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  1. #1
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    Default Gifkin Jig vs Incra Positioner

    I'm trying to decide between the Gifkin Jig and an Incra Positioner system. I realise that they are really 2 different things but I'm blowing my budget to even buy one of them.
    I want to be able to easily make accurate box joints and dovetail joints with the router. I don't have a jointer so I was thinking about having a split fence on a router table to be able to do edge jointing.
    I am a complete beginner to routing so I don't really know what I want. I'd like to eventually be able to make simple furniture, small boxes, wall hangings, frames and things like that. I basically want to try a variety of things and develop my skills.

    A saw the Gifkin Jig demoed at the Maleny Wood Expo and I was really impressed with how easy it is to make these joints. Just perfect for a beginner like me I think. I also like that it is Australian and I've read the great reviews of their customer service.
    Another plus for Col is that I would be very interested in his box making course.

    With the Incra positioner super system, it can also be used to make joints but it is a high quality fence - which I'd like to have. Although what I really need is just a square split fence so it doesn't really have to be an incra 'wonder' fence.
    I watched a video of the Incra positioner and it seemed to be a little involved to select the correct set up and prepare everything. However that could have been because the video was explaining everything very carefully. Perhaps after one or two uses it becomes pretty straight forward?
    The other plus for the incra is all the positive reviews for it worldwide.

    My gut feeling is that the Gifkins jig would be a great way to start for a beginner like me. (Or for someone where time matters).
    My dilema is that the Gifkins jig is not cheap. If you elect a package with 3 or 4 templates then you are spending the same as buying the entire Incra Positioner Super System (which is more versatile).

    I am going to the USA soon so I was thinking about buying the Incra system while I was there. However I really want the metric version, which I doubt I'll find in a store there so I've gone off that idea.

    Any advice?

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  3. #2
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    Default

    Personally i'm a fan of the gifkins system. Easy to set up, accurate, quick. I made 19 small spice boxes the other day. Machined the material, cut to length, machined the dovetails and glued up before lunch.
    There ain't no devil, it's just god when he's drunk!!

    Tom Waits

  4. #3
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    Hi Dave

    please forgive my bluntness, but if you have no way of producing consistently dimensioned wood -- consistent in width, length and thickness -- then both systems are largely a waste of money. Or perhaps, more gently, an expense that you are not ready to exploit.

    I would suggest that if your aim is "small boxes" then you really only need one Gifkins template -- either the F5 finger joint or the A10 dovetail
    which reduces the initial outlay somewhat.
    regards from Sydney

    ian

  5. #4
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    Default

    I'd go with the A10 dovetail as the first venture. You can make lots of boxes with varying wall thicknesses. Have a look through the box-making section of this forum, if you haven't discovered it yet. Lots of examples there (including mine )

    You might even be able to pick up a second-hand Gifkin's unit.

    Ian's right though - you need flat, square, accurately dimensioned stock before you start looking at dovetailed boxes.

    cheers,

    ajw

  6. #5
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    Have you considered a home made jig for box joint: Another box joint jig. if you using a router.

  7. #6
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    Hi Dave,

    +1 for the Gifkins if dovetails are your thing. I got mine secondhand on eBay - might take a little while, but they do come up for sale. I have various templates and cutters, but for boxes I've never used anything but the A10 template and cutters.

    Rockler do a simple box joint jig, although you could easily make one yourself - there are heaps of videos on YouTube.

    i agree with ian and ajw about the need for decent squared stock - I found that out the hard way!

    cheers,

    Brian

  8. #7
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    Default

    I haven't used the Gifkins so know nothing about it. I do have the incra positioner and love it. I have only used it a couple of times for box joints and dovetail joints. And for me it is a bit time consuming to set up but if you done it regularly it would probably be alot quicker, as I have to go through the instructions each time as I can't remember. What I do love though is the accuracy it provides with general routing.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ian View Post
    Hi Dave

    please forgive my bluntness, but if you have no way of producing consistently dimensioned wood -- consistent in width, length and thickness -- then both systems are largely a waste of money. Or perhaps, more gently, an expense that you are not ready to exploit.

    I would suggest that if your aim is "small boxes" then you really only need one Gifkins template -- either the F5 finger joint or the A10 dovetail
    which reduces the initial outlay somewhat.
    This is the sort of advice I need.

    Length. Tick. I have a SCMS which can do this.
    Width. Mmmmm. Maybe. I have a Triton workcentre 2000. It's a struggle to get an accurate cut but if I measure everything on the table 4 times before each cut then it can be done. It's a lot of work to get consistency.
    I find it's impossible to get a consistent dado, rabet etc but it can rip almost OK.

