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Jessem Mite-R-Excel II, Good upgrade with potential

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Review by splintergroup posted 11-21-2019 08:12 PM 1017 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Jessem Mite-R-Excel II, Good upgrade with potential Jessem Mite-R-Excel II, Good upgrade with potential Jessem Mite-R-Excel II, Good upgrade with potential Click the pictures to enlarge them

There has been some discussion lately about this product and I have been sort of promising to post some information, so here it is!

Summary:

The good:
Very well crafted, solid, excellent miter slot width adjustability.

The not so good:
Could use some more design work for the flip down stop, although it is still quite excellent.
$$$

Rating:
4-stars (nothing is ever perfect!)

Price paid:
Introductory price of $269 + free shipping (May 2019)

Mite-R-Excel II web site

I bought the Jessem to complement my decade old Incra 1000 and hopefully overcome several of the design issues with the Incra when being used for my style of work

Some history:
The factory miter gauge that came with my 1998 Delta Unisaw was to say the least, not very useful (everyone knows what is typically wrong with a factory miter). It was because of these limitations I bought the Incra 1000.

A whole new world of possibilities opened up, primarily the ability to quickly set the fence and angles.
The one shining quality the factory unit possessed was the miter bar fit the slot on my tablesaw perfectly. My saw has an oversized slot (0.759” width). The Incra, as with probably every other aftermarket miter being made, has a miter bar sized to fit the few common saws with undersized miter slots. With some clever tricks, these companies came up with ways to effectively expand the bar and correct for a sloppy fit. My problem is I needed to overcome more than 0.010” of slop.

Long story short, the adjustability of the Incra couldn’t quite make up for the gap. I created a good workaround with ball bearing tipped set screws, but there were other issues with the Incra I didn’t want to deal with any more.

Enter the Jessem.
Sort of an impulse buy at double the price I paid for the Incra 1000 but I don’t mind paying up for some of the finer tools that can really make a difference in precision and/or setup times. Other examples where I wasn’t initially sure it was the right thing to do, but in the end it was, include an Incra PRL router lift, VerySuperCoolTools fence to replace my squirrely Biesmeyer, and a Performax 16/32 drum sander.

First Impressions:

Gotta love the sound of the UPS driver pulling into the driveway. A true Pavlovian response 8^)

The Jessem was exceptionally well packaged and certainly has a bit of “heft” compared to my other gauges.
Some assembly required of course!

The entire unit smells of the quality I am used to with Canadian products. Much like Veritas/Lee Valley planes and Leigh jigs, the machining and finish seemed flawless.

The miter body is thick aluminum, chromed steel miter bar, extruded aluminum fence, and stainless steel hardware.
There is the usual final assembly required with a few bags-’o’-bits to chew through.

Good, clear instructions are available to do the setup

Step 1: Fit the miter bar.

My saws miter slot has been previously aligned to the saw blade The saw is a right tilt and I use the left slot for 99% of my work, so this is where all the alignments are referenced.

The bar is placed into the miter slot, pressed over to the left side, then the three (forward, center, and rear) eccentrics are tightend. Quick, simple, and done! The Incra has nylon/HDPE washers that expanded out as a screw is tightened. This effectively widens the bar, but they’ll only expand so far before the screws snap and/or the plastic wears away requiring a new setup.

The Jessem eccentrics are steel and run smoothly in the Unisaws slot.

5 stars
In my opinion this is place where Jessem nailed it!

Step 2: Align the head to the table/bar

The head of the miter needs to then be squared with the bar. This is done with a few jam-screws and lock screws. I used an accurate engineers square to assist the process.
The same system is used to square the face of the miter to the table. There is some crosstalk between the two alignments, but the screws, once locked down, won’t let these adjustments drift over time.

Here is a photo of some of the lock down screws:

I slid on the extruded fence to check for final squareness, there is a slight (0.004”) dip (concave) in the fence face. Difficult to photograph, but you can barely see the light showing through in this shot with an angle setup gauge.

