You might have the best table blade or saw on the market today but without a solid miter gauge to back it up, the end result is sub par at best. Gauges that come bundled in with table saws aren’t always the most accurate and in electing an 3rd party product, we went with the Incra V27 Miter Gauge’s basic budget model.
The version we reviewed was shipped in regular transparent, plastic packaging that came along with printed instructions on how to set up and use the product. The great thing about the manual was it was simple, easy to read and follow which corresponds well with how easy the gauge was to set up and use. If you’ve been around power tools before or have basic DIY knowledge, you won’t necessarily need the instructions. That said, we would advise going through the points listed alerting you to little known facts. For instance, we discovered that the V27 can also be used on machines like a router table, band saw, sanding centers and other machines with miter gauges using the ¾”x3/8” standard specification. Also included is a hex key for easy adjustments.
Now, the first thing we noticed about the V27 aside from the fact that it’s been built out of solid steel, is that any guide bar with a width less than the standard indicated above won’t work with the V27 e.g. budget or portable saws with different widths. However, along the length of the bar there are several adjustment bars which expand or contract depending on the turn of the attached screw holding them in place. Since not every miter slot is precisely dimensioned, Incra allowed for zero-play fits on most saws regardless of any errors in milled widths. While the slot fits in of themselves don’t allow for lateral movements, they do provide for greater accuracy. A T-attachment at the end of the bar helps keep the bar from jumping out of the miter slot, a feature needed only if the saw has a small t-notch as a slot feature. If it does not, removing the bar is relatively straightforward via a screwdriver.
The miter gauge component is also constructed from steel while the black clamping knob is made from plastic. The red angle marker strip allows for angles to be set anywhere between 0 and 60 degrees, or 90 to 30 which is a more out-dated setting and not as widely used as the former.
The 27 milled notches on the gauge’s outer edge combined with indexing tooth assembly can be locked for any 5 degree increment either side of the 0 degree setting causing a great, finely refined finish. Each notch fits perfectly into the indexing tooth at every angle, so for instance, if you’re looking to set a 35 degree angle, you’re going to want to loosen the main round clamping knob, loosen the smaller black clamping know, pivot the gauge at the 35 degree mark and slide in the indexing tooth into the notch, followed by tightening the smaller knob and then the larger knob. Ensure however, that you periodically check up on your initial settings especially if you use the same settings multiple times; this will ensure that the angles remain accurate.
Beneath the gauge is a slide strip of black plastic which affords reduced friction allowing the gauge to glide across the table easily and without added effort. As you will most probably know: a miter gauge needs to glide smoothly across a table top (waxing helps) for clean and smooth cuts.
During the use we realized that it is absolutely integral to add on an auxiliary fence hold wood securely to contain longer pieces of stock. How you construct your fence; either from an MDF or using a piece of square, flat-faced, evenly thick wood attached onto the V27’s face with screws and washers. You might also consider adding on a sandpaper strip for enhanced friction and ensuring a stock piece won’t slip out during its cutting.
During cutting, the ergonomic handle allows for a comfy grip and changing angles is relatively easy especially considering the 5 degree incremental limitations. That said, anything outside of the typical indications like 18 degree angles, or 33 degree angles, will require using the stock gauge or miter saw.
In its basic, budget model the Incra V27 doesn’t offer fancy features although the cuts and miter joints we were able to construct were accurate and well proportioned.
All in all, if you’re looking for a budgeted tool that gives you bang for buck, then you can’t go wrong with the Incra MITER V27 Miter Gauge, especially given its inbuilt angle/degree support.