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The INCRA Miter V27 is an exceptional value - and exceptionally accurate!
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INCRA Miter V27

Pro Accuracy at a Beginner Price

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

Posted - 11-29-2004

   While nearly all woodworkers use a miter gauge, usually supplied with a table saw or other machine, their accuracy is becoming a frequent hot topic of discussion. The wide range of angles and degree of accuracy we want from miter a gauge often means replacing the standard issue versions.

  When woodworkers discuss aftermarket miter gauges, the INCRA name invariably comes up - and rightly so. The INCRA line of reasonably priced, high precision miter gauges has been helping woodworkers improve accuracy and safety for years.

Initial Impressions

One thing I noticed immediately was how cleanly formed the edges of the small indexing notches are. This is not done with cheap tooling, or by a manufacturer who isn't interested in quality and accuracy.
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   When picking up the INCRA V27 the first time it's weight suggested that INCRA opted to use high-strength steel in its manufacture where others chose to reduce production costs with cheaper materials. Closer inspection of the INCRA's individual components shows extensive use of heavy steel materials that insure a long and accurate life span for this tool.

   The fit and finish of all INCRA V27 components is first rate. Even the smallest indexing notches have cleanly formed edges, showing they were cut by high-quality machines and tooling, factors that are crucial to building a miter gauge that is accurate today and will retain that precision over the long term.

Instructions

   I am seldom satisfied with small instruction sheets but the one packaged with the INCRA V27 is well written and provides all necessary information to set up and use it properly. The simplicity of design and quality manufacturing leaves little in the way of setup to be explained once the bar is adjusted to fit the miter slot.

   Read the instructions completely, follow the procedures described and the INCRA Miter V27 will be as accurate as you expect.

Adjustable Guide Bar

(Top) A removable T-slot follower allows using the V27 on virtually any machine with a standard 3/4"-wide slot.
(Bottom) Adjusting the guide bar to fit the slot very closely is fast and simple thanks to the innovative expansion disks INCRA builds into it.
Click images to enlarge

   The forward end of the INCRA V27's 15 ¾"-long guide bar has a T-slot follower (extends bar to 16 5/16"-long) that can be removed if your saw has the squared ¾"-wide by 3/8"-deep miter slots. A single screw is all that holds the T-slot adapter in its form-fitting receptacle.

   The heavy guide bar on which the INCRA V27 rides is 0.742"-wide and has four of INCRA's expansion disks distributed along its length. These ingenious disks make adjusting the INCRA V27 to fit your miter slot precisely a simple task, using the included Allen wrench. Remember to adjust the expansion disk located below the miter body as described in the instructions!

   Anti-Frustration Note: The INCRA expansion disks allow fitting the guide bar to the slot very precisely. Occasionally, after adjusting, the miter gauge will encounter "tight spots" as it is moved along the miter slot. Since the miter bar is not changing dimension the problem is likely small inconsistencies in the width of the miter slot. A block of ¾"-thick wood, wrapped with 100-grit sand paper can be used to relieve the tight spots in the slot. In most cases, the variation in width is only a few thousandths of an inch. Making this small fix will allow the INCRA V27 miter gauge to slide smoothly and accurately along entire length of the miter slot.

Miter Body

(Top) The main body of the V27 is precision laser-cut from heavy steel. The placement of the indexing notches is right on the money.
(Bottom) The plastic shoe under the miter body keeps it sliding freely without scratching the table saw surface.
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   The base plate of the miter body is laser cut and precision machined from a heavy 6 ¾"-wide piece of steel plate. The curved rear edge of the plate has 27 V-shaped notches that allow near instant setting to most commonly used angles.

   A clearly printed sticker with easy-to-read demarcations is precisely applied to the miter body to make selecting the desired angle foolproof.

   The underside of the miter base is covered by a large plastic "shoe" that prevents metal-on-metal contact with the table surface. The plastic shoe is also "slippery" on the metal table surface, helping the INCRA V27 slide along easily and predictably.