I have no worries about the slight dip, the sacrificial wood fence I install rides true and the tensioning of the fence bolts seems to pull this dip back to flush.

4 stars
For this part, the adjustment is a bit “fiddly”, but very secure and solid when done.

That covers the major assembly and alignment. the rest is the accessories

Install/set the fence locating pin.

In my mind, this is one of the features that I could really care less about.

In this image, you can see the two lock screws for sliding the fence left/right and between the two is a pin which is used to lock the fence into a preset location. The idea being you need to move the fence to clear the blade when doing a non-zero miter, then want to move it back to the same spot when returning to zero. This keeps the “built-in” tape measure on the fence top accurate, but I never really use that (too coarse for my work). This is a handful of extra hardware that to me is not really worth the benefits.

I would have been happier with some of the “ratcheting” style lock levers being used for the fence position lock instead of the thumb screws. Ergonomically it kind of sucks reaching in there to loosen/tighten those screws. I’d rather have a lever.
Tool free operation is always a plus!

3 stars
For over thinking it!

The board stop

This is another area where Jessem could have done better. They did real good, but not quite as good as it could be.

The board stop rides in a slot on top of the fence and is locked down with a lever. This reads directly off of the “built-in” measuring tape, but there is quite a gap between the reference edge and the tape surface, making for parallax errors. I need better accuracy than that so I always measure from the blade to the face of the stop.

The stop flips over when needed or back when not. Very useful feature, but as you can see, the stop is cantilevered
on a bolt, this causes mechanical slop when changing force applied with a board.

I placed a dial gauge against the stop and provided some typical forces that I would use when holding a board both against the fence and against this stop.


About 0.015” of uncertainty. Not bad, but when cutting critical lengths I like to have a solid stop for repeatable cuts.

I’m not too proud to use a Quick-Grip clamp and block of wood if it works:

On my old Incra, the weigh offset of this clamp setup would cause the entire fence to tilt slightly out of square, very annoying!

A nice feature of the Jessem stop is you can adjust the stop block away from the fence. This clears any fence face installed.

Don’t get me wrong, this stop is quite functional and I don’t know if it is better/worse that other similar designs out there, but I feel it is good for quick “close enough” cuts and not for precision cuts.

4 stars for the nice thinking/fit/finish 3 stars for not making it super rigid

The stop extension:

I haven’t really put this feature to the test yet.

As with other aftermarket gauges, the Jessem has a slide out extension with a retractable stop. This is not a fence extension since it is not ever flush with the main fence body, but it will provide a way to set a stop block for workpieces longer than the fence. As a bonus, the sliding stop on this extension seems quite ridged!

4 stars! Used it only once, but it looks very functional and seems robust!

The miter angles:

Main function of a miter gauge is to cut miters. The Jessem has preset detents at 0, 15, 22.5, 30, and 45 degrees.

There is a spring loaded pin that locks in on these presets so moving quickly to one is both very accurate and repeatable, Nice job Jessem! For the between angles, one must use the vernier scale. My Incra has the positive detents at every 5 degrees (and 22.5). This is great if switching back and forth between standard angles. Without the positive stops, the resetting error gets “fuzzy” if you are not careful. Not that big of a deal.

The vernier scale is larger than what my Incra has and is very easy to use. For these angles set without aid of the preset detents, the very large knurled handle is screwed down to lock everything. With my Incra, I’ve had occasions where the handle lockdown came loose from the natural twisting motion when pushing the gauge past the blade. Fortunately the detents locked in the angle. The same could happen with the Jessem, especially with the gorilla-grip knurling. I’ll have to use extra care when not angled to a detent until I get used to how well the handle locks.

4 stars, This is what a good miter is all about. Some more detents would be possible (plenty of room), but all the common angles are already done. Maybe a 7.5 degree?

There are many more minor things that make the Jessem Mite-R-Excel II unique, but this has been the major points.
Of course I’ve never compared it one-on-one with any (except the Incra 1000) of the other aftermarket gauges out there so take it for what you paid for this review 8^)

I feel like it was a good decision, I now have two miters ready for my table saw, the Incra is now set up for the right slot.

