Author Topic: Homemade MFT Worktop  (Read 15945 times)

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Offline ByronBlack

  • Posts: 19
Homemade MFT Worktop
« on: April 14, 2007, 11:43 AM »
Hi all!

After reading a bunch of stuff about the MFT, i'm completely sold and will be building a larger MFT to replace my traditional style bench (Courtesy of the excellent pdf from Jerry Work).

However, I don't want to buy the 1080 as it will be too small so I intend to buy the components seperatly and make my own holy-top. So what I wanted to know is, what is the diamter of the holes, and what are the measurements of the centres? I intend to draw a grid on a large piece of MDF and then drill the holes.

I intend to use the 2m length extrusions and then buy the angle/mitre fence as a seperate item, my initial calculations seem to work out cheaper than buying the 1080 and canablising it.

Does anyone see any potential problems i'm going to face?

Oh, and hello, this is my first thread - hopefully of many and not just me asking questions!

Offline Daviddubya

  • Posts: 703
  • Arizona, USA
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2007, 12:31 PM »
The holes in the Festool MFT are 20 mm in diameter.  The spacing is 3-13/16" or 97 mm (edit - the correct dimension is 96 mm) on center as close as I can measue on my MFT.  The diameter is fairly critical if you want to use the Festool clamps that fit into the 20 mm holes.  The spacing is not critical in my perspective, as long as the holes line up in a reasonably square pattern parallel to the table edges - and that is not hyper-critical, at least in my uses of the MFT.  If a person were to use 3/4" bench clamps like the ones illustrated on John Lucas' site, here:

http://www.woodshopdemos.com/fest-18.htm

then drilling 3/4" holes would work.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2007, 10:16 AM by Daviddubya »
David W. Falkenstein
in Cave Creek, AZ, USA

Offline Jim Dailey

  • Posts: 278
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2007, 03:31 PM »
Byron,

I just built a large MFT this week.  I used the long 79" table profiles, the 45" table profiles, four Festool aluminum corners (2 left, 2 right) and two Festool table legs with the adjustable feet.  The legs are made for the 28" width of the table so the bottom tube was cut & a 1" aluminum tube slide over to extend the legs.

The top was constructed of 3/4" Baltic Birch drilled with the OF 1010 router using Festools 20 mm hinge plunge bit.  The on centers are actually 96 mm (32 mm x 3) thus I used my LS 32 hole drilling set.  I simply drilled a 5 mm hole on a 96 mm skip in about an inch from the edge on the long 96" edge of the sheet.  I did the same on the other edge making sure that the 96 mm skip holes also matched across the sheet in a multiple of 32 mm.  I used a pair of guide rails with holes and slide them apart to match the 32 mm spacing.  I then simply used two 5 mm shelf pins to "index" the guide rails up the sheet using the 5 mm holes I just drilled along each edge thru the two corresponding 5 mm oval holes in the guide rails.

Using the LS 32 hole system made it "no-brainer" but it was rather boring drilling all those holes....

The end result because of the jig was a top with perfectly aliened in every direction with 20 mm holes.

And by joining this to my 1080 MFT a full 4 x 8 sheet fits on the tables with room on each end.

jim

Life is just a series of projects...

Offline Lou Miller

  • Posts: 482
  • North Wales, PA
    • Some of my work
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2007, 04:10 PM »
Nice job Jim. I'd love to build an MFT that size for my shop, but there's no way I have the room. I MIGHT actually get around to building a new shop later this year, so maybe then.

Baltic birch, huh? Did you do anything underneath to support the BB and keep it from sagging? I know BB is supposed to be very stable, but I haven't had the best luck with it. I'd be a little concerned about it sagging over that much of a span. Same can be said for MDF though I guess... Either way, nice looking top.

Offline Jim Dailey

  • Posts: 278
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2007, 06:37 PM »
Hi Lou,

I was wondering about sagging also... I'm sure it will with time...

But a couple of 1/4" aluminum angle iron hung off the rails with several bolts for upward adjustment drilled & tapped into the angle iron ought to do the trick...

jim

Life is just a series of projects...

Offline ByronBlack

  • Posts: 19
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2007, 06:40 PM »
Thats some excellent advice - and really appreciate the pictures! I may have to invest in an LS32 guide-rail. Does anyone know if the router-plate that fixes to the guide rail would fit a Triton MOF Router? I didn't realise festool sold shorter length extrusions (I couldn't see them on the site) do you have a catalogue number handy for them? As so far i've only found the 2metre length ones.

Cheers fella's.

Online Brice Burrell

  • Posts: 6548
  • Remodeling Contractor
    • The Green and Dark Blue blog
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2007, 07:15 PM »
Thats some excellent advice - and really appreciate the pictures! I may have to invest in an LS32 guide-rail. Does anyone know if the router-plate that fixes to the guide rail would fit a Triton MOF Router? I didn't realise festool sold shorter length extrusions (I couldn't see them on the site) do you have a catalogue number handy for them? As so far i've only found the 2metre length ones.

Cheers fella's.

Guide rail FS1080/2-LR32 holes Item # 491621, link http://www.festoolusa.com/ProductDetails.aspx?id=8&prodid=491621
Check out my new blog, The Green and Dark Blue Blog.

Offline Dave Rudy

  • Posts: 771
  • Coloroda Front Range, in the lee of Pikes Peak
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2007, 09:48 PM »
Jim,

Nice looking table.  Interestingly, I spent the day today working on my new big MFT also -- same size as yours.  I made +/- 3x3 legs by gluing 2x4's together and then launched the Domino to make stretchers. 

