Saw Alignment and Incra Miter Express

It takes some time to really set the saw up properly as I’ve discovered recently. There are so many different variables that can affect saw accuracy.

Carbatec TS10L Cabinet Saw

However, with a combination of the Deluxe Alignment Kit I got from Carbatec, and a couple of the Wixey Digital gauges (the angle gauge and the height gauge), I think I got it all set up within ridiculous tolerances. Not that I’m complaining – I love the accuracy that they have allowed me. Now if only my woodworking was that precise!

Now on top of the saw, you might recognise a rather interesting contraption – yup, I got to set up the Incra Miter Express from Professional Woodworker Supplies, and even got to make a couple of quick cuts! I was rather indecisive for a while whether to mount it on the left-hand side, the traditional side for miter gauges (and yeah, I keep switching between the US spelling and the Oz spelling – can’t be helped – the product is called a Miter gauge), or because it is a left-tilting saw, it is meant to be run in the right-hand track (so the saw when tilted doesn’t cut into it).

I decided to go the right-hand side so I can do both mitre directions (angling the fence, and tilting the blade) while using the sled. I’ll probably (and the jury is still out on this one), mount the Incra SE1000 on the Miter Express, and set up the mitre gauge that came with the saw on the left-hand side for my general purpose cuts, which will pretty much all be 90 degrees. I have a bit of Incra fence from an old SE1000, so might look at mounting that to the mitre gauge so I can still use the Incra stop.

Incra Miter Express

This is the Miter Express as I was first setting it up (and before I decided which side to use it on). It is basically a commercial version of a crosscut sled, done with typical Incra accuracy, and incorporates a Mitre gauge for precise angles.

Incra Miter Express

Here on the correct side for a left-tilt saw (and it is now cut providing zero-clearance), so the decision is made. It takes any typical mitre gague, and not just the Incra ones. Here I was using it with the one that came with the TS10L. The built-in track provides channels for hold-downs (and it comes with an Incra holddown).

All in all, it provides a very smooth way to feed your work into the blade, with good ability to secure the work and keep fingers well away from danger. I can see it getting a lot of use as I start to try to improve my box-making skills, and other precise work. Sure, you do loose some resaw height, but when you are doing precision stuff, you are less likely to need full blade height, and you haven’t lost any more than if you made your own cross-cut sled that everyone seems to recommend anyway.

I’m looking forward to bringing some results to you from this (as you can see though from the last photo, the next project has to be dust extraction!!!)

Wixey Digital Height Gauge

I haven’t had a chance to give this gauge a real workout yet, but after seeing a friend’s version it looked like an absolute must-have for the workshop!

The height gauge is fundamentally a digital caliper which has been rehoused to perform one specific role exceptionally.

It is accurate to 1/20th of a mm, (or 1/1000th of an inch) which is phenomenal accuracy when you compare it to how we normally set blade and router bit height with a steel rule, and eyechrometer!

The base looks a bit chunky at first, but there is a definite purpose there – you want the unit to be free-standing, and yet you want the scale to be flush with the edge, and this is how you get that. In addition, the scale is flush with the back edge of the base, so you can use the height gauge to also accurately set fence to blade (or router bit) distance. In a few days, I will be using this feature to set up my new tablesaw to ensure the top is accurately aligned with the blade (and therefore the saw’s arbor). The base also houses a couple of magnetic strips, which further adds its free-standing stability.

It is not mentioned, but you could also use it to set drill bit depth to the same accuracy – presetting the depth stop before cutting your hole.

My primary purpose for getting the gauge for my workshop is repeatable router bit setup, where accuracy is critical – particularly if using the Incra system for dovetailing. Instead of having to make repeated test cuts and adjustments, I’m going to be getting some test pieces done, then recording the router bit height so next time I know exactly how high the dovetail bit needs to be to get the required degree of tightness in the dovetail joint. Also, as I have just taken possession of a Carb-i-tool Mitre Lock bit, again this normally needs some mucking around with test pieces to get the setup right, and I will be able to record bit height and fence position so I can quickly and easily set up the bit each time I want to use it. One of the problems otherwise is you can be reluctant to use these bits simply because of the setting up time involved. Not anymore!

So once again, hats off to Mr Barry Wixey for a superb product that is definitely recommended!

Available in Australia from Professional Woodworker Supplies. Cost at time of writing is $A112.50

Now if only I could convince Mr Wixey to produce an alignment kit for accurately calibrating tablesaws etc – being able to digitally test mitre slot accuracy, blade runout, blade squareness to table etc all in one unit. There are already models on the market, but not digital, and certainly not combining a number of different Wixey products into one package

Perhaps there should be a Wixey TableSaw kit, which includes an alignment tool, height gauge, angle gauge and digital fence all in the one package!

I’m planning on doing a video/podcast review of all the various Wixey products that are available sometime soon, so keep an eye out for that.

%d bloggers like this: