When you look at the various threads on MFT’s asking for advice on accessories you inevitably hear that the clamping elements are an essential. I agree wholeheartedly with this advice. The MFT is an excellent worksurface and the guiderail adds a lot of functionality. The basic that I expect of a workbench though is to be able to hold my work in place.
Based upon this premise I purchased the clamping elements for my MFT/3. They provide a natural extension to the MFT surface and without the clamping elements I would be missing out on the full potential of the MFT. Pictured here are three sequential shots of the clamping element prior to attachment to the MFT, inserted and clamping my workpiece.Pros
-The quick adjust makes it really easy to quickly clamp a work piece into place once the clamp has been locked to the MFT. Further, the reach of the clamping elements is significant so there is a fair degree of flexibility once the clamp has been set into place.
-They are naturally metric so they fit perfectly into the MFT top. A lot of bench holding accessories are specifically made for ¾” holes. This means that the clamping elements fit perfectly into your MFT top.
-The profile on the clamping elements are fairly low profile so that they will not get in the way of work. I have used them while sanding, cutting, routing, and painting. With each of these tasks the clamping elements did not interfere with the work.Cons
-The clamping elements lock onto the MFT surface by threading a knob through the bottom of the MFT to the clamp on the top of the MFT. This is a minor annoyance but threading these two parts makes me feel particularly klutzy. Further, dropping the bottom knob adds to the frustration.
It would have been nice to see a design that allowed for attaching the clamping elements through one side of the table. Lee Valley has a bench blade that does something similar to this concept. Although this is a minor frustration it would be neat to see if this could be improved.Conclusion
Although the clamping elements provide me with some frustration they do allow you to increase the potential of your MFT. Based upon this, the quick clamp capability and low profile I would recommend them. I would also suggest that if you do pick up a pair that you get a basket or box to attach to the side of the MFT to keep the clamps close and organized.