Inca 570 Jointer/Planer
by Bill Machrone with a note by Jack Turley


Inca 570After years of lusting after the Inca 570, I finally got it--a big present for my birthday. I got the stand together yesterday,the machine today. After playing with it all afternoon, I felt a comment or two was in order.

The Inca 570 is almost legendary for its quality, Tersa 3-blade head, and the smooth finish it leaves on wood. It's almost like having a Jaguar E-Type or a Martin D-28. You've got to live up to the legend. Does the Inca live up to its reputation? Frankly, yes. It's very well made, but in the European tradition, nothing is bigger or heavier than it needs to be to get the job done. No aspect of the machine is overbuilt, which makes it look a little fragile, with petite control levers and that complicated, articulated blade guard with all those aluminum arms. The three screws that hold the fence on to the adjustment mechanism are the metric equivalent of 8-32. Not what I would have chosen, but evidently up to the task.

The tables are dead flat and parallel to one another, and the fence is 90 degrees to the tables from end to end. The infeed remains parallel throughout its adjustment range, and the fence remains perpendicular.

One feature I'd never seen mentioned in the literature is that the Tersa head is angled ever so slightly across the face of the tables, maybe 2 or 3 degrees. I suppose that provides for a smoother, slicing action instead of ramming into the wood across its width. It probably helps to account for the smoothness of the finish that it puts on the boards.

"Contraption" is the word that comes to mind for the two-position dust chute/collector, an assemblage of plastic panels, spring clips, and swivels. But it works well enough. Interestingly, it doesn't work as well as the sheet metal collector hood on my Delta 540, where I never saw so much as a chip until I looked inside the collector's barrel.

The machine comes standard with carbon steel blades. I was not impressed with their sharpness, although they worked well enough. The blades on my Delta 540 were far sharper when new. The optional HSS blades, which I ordered, are much sharper than the standard blades. I'll use the carbon blades for rough work and save the HSS blades for the critical stuff. Changeover is as trivial as everyone says it is: tap, tap with a block of wood on each blade, and it's loose. Slide it out, slide in a new one, and you're in business. Centrifugal force seats the wedge that holds the blade in place when you turn the machine on. And no, nothing can come flying out. You can't do it wrong. The blades are double-sided.



Performance:

I disassembled the packing crate and pallet, jointed and planed it, and made a nice suite of bedroom furniture out of it. Not really, but I did use the rough-sawn packing material for many of my tests. And made some very nice wood in the process.

One thing I found right off is that the planer won't feed rough-sawn wood. I could get away with that on my Delta 540, which would average out the rough surface on the backside across the two extension tables and the platen and come up with a pretty good surface--certainly good enough to read the figure and decide how I wanted to prep the board. With the Inca, you have to joint down to a fairly smooth surface before the planer will take it. Maybe I'll hang on to the Delta just for rough stock prep... nah.

Softwoods and hardwoods alike tend to have that well-tuned-plane glow when they emerge from the Inca. Pine positively shines. Lacewood and sycamore rays don't tear out. Neither do maple birdseyes, at least in the one piece I had on hand. Even on hard, close-grained woods, the cutterhead marks are too small to see or feel. A very light scraping or sanding is all you need, and noncritical projects, don't need any further attention.

I can hear the planer sniping sometimes as long boards emerge. Unlike the Delta 540, however, I can't feel the snipe. Supporting the board or lifting slightly as it emerges is enough to keep things under control.

When planing pine, I occasionally got a surface mar as a chip dropped onto the just-planed surface and was squished in by the outfeed roller. I didn't see any of that when planing hardwoods. I might not have had the dust collection contraption set just right for the pine.



Tricks:

I drilled a 5/8" hole in the stand's top to hold the planer's platen handle. so it doesn't get lost. You're forever removing it and putting it back as you change the machine over from jointing to planing and converting the dust collector from one mode to the other.

The platen has to be all the way down in order to convert the dust collector from jointer to planer mode, then you have to turn the crank around 70 times to bring it up to, say, 1 inch clearance. Then all the way down again when it's time to go back to jointer mode. The handle has a 1/4 inch square drive, with the shaft going into the machine being male and the handle being female. All this cranking was getting tiresome, so I took a 1/4 inch socket wrench extension, chucked it up backwards in my Panasonic Predator, and was able to power the table up and down, easy as you please!

In conclusion, it sure is nice to have a 10 inch jointer, and I'm reasonably sure that I won't miss the loss of 2 inches from the maximum my Delta portable planer could handle.

The finish this machine leaves on wood is unbelievable. The legend is well deserved.

Bill Machrone - November 23, 1997


This reply was posted by Jack Turley, a former Inca dealer, on Compuserve's Home forum. It's used here with his permission.

I'm moved to comment on your review of the Inca 570. I share your enthusiasm.

About the dust collector - I was very upset when it was introduced ( I was an Inca dealer) and finally had an argument with one of the design engineers. Seems every one of the designers thought all the users removed the outfeed table every time the machine was used for thicknessing. When I explained that I never removed the table, they were flabbergasted. I suggest you do like wise. They only problem is you can't use that ingenious contraption. In place of it, make a box about two or three inches thick to fit neatly over the end of the machine underneath the infeed table. Instead of leaving a huge hole for the dust removal, leave only a one inch slot which concentrates the suction to the top where the vast majority of thicknessing takes place, Judiciously placed weatherstripping on both the machine and on the box, ensure a pretty good air seal.

That's for jointing, for thicknessing move the box to the top of the machine with the slot close to the cutter head and the deflector adjusted so it feeds the chips right into the slot.

The only problem is holding it in place against the tug of the vacuum hose. I added a flap that fits down over the fence and a bungee cord stretched from the stand, over the box, and to the stand again. A similar stand mounted bungee cord hold it tight against the machine when in the jointing mode.

As to the problem with thicknessing rough wood, good procedure requires one surface to be flattened first anyway....

Jack Turley - November 26, 1997

[NOTE: For Inca parts and information, contact Inca Machines.]

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