Incra LS17 for small box joinery questions - Router Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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Default Incra LS17 for small box joinery questions

I am ready to buy an Incra positioner for use on dedicated router table with 43x27 incra table top. Last fall I built the table and bought the top. Soon I will order the 17 inch positioner primarily for joinery on heirloom boxes. My biggest question is whether I should buy the wonder fence.......my impression is that if I want to use bits larger than 1 inch, I must buy this fence??????

Someone told me assembly is very straight forward and very well documented and that I should be operational in a couple hours and that the learning curve is reasonable. I hope this is true.

I would love to visit a user of this system in the sarasota florida area now or near bar harbor maine after june 15......I have a lakefront cottage in maine where I will use my Incra
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 12:08 PM
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You might want to check out this review, which also has links to see the 17 in use. http://www.routertablereview.com/inc...-fence-review/

It is quite pricey! The review I saw said that the cost is really high unless you intend to do a lot of joint making with it. To me, I'd rather have jigs specific to the task for both box joints and dovetails. I have a Sommerfeld dovetail jig (Katey Jig) and Leigh makes a long version that is available in larger sizes. And for me, the Incra ibox jig is the most practical way to make box joints, easy and reliable. Both the Sommerfeld and Leigh jigs allow for variable spacing of dovetails for a more hand made look. The accuracy is very high with all of those jigs since the guide teeth are locked in position, or are part of a bar.

The length of table required is a bit daunting to me, and the cutting area is on the narrow dimension. I like having greater width for longer pieces and wouldn't really want to try to cut a rabbet on a 35 inch wide cabinet piece on such a narrow table lip.

I can see that in a commercial shop that makes lots of the same products, it would be a really nice item for its repeatability. but in a commercial shop, you could make a huge table to accommodate wide pieces.

One other point that concerns me is that I didn't see a router mounting plate in my search. Having that with a twist lock insert is, to me at least, a basic must.

Of course this is my opinion only. And honestly, I wouldn't buy the system. I like the fence well enough, but it seems ovepriced and overkill. There are many user techniques, jigs and simple solutions to accurate joinery. And it's wood, not metal we're working with and .002 accuracy is irrelevant since differences in humidity will throw measurements off by that amount or more.

IMHO, of course. Posts like yours are opportunities to do some homework and consider new and different approaches and gadgets, one of my favorite things to do.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 07:22 PM
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@tomcoleman


Not sure of the exact diameter bit you can go to before requiring a Wonder Fence, but 1" sounds about right.

Yes, assembly is straight forward and not difficult at all!!! You'll be up and running in no time. There is however a learning curve. Getting used to setting up the template rulers at first is more confusing than difficult. If you have any problems, A: ask in here, lots of guys have the LS17. B: Plenty of infor on Youtube. C: Contact Incra, they are excellent to work with. No matter how ya get there, once you are there, you'll love the LS17.

accuracy provided by the LS is outstanding. As good as you'll find. The fence itself is robust, well built, functional and made to last. Even in a busy shop. The instructions and templates provided will keep you busy for a very long time. The only negative I have about the system is that when reading the rulers, often they are a tad difficult to read. That could be entirely due to older eyes however Nothing a small magnifying glass hasn't over come!! Good luck with your new fence!! Got questions, ask away... lots of folks willing to help around here...

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 01:34 AM
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I have an LS 25 inch. I also have the Wonder Fence. The stock fence is ok for general routing but the Wonder Fence makes the LS really versatile. I really use the Wonder Fence a lot. Plus the Wonder Fence has the vacuum port on the end and makes routing less messy. I would highly recommend the Wonder Fence.

You can joint with the Wonder Fence (edge), it opens up for wider bits, and it has the riser for taller work. Both fences have the T slots for stops and the Wonder Fence uses the Incra Stop you will need for the dovetail and other joint making operations. The stock fence may use the stop but the Wonder Fence is overall a great addition to the Incra positioner.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 10:42 AM
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I forgot to add one very important thing about an Incra LS. I dont care what age your are you need to get a lighted magnifier over the scales. Now you may saw my eyes are good and I dont need any such thing. The scales and cursor are very small. If you are making half inch dovetails and you set the positioner wrong by 1/32 of an inch there will be a visable gap or the joint is so tight you cannot get it together without breaking off the tails. There are many types of these lighted magnifier devices. I would suggest one that has a separate base so you can move it around the shop. It is funny how once you get a new tool how many uses you can find for it. Also try to get an LED one. The ones with lightbulbs are subject to breakage in the shop. Usually they put out a yellow glow as well so LED is bright and white light.

I dont remember if the LS comes with the master reference buy you need one of those. If the LS does not come with one be sure to get one. The master reference has all the joints laid out in full scale with a lot of templates you need to make double dovetail, double double dovetail etc. The master reference is invaluable to the LS.

