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ease of use I-box vs Incra LS

2255 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Cherryville Chuck
The Incra LS promo shows all 4 sides of a box being cut at the same time vs the I-box approach of cutting one board at a time. Sounds dramatically more efficient. Would like to hear comments from those who have used both.

I am a new user of I-box and found the set up somewhat complicated and learned the hard way to go slow and make sure the previously cut notch is properly seated over the plates before making the subsequent cut. Easy to screw things up and waste a board.

Is the LS easy to use for making box joints or does it make it easier to waste 4 boards in one pass? The LS of course does much much more than box joints

I do realize that I am early in the learning curve with the I-box. But today I must change blades on my TS and I am not looking forward to setting up the I-box anew
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The I box is supposed to be the 'easiest' way to make box joints. The incremental positioning fences like the LS have a lot more capability, but can be more complicated to use.

It depends on your planned projects. I use the old Router Workshop spacer fence system for box joints; quick and easy. I have an original Incra jig, but it rarely sees the light of day

If you want to see some intricate box joint jigs......
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You can cut one end of all four box sides at the same time, but you will need to devise a way to shift two opposite sides of the box an exact amount equal to a pin width, because two of the boards will need to start with a pin and the mating pieces will need to start with a space for the mating pin on the other board..

Remember the "A" and "B" sides that I referred to? Two have to start with the pin first and the other two have to start with the space for a pin first. I use one of the boards that start with the pin first to shift the boards by the width of the first pin (already cut board inverted to use first pin as spacer when making first cut of boards beginning with the space first). You can then remove this already cut "A" board and continue cutting the rest of that end of the "B" board to complete that end of the board. Grouping the "A" boards together and cutting both at the same time only requires a clamp to keep them aligned with each other. The "B" boards not only require the clamp to keep them together, but use of the "A" boards to space the "B" boards over during the first cut so they begin with a pin space and not with a pin. From then on, as long as the two boards being cut don't shift in relation to each other, you can cut both at the same time and your joint will be good.

I just found that when I cut one board at a time that it's been easier for me to get a perfect joint. If I was doing production mode I might be willing to cut more at the same time, but it would require ways to quickly align and clamp them together as well as a spacing method to use when cutting the "B" boards. This is true whether you are cutting the joints with the I-Nox jig or the Incra jig or any other jig to make box joints and with the Incra LS and the strips to guide you as to where to position the Incra Ls to make each cut. They won't fit together if you cut all four pieces identical. Well, they will, but two of the sides will be shifted by one pin width, requiring you to trim the box sides narrower for the top and bottom edges of all four sides to be in alignment with each other and waste some of the wood, resulting in a smaller box than you intended to make.

This will all become very obvious to you if you cut both ends of all four box sides of your first box the same and then try to dry assemble the box. Then you will fully understand why I label the front and back of the box "A" and the two sides of the box "B" and cut them differently, and why I tend to prefer cutting one end of one side at a time, or both "A" sides at the same time and then both "B" sides at the same time, but never all four together at the same time.

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I bought the I-box jig to replace a home made version I had. With the home made version I had to play with the dado stack until I got the right thickness to work. With the I-box I throw a stack on the saw and adjust the jig to fit it which is easier and faster. I can't speak for the LS whether it's as easy as the I-box is.
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