I am budget limited and I want to purchase an Incra LS 17 inch primarily for decorative joinery on small boxes and cabinets. I want to contain costs so an Incra table top and metal cabinet frame are out of question. I would like to add Incra clean sweep and wonder fence in the future.I have a Jessum lift
I am looking for advice and suggestions from experienced LS users.
-should I build a 36 inch or 43 inch wide cabinet. Would I find the 36 top too small?
- I plan on having local cabinet shop with CNC machinery fabricate a top that will precisely fit a Jessum lift plate offset to one end?
--I am thinking of using sink counter top with a formica surface or is there a better material to be used
--should the bottom of table top also be sealed w formica covering.....unheated Maine garage
--or is there a strong argument to spend $ and get the Incra table top
--Is the Incra clean sweep compatible w Jessum lift.......how much space to allow for this future upgrade
Hey Tom...the move to Incra is a slippery slope, but i'm not going to talk you off the ledge. Answers to some questions, guesses on a few...
I've got a 17" on a table 32" wide and 24" deep, added an extension (12") to the back to mount the 17". It's okay. I have a 25" system on an Incra 43" top, and the top size is much better for me. The space gets used for a lot of small work when it's not routing. IF you have the floor space--the dimensions of the 43" table are great. (by the way--I've only needed to go beyond the 17" travel a few times--and even for those could have gotten by without the 25" positioner). You'll never regret the 43" top IF you have the space, but you might chew yourself out for the 36" when you need another inch or two!!
If you use a counter top, i'd consider putting surface on the bottom as well as the top. Most countertop is particle board, while the Incra top is MDF (as is Woodpeckers, and many others). With the particle board, i'd consider making sure there was some support underneath to prevent sag, especially if your router will be kind of permanently mounted.
Having a top fabricated (or custom cutting after buying a section of countertop and adding finish to the bottom) may not be that far from just biting the bullet and buying a top. Price the total (with extra material if you cut your own) and compare the value. Incra's top comes with predrilled holes for mounting (not a huge deal), and the pre-drills are for both the 17" and 25" mount positions. If you make yours, you might consider drilling a second set of holes.
The Clean Sweep cabinet will work with the Jessem lift, I did that while I was building my cabinet. Built a dust box in my cabinet that doesn't work as well as the Clean Sweep--but it exhausts out the back instead of the bottom so I could make my drawers bigger. Good system, and the magnetic Clean Sweep rings work great in the lift as well. I do wish they would sell the lift with the Clean Sweep rings as a package--I rarely use my regular rings.
I rarely use that second table any more, so i'd consider selling the 17" system and Clean Sweep cabinet--just haven't gotten to the point of being serious enough to list it. Shoot me a PM if you'd like to discuss, though shipping from the Midwest to Maine might not be competitive with a retailer's rates.
It's good stuff--and the package you're looking at is awesome. The additional dust collection of the Wonder Fence and the ease of opening a gap for larger bits is great. And--once you get the hang of the system, repeatable accuracy is possible--even for ME!!