    Thickness. Nope. Not even close. I have to buy DAR and hope it's consistent.
    Which means 12mm is probably the minimum.

    So basically I need a jointer, thicknesser, dust collector, table saw, bandsaw, cnc. Plus new power circuits and lighting and a proper work bench. I've been researching all those things. However I thought I would focus on building a router table and good jig first. Then each other item as I can afford it.
    I need more circuits before I can run a dust collector and I should have a dust collector before the other tools. After the router table I might focus on a solid work bench and vice first.

    I want to do more than boxes. In fact right now I'm making some little drawers. I think some simple projects with 19mm stock might be a good idea before attempting a fine box. No?
    In fact I think I'll start with a spline jig first if I can make the splines on a router table. Then a box or dovetail jig.

    Dave


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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by shanesmith80 View Post
    I haven't used the Gifkins so know nothing about it. I do have the incra positioner and love it. I have only used it a couple of times for box joints and dovetail joints. And for me it is a bit time consuming to set up but if you done it regularly it would probably be alot quicker, as I have to go through the instructions each time as I can't remember. What I do love though is the accuracy it provides with general routing.
    Because my experience has been mostly limited to the Triton workcentre and all the frustrations with that, I'm really keen to get accuracy easily. In my view that is supposed to be a main purpose of power tools.

    For example I really like the incra split fence.

    I guess I have almost asked the wrong question because they are 2 different tools.


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  11. #10
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    I want to do more than boxes. In fact right now I'm making some little drawers. I think some simple projects with 19mm stock might be a good idea before attempting a fine box. No?
    In fact I think I'll start with a spline jig first if I can make the splines on a router table. Then a box or dovetail jig.
    Would you entertain a completely different alternative that would see you making furniture readily? I would suggest a Kreg pocket hole jig K4, especially if you are going to the US. Pocket holes are a quick way to start making things that you like: Pocket Hole Joinery with the Kreg Jig / Rockler How-to


  12. #11
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    I have a pocket hole jig and I've made 2 pieces with it. I have a couple of other ideas for it. Pocket holes have their place but I'm not a big fan so far. My guess is that I'll use it for part of a project but look for alternatives for joints that are visible.

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  13. #12
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    If you are having accuracy problems with the Triton I would suggest making a sled. This will improve your work out of sight. Google 'Triton work centre sled' and it will come up with a heap of suggestion.

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVman View Post
    Length. Tick. I have a SCMS which can do this.
    Width. Mmmmm. Maybe.
    Thickness. Nope. Not even close. I have to buy DAR and hope it's consistent.

    So basically I need a jointer, thicknesser, dust collector, table saw, bandsaw, cnc. Plus new power circuits and lighting and a proper work bench. I've been researching all those things. However I thought I would focus on building a router table and good jig first. Then each other item as I can afford it.
    I need more circuits before I can run a dust collector and I should have a dust collector before the other tools. After the router table I might focus on a solid work bench and vice first.

    I want to do more than boxes. In fact right now I'm making some little drawers. I think some simple projects with 19mm stock might be a good idea before attempting a fine box. No?
    In fact I think I'll start with a spline jig first if I can make the splines on a router table. Then a box or dovetail jig.

    Dave
    Hi Dave

    for a not so small number of fine boxes, it is probably most cost effective to purchase the wood required as a (pre-dimensioned) kit. Box kits are relatively expensive, but if you amortize the cost of a Jointer / Thicknesser, bandsaw, drum sander and dusty across 50 boxes, you are probably looking at $100 to $150 per box in machinery. So a few box kits might make sense for you.

    Alternatively, you might be able to trade a 6 pack (or slab) for machining services by another forumite.

    In terms of utility boxes, I'm finding hand tool methods work fine. With hand tools it's relative easy to adjust joint dimensions to accommodate differences in material thickness.
    regards from Sydney

    ian

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by safari View Post
    If you are having accuracy problems with the Triton I would suggest making a sled. This will improve your work out of sight. Google 'Triton work centre sled' and it will come up with a heap of suggestion.
    Thank you very much for the suggestion. I had thought about doing that but didn't get around to it because I mostly use the Triton 2000 for ripping. I use the SCMS for cross cuts as much as possible. That does up to 300mm. Now you've recommended it, I'll put that back on the todo list.

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  16. #15
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    I agree with ian. Not sure what your situation with time and money is but by the time you research then buy all that machinery, then get the electrical work sorted then spend time fine tuning then make jigs you probably could have made a few boxes of the pre done stuff.

    Have you thought about handplanes ? I can thickness a piece of 19mm thick dar down to 10mm in a few minutes and I dont consider my self any good.

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