Review: Kreg Precision Miter Gauge

Synopsis:
Fatally flawed tool, good customer support.
Long Version:
I ws disappointed with the miter gauge that came with my new table saw (not surprising) and went to my local woodcraft to get some sort of aftermarket gauge. Looked at the osborne, Kreg and the Incra 1000. Salesduud pushed strongly toward the Incra but I didn't like all the crap on it. Too much adjustment, too much whizbang. I wanted a highly accurate miter gauge with a reasonably long miter slot bar and fence. That's all. Not a buncha pull this out, set that, adjust this. Finally grabbed the Kreg.
My big bitch was that the entire miter head would tilt toward the locking handle when it was tightened, rendering the fence more than 90 degrees to the table! Not a problem with a cut 90 degrees to the fence but any non 90 degree cut was f'd. I took a 1/4 nylon washer and sanded it down 'til it fit on the bolt for the handle between the head and the bar to prevent the tilt of the head. This worked but seemed like I shouldn't have had to do it given the name, "Precision", and the cost, ~$150.
Additionally, it appeared that the 22.5 degree hole drilled in the head was wrong (more on this later).
I contacted Kreg and they sent me a brand new bar and head unit which arrived yesterday. Put the locking handle in, put the gauge in the slot, tightened the handle and checked for square to the table. It appears that they have tightened up the connection between the bar and the head. MUCH better than the prior one but still went out of square to a small degree. So I took the nylon washer out of the old one and put it in the new one and this fixed it.
Checked the 22.5 degree hole. Still out of whack! Checked the 30 degree hole. Good. 90 is good. 45 is good. Starting to doubt my setup gauge. Do some measurements and some math and holy crap, my freaking setup gauge is f'd at the 22.5 degree corner!
Nice. Thanks for the killer setup gauge, Woodcraft.
Anyhoo, so my new gauge works (with mods). But I am seriously thinking about returning the one to WC and the other to Kreg. As that washer wears, the angles will start to degrade with the tilt of the head as I tighten the locking handle. And I am going to feel like I have to do all sorts of checking and setup with this gauge now too. And that contradicts the reason I bought the thing in the first place.
D'ohBoy
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$150 for a miter gauge that isn't accurate??
That is a no brainer for me. I would take the money and make up a bunch of table saw sleds.
And why do the saw manufacturers provide such crappy miter gauges anyway? They should just withold the crap. Maybe even sell a good one as an accessory.
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wrote:

I'd second the 'sleds' suggestion, unless for some reason you need to do many different angles. If it's 3 to 5, then just build a sled for each.
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I have the left and right Inline Dubby miter sleds, they are dead on accurate and work very well. Still, if you only need to square up the end of a board the miter gauge is a lot more convenient to grab and put away for those quick cuts.
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.
I had one of the Incra miter gauges for about 2 days then I returned it. Now my miters are by Omga or Altendorf. <G,D&R>
JP
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A wee drive by....
Jay Pique wrote:

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Just a very small one. It's not like they're in my basement!
JP
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Try this: http://miterset.home.comcast.net/~miterset/index.html
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Have you looked at the Osborne? I like mine. I believe Norm uses one too.
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At the recent WW show in baltimore, they had the Kreg miter with a flip stop for $99. It didn't have the blue anodized coating and came in a plain generic box.
Seemed like a good deal, but I use sleds mainly for fussy miters.
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I had similar problems going through the search for a simple but accurate miter gauge. If you eventually end up looking at the Osborne set the gauge up to cut a 45 with the telescoping arm in its fully extended position. You will probably find that the fence will wiggle 2-3 degrees in that particular 45 degree setting. I went through 3 or 4 at the dealer and gave up on the Osborne. It is inherently flawed in that respect. I had similar feelings about the Incra as you did. I ended up with the Kreg except the index holes were drilled too big and the indexing pin would not lock in at the desired setting and you always had to visually verify the setting. Kreg finally pulled on off the assembly line and tested the pin fit and then sent me that one. I have been very pleased ever since, about 4 years.

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