Incra - Miter 5000 (Rating: 5)

Having used a cross cut sled and a standard miter guage for years, I thought I would upgrade my ability to make angled cuts on my table saw. As many, I struggled with angle cuts on my compound miter saw, for mouldering and general carpentry my miter saw did a great job but when it came to very precise miter joints my compound miter saw fell short. The compound miter saw always required a lot of fine tuning and test cuts and often with less precision than I would have liked. I spent some time researching the available precision miter gauges and the Incra 5000 seemed to stand out from the crowd.

I ordered my Incra through Amazon.com (free shipping) and it arrived in 3 days. The Incra was well packed and the assembly process took about 1 hour. The fit and finish of the components were excellent and the instruction manual contained numerous photos, tips and was very clear and easy to follow.

Squaring the sled to the table was very quick and I was ready for my first test cut at 90 degrees. The cut was very clean and perfectly square. Next I adjusted the Incra to make a 45 degree cut, two quick cuts later in some scrap poplar and I had a perfectly mitered corner. Back to 90 degrees, and again a perfectly square cut. The repeatability of cuts with very little set up time is absolutely wonderful and exactly what I was looking for. Some features to note; the miter bar has several adjustments that allow for zero slop in the miter channel and great improvement over a standard miter guage which often has lots of slop (movement) in the miter channel, the miter gauge offers 364 positive angle stops in 1/2°, 1° or 5° increments over a full 180° range which are laser cut and very precisely cut and appear very durable, the stop block is very well thought out offering two stops, micro adjustment and an offset for a wooden sub fence, the miter fence telescopes from 36' to a full 64' length.

If you have read my reviews in the past, you would know I try my best to give a straight forward review of the good and bad of each tool reviewed, but I've struggled to find anything bad about the Incra 5000. It's just a well thought out tool that gets the job done very well.

Deal Makers:

  • Fit and Finish
  • Ease of Use
  • Set-up Time
  • Instruction Manual
  • Miter Bar
  • Miter
  • Telescopic Fence
  • Stop Block

Deal Breakers:


Update 5/1/09 Based on the comments provided:

When you compare an Incra miter to a standard miter you can't go wrong on which Incra miter model you select, all the Incra models are a huge upgrade. When comparing the 5000 model to the 1000, 2000 and 3000 models part of the selection involves personal preference, work style, budget and other considerations. In my case, the selection of the 5000 over the other models was based on my personal preference to buy the best tool I can afford (buy it once) and my desire for the most precision possible.

The 5000 is based on the 3000se miter; the 3000se miter offers the most angle stops, a ½ degree between stops and the flip stop block. Obviously, the most precision and, probably over kill in most cases, follows my philosophy of buying it once. So now that I had settled on the 3000se the next question was sled or no sled? The 5000 sled in my opinion offers some distinct advantage over the 3000se miter. First is the ability to lock the work piece down (in multiple locations) for zero movement during the cut. The lock down feature is very helpful with wider boards. The second advantage was the telescoping fence which allows work pieces as long as or longer than 64" to rest against the fence while allowing measurement of longer pieces as well. And finally the price; the price between the 3000se and 5000 was fairly small.

One final thought if you own a smaller shop, the sled would allow you to get rid of a dedicated chop station and free up floor space as the sled can easily precisely cut 12" boards as long a 8'.

Compare Incra Miters
http://www.incra.com/product_miter_express_chart.htm