Video: Using the Incra LS17 to cut Dovetail joints
Everything about the LS17 Super System looks complicated at first glance, but once it’s assembled, it is reasonably easy to use. Before we look at the LS Positioner, watch the video to see just how easy the system is to use and make advanced joints like dovetails.
The guy doesn’t really pause for breath and he’s obviously done this a time or two before, but you can see how quick and easy it is to use the system once you’ve got to grips with it. The Incra LS17 Super System retails for $657.
If you’re struggling with the complexity of the system, Incra produce a book just for you, the INCRA IJPT1 Projects and Techniques Book, which is the definitive work on using INCRA Tools. It’s 148 pages of detailed plans with over 400 illustrations and photos to take you through everything.
Incra LS17 Positioner
The Wonder Fence itself is the pinnacle of Incra’s fence technology with a lot of innovative features, but it’s the LS Positioner system that allows the LS17 Super System to perform any fence-guided operation that can be done on a router table. The LS Positioner comes in three lengths, 17″, 25″ and 32″ and they’re all identical apart from the lengths.
The Pro-II fence is attached to the end of the LS positioner which clamps to your router table. The LS is the heaviest duty positioner Incra have produced, with rock-solid fence travel of 17″. Lifting the red locking lever causes the patented steel lead screw positioning system to instantly snap the fence to the dead center of any multiple of 1/32″ with an accuracy of 0.002″.
This allows fence positioning far beyond what’s possible by eyesight alone, and fence setups are instantly repeatable. The integrated micro adjust knob allows moving between whole increments with 0.001″ resolution for total control over small fence adjustments.
Incra Lead Screw (LS) System
The LS system takes accurate micro adjustment to new levels. The LS positioner’s accuracy is +/- .002″ on the lead screw’s 1/32″ increments across its entire range. The large micro-adjust knob allows the fence to be shifted in .001″ steps to tweak the width of a groove or zero the fence against a router bit.
To adjust the fence position, push the carriage clamp down to unlock the carriage, then slide the fence as you sight through the hairline cursor. When you see your measurement under the hairline cursor, pull the clamp up to the locked position. This instantly snaps the fence to the dead center of any multiple of 1/32″. You then use the micro adjuster for precise positioning of the fence to any location between the 1/32” incremental spacing of the lead screw.
The LS Positioner include a Primary Stainless Steel Scale, a “Floating” Reference Scale and an Auto-Centering Scale. The Primary scale adjusts on a magnetic track in the first channel to indicate distance from the cutter. The Reference Scale “floats” in a second channel to indicate distance from the last cut or any other reference point of your choosing. The Auto-Centering Scale fits in a third channel to automatically center your work for any operation.
The LS17 Super System is capable of producing any kind of joint that can be cut on the router table, but you really don’t want to be working out all the layouts manually. That’s where the Master Reference Guide comes in – it’s a set of instructions and 51 joinery templates including 11 box joint patterns and 29 dovetail patterns (and each one of the dovetail patterns can be cut half blind, through, sliding, or corner post). The templates simply slide into the carriage to provide a visual reference for each joint pattern – they have a series of lines that represent each cut you make.
How Big A Router Table Do I Need?
The Incra LS17 Super System is a large piece of equipment and you’ll need a large table top to get the most out of it. For maximum access to the fence system range, you need to locate the leading edge of the LS base 19¾” from the center of your router collet. Add 6″ for the length of the positioner base and another 6″ at least from the center of the collet to the front edge of the table and you’ve got an absolute minimum table depth of 32″.
Naturally Incra recommend you mount the LS17 on one of their own tables like the INCRA RT2436OS 24-Inch by 36-Inch Offset Router Table Top which comes pre-drilled to accept any of the LS Positioner bases and simplifies setup considerably.
Alternatives to the Incra LS17 Super System
There are certainly no direct alternatives to the Incra LS17 Super System other than the bigger versions such as the Incra LS25 Super System, which is gives you all the same functions but with a longer positioner. The LS17 is probably as large as you want to go on a router table anyway and already needs a table top at least 32″ deep so you wouldn’t really want a longer positioner.
The LS17 isn’t just a router table fence, it’s more like a router table fence combined with the jointing capabilities of a high-end dovetail jig, so it’s difficult to make a direct comparison.
There’s nothing else like the Incra LS17 Super System on the market. Combining the advantages of a fully-featured router table fence and the jointing capabilities of a high-end dovetail jig, it’s more like a complete joinery system and enables you to accomplish anything that’s possible on a router table with incredible precision, quickly and easily once you’ve mastered the fairly steep learning curve. If you’ve got room for it on your router table, you won’t ever regret investing in the Incra LS17 Super System.