is on the return so it is 230, neutral, ground... Not 115v/0-degrees, 115v/180-degrees, ground.

And the Incra lift is not tailored for exo-US routers.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2016, 06:14 AM by Holmz »

Offline geoffshep

  • Posts: 156
Re: Incra Router Table - Too Much?
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2016, 06:05 AM »
It is easy enough to use 110v in UK, it is used a lot by tradesmen and it is usually run off a simple transformer.