   A comfortable push handle doubles as the mechanism used to lock and unlock the miter base at the angle wanted. A trigger-style indexing tooth with it's own locking knob, fits the V-notches precisely to insure the fence is at the angle desired. The indexing tooth can also be "locked out" when setting custom angles is needed.

Fence Plate

   At the front of the miter body is a 6"-wide by 1 ½"-tall steel fence that has a pair of slotted holes cut in it for attaching a wooden auxiliary fence or other shop-made specialty jigs.

The fence is the only part of the V27 that has to be aligned and makes getting it exactly 90-degrees to the miter slot a snap.
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   The fence plate is attached to the main miter body with four Allen screws. The mounting holes in the face late are slightly elongated to allow fine-tuning to be sure the fence is absolutely square to the miter slot. Incidentally, this is the only adjustment on the INCRA V27 for alignment. Once the fence is aligned, (if it needs it, ours didn't) the precision manufacturing insures that all other angle notches index correctly.

In The Shop

   Setting up the INCRA V27 consisted of adjusting the expansion disks to fit the miter slot in my Jet contractor saw and then checking the fence face to be sure it was 90-degrees to the saws miter slot, which it was. Roughly 10 minutes of setup and the INCRA V27 was ready for use.

(Top) The trigger-style indexing finger can be locked in or away from the notches for setting custom angles. It is very accurate when engaged with the V-shaped notches.
(Bottom) With the sandpaper-covered wooden fence face attached, the INCRA V27 was dead-on accurate at all angles tried.
Click images to enlarge

   The only problem using the INCRA V27 as it comes from the package centers on the bare metal surface of the fence face that makes holding stock steady (side-to-side) during angled cuts difficult. It is hard to imagine not putting a wooden face on the INCRA V27 anyway and that helps the slippage problem considerably. Add a strip of sandpaper to the face of the wood and slippage is eliminated.

   I screwed a 16"-long by 2 ¼"-tall piece of oak to the INCRA V27 fence and then added a strip of 100-grit sandpaper to that to make sure the pieces being cut would not move. I also rechecked the alignment of the fence after adding the face to be sure the assembly remained 90-degrees to the slot. While mine remained perfectly aligned, be sure to check!

   While testing the INCRA V27, most of the scrap in my shop was reduced to small pieces, cut at every angle I could think of. All of the factory cut angles tried measured correctly with our digital angle gauge. The custom angles we set (without the indexing tooth) came out as anticipated and the setting held fast through repeated cuts.

   The guide bar remained snug fitting in the miter slot after extended use. Even moderate amounts of sawdust in the miter groove did not seem to bother the INCRA V27, which continued to move smoothly through the miter slot.

    Between one hand gripping the stock against the fence and the other on the large push handle, the INCRA V27 is very easy to control. Pushing stock through the blade smoothly, at a controlled feed rate is a very natural movement, which contributes to high-quality cuts and safety.

Conclusions

   The INCRA V27 is an exceptionally accurate, easy-to-use and very durable miter gauge that will be a welcome addition to any power tool with a miter slot. As a replacement for the miter gauges that come with most table saws, the INCRA V27 represents a huge step up in accuracy and ease of use. Keep in mind that the INCRA V27 can be used on virtually any power tool in your shop with a standard-sized miter slot. Bringing this kind of accuracy to your router table, sander or drill press is a substantial bonus that increases the accuracy of your shop while further reducing the already small cost-per-use.

   Though it lacks some of the more exotic features of it's higher cost brothers in the INCRA line, the INCRA V27, with a street price of about $59 (11-29-2004) is an exceptional value for virtually any woodworker. Regardless if your woodworking experience totals a few days or several decades, the accuracy of the INCRA Miter V27 will help improve the work you do without straining the budget.

Check pricing and availability of the INCRA Miter V27!

Visit the INCRA web site!

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