Have you considered your router lift. I have the Rockler Fx (Jessum) and am quite happy with it. But the Incra lifts have the magnetic bit covers with holes to increase CFM of your dust collector. I really like the Incra lift and if for some reason I had to get a new one I would get the Incra after looking at Jessum (expensive), Kreg, etc....

It is hard to beat Incra at anything they make.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomcoleman View Post
I am ready to buy an Incra positioner for use on dedicated router table with 43x27 incra table top. Last fall I built the table and bought the top. Soon I will order the 17 inch positioner primarily for joinery on heirloom boxes. My biggest question is whether I should buy the wonder fence.......my impression is that if I want to use bits larger than 1 inch, I must buy this fence??????



Someone told me assembly is very straight forward and very well documented and that I should be operational in a couple hours and that the learning curve is reasonable. I hope this is true.



I would love to visit a user of this system in the sarasota florida area now or near bar harbor maine after june 15......I have a lakefront cottage in maine where I will use my Incra


Iím a user of an LS25. First, there is no better tool for making a wide variety of joints for heirloom boxes. You can work for weeks before running out of different joints. The LS Positioner can do things that would be very difficult any other way. Not even dedicated box joint jigs or dovetail jigs can begin to do what the LS Positioner can do.

You donít need the wonder fence to use bits taller then one inch, (which youíll never need to do making heirloom boxes), all you have to do is install a sacrificial fence to the face of the Incra fence. Saying that, however, the wonder fence does have its advantages as some have mentioned above.

Assembly is straight forward, but getting just right requires some fiddling and adjusting. You must follow the assembly and adjustment instructions exactly or it just wonít work as smooth as it should. For instance, there are two tiny pieces of cardboard that you use as spacers when setting the fence height, if you blow them off when setting up the fence it just wonít work right. Getting it up and running in a couple hours is about right, but additional fiddling may be necessary after trying it.

Documentation is first rate, and if you have a problem, customer service is even better. Drop them an email or give them a call, they will take care of you.

Learning all the different joints and capabilities of the fence will keep you busy for months. Learning the basics is simple, but applying them in use can tedious when setting up some of the more exotic joints.

By the way, if you donít have a thickness planer then you need to get one of those first. The thickness of your wood is critical for most of the joints and some thicknesses can only be determined through trial and error. Very few boxes can be made out of standard 3/4 inch stock. You also NEED a lift. Height adjusts must be made with a high degree of precision or the joints will not fit right and will look like crap.

I spent weeks/months of daily use before working my way through dozens of different joints and feeling comfortable tackling double joints like in the box below. By the way, the project book is necessary to learn how to do these joints and to acquire the templates.



Some of the more exotic joints possible. Maple sides, red oak fronts, Cherry and walnut accents.



Trial of drawers with the maple wrapped all the way around the white oak and the white oak wrapped all the way around maple.



I love my LS Positioner.




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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 01:15 PM
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Beautiful work Terry!
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-01-2019, 08:41 PM
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All Incra things may be considered pricey but only if you don't take into account what you're getting for the money. I've had my 17" for close to 5 years and always wonder why I didn't buy it 20 years ago when I first saw it at a Woodworking Show. With the various scales you can make any joint dovetail or box joint you would want. The unique joints are interesting, but the accuracy and precision the Positioner brings to any table mounted router operation is its real strength.

The installation and setup is not hard, but it's important that, as always, the fence is assembled and installed with patience. It was a little easier for me because I bought Incra's table and router lift so everything just worked together, but I doubt it would be very difficult to make it work on almost any table.

The Wonder Fence is a great addition. However, the dust collection is only improved when the router bit is partially buried within the fence. If you are doing dadoes or joints for which the router bit is completely outside the fence, Wonder Fence doesn't help with dust collection.

If you don't get the Wonder Fence, you can still do many of the same things mounting sub-fences which allow most, if not all, the same operations as with the Wonder Fence. It's a great addition and just makes things a little easier than without it.

Hope this helps although maybe it's too late by this time.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2019, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomcoleman View Post
I am ready to buy an Incra positioner for use on dedicated router table with 43x27 incra table top. Last fall I built the table and bought the top. Soon I will order the 17 inch positioner primarily for joinery on heirloom boxes. My biggest question is whether I should buy the wonder fence.......my impression is that if I want to use bits larger than 1 inch, I must buy this fence??????

Someone told me assembly is very straight forward and very well documented and that I should be operational in a couple hours and that the learning curve is reasonable. I hope this is true.

I would love to visit a user of this system in the sarasota florida area now or near bar harbor maine after june 15......I have a lakefront cottage in maine where I will use my Incra
Tom: I have what I think is the LS Positioner and 2 other Incra fence systems that I've inherited since retiring. I only do woodturning now so need to find someone who can take advantage of them. I live in Punta Gorda FL, only an hour from Sarasota.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2019, 03:55 PM
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Terry I love the drawers on your shop cabinet, that was a good practice session and you got a useful stack of drawers for storage.
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