In some of my online postings I have lamented about the size of my shop. (Yes I have shop envy.) I have learned to use the space I have in my shop to pursue woodworking as a hobby with a workbench for handtools along with a cabinet for my mini-lathe and tools. Prior to the Festool plunge the only other thing I had in my shop was a little bit of lumber storage.
If you are thinking that I should have plenty of space... guess again. I measured, using my Festool Tape Measure, my shop and it is approximately 7.5' x 12'. Not much room at all. When I started adding Festools I realized that I needed something in order to provide a base for my power tools. I also realized that it needed to be portable because handling any sized sheet good in my shop would be impossible. Since I was already hooked on Festools the MFT/3 seemed like a good idea. Before purchasing I had to compare the measurements from the Festool specs to my available shop space... there would be just enough room to set up the MFT/3 in my shop if needed and work there. From there it was off to the races.
I have used the MFT/3 a couple of times around the house. The problem is that with the limited space in my shop I have to move a couple of items to take it down. This is not a reflection of the MFT/3 but my particular situation. (All of my Festool Systainers fit neatly under the MFT/3 and do not interfere with my ability to work around the MFT/3 or to clamp. Here we can see a picture of the MFT/3 in my small shop... sorry about the blur. Notice the MFT/3 also makes a neat holder for my Kapex.
I have used the MFT/3 a lot more than I thought I would though in my shop. For the built-in that I am currently making I used it to square up my stock, hold the workpieces while doing my dominos and to hold the sides while doing routing (LR32). Pictured here is the guide rail in place as I prepare to square up one of the sides. (Note the baby monitor. One of the benefits of my mini basement shop is the ability to work at night and not wake anyone up!)Pros
-Versatility of clamping - The combinations for clamping are endless. On the surface itself Festool clamps, clamping elements, and Lee Valley bench pups all provide endless combinations to solve various clamping requirements. The one I love the best is the ability to use Festool clamps on the sides to clamp stock vertically. Pictured here is one of the sides clamped vertically so I can use my Domino.
-The accuracy of the angle guide is great, I checked it with my Starret square and the cuts that I make using the MFT/3... both checked out perfect for me!
-The size of the MFT/3 is perfect for me. I know others would like a larger MFT/3 but the size as is allows it to be portable and provide enough work surface to provide utility. In this case, the MFT/3 does both in Spades and also fits into my space constraints!
-The integration with other Festool products is seamless. My Kapex feet fit into the holes on the MFT/3 grid and the guide rail can be used with my TS55 or my OF1400.Cons
-Although Festools have excellent dust extraction the grooves on the side of the MFT/3 can collect other shop generated dust. Thank goodness I keep the CT22 really close by (I mean really close) to keep the MFT/3 clean.
-I want a Festool tray to keep my clamps organized off the side of my MFT/3. (Hint to Festool!
) Until my Festool wish comes true I will be looking for an alternative. (On the advice from others on FOG I will be checking out the local Walmart soon for a wire mesh tray to keep me organized.) Conclusion
Now that I have the MFT/3 I wonder what I would have done without it. It may not make a large impact for others but for me it provides a flexible work top, the ability to work as accurately as I need to and clamping versatility.