It solved my loose miter bar issues, it solved my flexing issues when clamping on a stop, the angle calibrations are dead on now and should stay that way!

I’ll be happy to answer any other questions (even about the Incra 1000) and post additional photos if requested.




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splintergroup

3064 posts in 1784 days



12 comments so far

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EarlS

3311 posts in 2910 days


#1 posted 11-21-2019 08:23 PM

Good review. Now I know what to do and what to look for when I finally un-box mine.

My unisaw ins’t quite as old as yours. Mine is only 15 years old but I seem to have slop in the miter slot. Sounds like this might help with the problem.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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splintergroup

3064 posts in 1784 days


#2 posted 11-21-2019 08:30 PM

Hah, I consider mine “new” when reading what some of these guys restoring the 1950’s versions go through 8^)

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Roger

21021 posts in 3366 days


#3 posted 11-21-2019 10:17 PM

Very detailed review.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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CyberDyneSystems

294 posts in 2750 days


#4 posted 11-21-2019 10:35 PM

Thanks for your fantastic detailed review. I had my eye on this one some years ago, but decided on the Osborne.
I use it in my old, yes, 1942!! Unisaw. ;)

-- Without the wood, it's just working

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splintergroup

3064 posts in 1784 days


#5 posted 11-21-2019 10:54 PM



Thanks for your fantastic detailed review. I had my eye on this one some years ago, but decided on the Osborne.
I use it in my old, yes, 1942!! Unisaw. ;)

- CyberDyneSystems

Well there you go! 8^)

I like the unique angle setting for the Osborne, plenty of room to get any exact angle and lock it down. I wish I had one to check out.

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BurlyBob

6770 posts in 2827 days


#6 posted 11-22-2019 02:29 AM

This damn sure may be on my Christmas Want list. If not My birthday is in January. Maybe I can beg for it then!!

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Redoak49

4273 posts in 2550 days


#7 posted 11-22-2019 10:18 PM

One of the better reviews I have read and excellent pictures. I have the 1000SE and like it but this looks good.

Does the eccentric roll against the slot or run against it. It looks good but is the steel on steel going to cause wear. The Incra works ok but does wear and requires adjustment and replacement.

Darn…this may have to go on my Christmas list. But waiting to hear more experiences.

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splintergroup

3064 posts in 1784 days


#8 posted 11-23-2019 12:56 AM


One of the better reviews I have read and excellent pictures. I have the 1000SE and like it but this looks good.

Does the eccentric roll against the slot or run against it. It looks good but is the steel on steel going to cause wear. The Incra works ok but does wear and requires adjustment and replacement.

Darn…this may have to go on my Christmas list. But waiting to hear more experiences.

- Redoak49


They don’t roll (which is what I had thought when seeing the first pictures), but they are hard and smooth so I doubt any wear in a cast iron top for many years.

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James E McIntyre

503 posts in 1854 days


#9 posted 11-23-2019 09:51 PM

It’s a good review. Only a few days ago I was looking at this miter gauge and considering buying it.
(I like to buy almost anything that’s new.)

You should get a ton of views. We need great reviews like this to guide us in our decisions.
I’m alway looking for reviews of a product before I purchase it.
I find the nonprofit reviews are the best.

-- James E McIntyre

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EvilSpammerLocked

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#10 posted 11-26-2019 06:50 AM

Dear Woodworker, do you want to learn woodworking? or gain additional experience?

Good day, dear woodworker-participant lumberjocks com … and we want to encourage the retired master craftsman to finally reveal his secret archive over
16,000 plans – more details on the link ~ http://3weekiet.com/woodworkingrmr ~ click here

-- Teds Scammer: Do not click or interact.

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Sark

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#11 posted 11-28-2019 03:11 PM

Great review! Thanks for taking the time and sharing your experience.

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CyberDyneSystems

294 posts in 2750 days


#12 posted 12-09-2019 07:12 PM

Why doesn’t a moderator delete the flagged spam posts?

-- Without the wood, it's just working

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