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INCRA Miter V120
Budget-saving price with full-cost precision
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted - 9-16-2009
I should have known that INCRA would be the company to bring HD (high definition) to miter gauges. My first look at their new line is INCRA Miter V120. Despite its surprisingly reasonable price, the Miter V120 embodies the innovation you have come to expect from INCRA.
What is not new about the Miter V120 is INCRA's penchant for using high quality steel and manufacturing processes. Everywhere you look the INCRA Miter V120 is first rate and as we will see, its function is first rate as well. And, it is made in the United States!
At the Bar
The INCRA Miter V120 is built around an all-steel, 15-3/4"-long bar, not including the (removable) steel t-slot follower. Add that follower to the measurement and the length grows to 16-3/8". The bar is designed to work with all common square-sided, 3/8"-deep miter slots between 0.740" and 0.760" wide. The bar is 0.377" thick and 0.737"-wide and that width is not an accident. INCRA recognizes the undersized slots cut into some Craftsman (and some others) machines so designed the INCRA Miter V120 to fit those as well as the standard miter slots. That means you are not stuck having to buy accessories exclusively from manufacturers using the undersized miter slots.
The INCRA Miter V120 bar has four patented GlideLOCK adjustment discs spread along its length. These adjusters have special low-friction expanding rings that let them glide easily along the miter slot when adjusted according to the instructions. The adjusters are accessible from the top (not the side like many others!) and using the included hex wrench can be tweaked to fit your miter slot very quickly. Once adjusted, the GlideLOCKs seldom need further adjustment.
The INCRA Miter V120 features a 6-3/4"-wide protractor head plate that has been laser cut to insure clean operation but more importantly, dead-on accuracy. The rounded edge has 120 laser cut angle stops, one at each degree. An equally precise locking lever engages these angle stops with a precisely tapered point to lock in the setting perfectly every time. Set the locking lever and turn its knob and the chosen angle is solidly locked in position. The large push handle is also turned to further lock the head of the INCRA Miter V120 in place.
A clearly printed label along the edge of the miter head shows all available angles with numeric indicators every 5-degrees. The scale runs to 60-degrees to either side of zero. Above the standard scale is a reverse scale that shows the complimentary angles which can make many miter setups easier to do without whipping out the calculator. The head is also marked for 22.5-degree cuts (makes 8-sided frames etc.) to the left and right of zero.
The INCRA Miter V120 protractor head has a 6"-wide by 1-1/2"-tall steel fence face. This fence face will be more of a foundation for most woodworkers who most often will install a longer wooden face. The miter head fence is slotted to make attaching your custom fence face or jigs easy and secure. The INCRA Miter V120 fence is compatible with aftermarket IncraLOCK miter gauge fences and stop systems.
The fence face is mounted to the miter head with four screws, which allows for tweaking its alignment to the miter slot. The INCRA Miter V120 used in this review was correctly set from the factory but should yours need alignment, the process is fast and easy.
In the Shop
The major portion of setting up the INCRA Miter V120 was adjusting the bar to the miter slot. Using the included hex wrench that process went quickly and produced a good fit with no side-to-side play that could compromise accuracy. After setting the bar I installed the main locking knob and the INCRA Miter V120 was ready for use.
I did take the extra time to install a 24"-long by 2-1/2"-tall, 3/4"-thick poplar auxiliary fence face to expand the support surface. The slots in the miter head fence make mounting the wooden face easy. The 3-1/4"-spread (on center) of the slots gives the wooden face a very stable base for working with long pieces of wood. Before mounting the wooden face I did use an accurate (INCRA, what else!) square to make sure that the steel fence face was actually square to the table surface and found that it was.
Setting the INCRA Miter V120 to the desired angle is as easy as putting the locking lever point into the correct notch. Naturally, with 120 notches, you have to actually pay attention to put the lever point in the right notch. Do that and the INCRA Miter V120 is dead on. You do have to tighten the locking lever knob and the main handle but I have faith in you!
Being the skeptic, I did get out my angle plates to check several of the INCRA Miter V120 angle settings. I do this more for your benefit as over the years I have become confident in the INCRA manufacturing. I do check every INCRA product I use and so far, every one of them has been dead on accurate.
Easily the toughest part of setting an angle is deciding which one to use. If you know the angle needed, setting the INCRA Miter V120 up for use takes seconds. Because of the accuracy of the notches, returning to zero or another angle is just as fast and accurate. Unless you do something drastic (like throw it on the floor) to knock the INCRA Miter V120 out of alignment, it just keeps repeating perfectly.
If you are looking for an aftermarket miter gauge and need to protect the budget, the INCRA Miter V120 could be the one for you. This is a high-quality piece that works easily with all of the accuracy you need. With a street price of $84.99 (9-15-2009) the INCRA Miter V120 handles your jobs with all the accuracy your shop needs. And, it durability means the INCRA Miter V120 will remain a valued tool in your shop for many years to come.
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