Initially I tried cutting the holes with a 20mm cmt bit but it didnt care much for the mdf.  I would prefer to do the holes with a router anyway.  I thought about getting the LR 32 for this project (or this project as an excuse for the LR 32  ;D).  I can see that doing 96 mm ocs would be a snap -- along one row.  How do you reset the guide rail so it's exactly 96 mm from the row beside it?

So far, I made a template out of 1/4"mdf using the original MFT 1080 top to trace the holes.  I am in process of drilling 1" holes in the template and then will use the OF1400 with a 1"OD template guide and a 20mm Festool bit to drill the top.

I'm still interested in using the LR 32 for this job, though.

I'm looking forward to getting this table set up -- I've been without one for a while now.

Dave

Offline Jim Dailey

  • Posts: 278
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2007, 10:46 PM »
Hi Dave,

To answer your question of "How do you reset the guide rail so it's exactly 96 mm from the row beside it?".

Hopefully in the picture you can see the small 5 mm holes along the edge of the sheet (there was another row of these on the other side of the sheet).  These 5 mm holes are 96 mm apart.  The brass shelf pin sticking up above the guide rail indexed the rail up the board 96 mm for the "next" row.   The blue tape on the guide rail had a pencil mark every 96 mm so I would know where to plunge the 20 mm hole with the OF 1010.


jim 
Life is just a series of projects...

Offline John Stevens

  • Posts: 758
  • Ardmore, PA
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2007, 11:48 PM »
I intend to use the 2m length extrusions and then buy the angle/mitre fence as a seperate item


Personally, I'm not a great fan of the angle/mitre fence, mostly because the angle detents aren't very accurate.  Also, if your MFT is 2m long, you're limited in where you can put the angle unit if you still want to be able to use the side extrusion to fasten the left end of the fence.  Of course, you can solve that by using a shop-made clamping device, but then you have to figure out some way of being able to replace your fence in the "square" position any time you change the angle or move the fence...and you will be moving the fence often.  (Don't ask me how I know this  ;) )

Here's an idea that I'm going to try for the fence of the upcoming 3d incarnation of my 2m MFT--(1) use a Kreg or Incra track for the fence; (2) fasten it near the front of your MFT; (3) align it to be parallel to the front edge of your table top; (4) make reference jigs so that if you remove the fence, you can quickly put it back in the same place, perfectly parallel to the front edge of your table top; and (5) align your guide rail to be perpendicular to the front edge of your table top using the "double error squaring method" taught by Rick Christopherson here

http://home.att.net/~waterfront-woods/Articles/Double-Error-Squaring.html

You can clamp a sacrificial sheet to the top of the MFT underneath the piece you will be cutting during the squaring process--that way, you won't put a wide, ugly kerf in your table top while you're squaring the guide rail to the fence.  If you go to Festool's site and download Jerry Work's manual on the MFS (not MFT), you'll see how he mounts a fence at the front of his MFT.  Granted, he uses the Festool angle unit to attach the fence to the table, but you don't have to do that.

This idea of not using Festool's angle unit and fence is related to the issue of laying out the holes in your MFT.  First, to clear up any confusion, 20mm diameter and 96mm spacing are the correct dimensions.  That said, I've built three large MFT tops, and for the first two I bored the holes with a router just by drawing a grid of lines and eyeballing it.   I was able to get all the holes within +/- 1mm of the correct location (i.e., the spacing was never less than 96mm nor more than 98mm).  The Festool angle unit will work with hole spacing of about 97-99mm.  But the angle unit is the only accessory that uses fixed two studs spaced 96mm apart, so if you don't use the Festool angle unit, then it doesn't matter if your holes are off by a few mm.

In addition to boring the 20mm holes, consider mounting some 1/4-20 or 5/16-18 t-nuts or inserts in the underside of the table top, and drill the holes all the way through so you can screw a bolt in the table top.  Why?  Because it gets tiresome to reach under the table all the time to fasten the Festool clamping accessories.  Bending over and stooping down again and again chips away at your physical and mental freshness, sapping your productivity beyond the time you spend doing it.

You can make some auxiliary fences for sawing and squaring and hold them in place with bolts or cam clamps like these:

http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&cat=1,43455&p=52800

http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p=45034&cat=1,43455,52799

By the way, I have pics of the shop-made auxiliary fences and some other stuff for the MFT, but I can't post them until Monday, because the file sizes are too big to post on this forum and I don't have photo-editing software here at home.  I also posted text and pics on design considerations for large MFTs on the old forum but I never brought it over to this one.  For what it's worth, I'll see if I have a copy of the text somewhere.

Finally, after I've spent all this time and text telling you the disadvantages of using the Festool fence and angle unit, send me a PM if you want to buy mine, incl the adjustable stop.

Regards,

John
« Last Edit: April 14, 2007, 11:50 PM by John Stevens »
What this world needs is a good retreat.
--Captain Beefheart

Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2007, 01:56 AM »
Hi Byron,

Let me throw out another idea for you to consider.  I too was planning on making an oversized custom MFT.  Gerry Work's MFT write-up had inspired this, and like you, I was looking for a larger surface.

Recently, Gerry had replied to a similar thread, and said that he now prefers to connect two MFTs together, rather than have one large custom MFT.  He said that he likes the flexibility of being able to join them end-to-end, side-to-side, or seperate them, depending on his needs at the time.  I couldn't find the thread, so hopefully I'm recalling correctly.  Any how, I thought I'd tap into the wisdom Gerry gleaned from using both a custom oversized MFT, and connecting a pair of standard MFTs.  So I bought an MFT 1080, and plan on adding a second 1080 Basic, along with a pair MFT Connectors.  But I didn't buy the second one yet- I decided to use the first one a while before I decide which way to go.

I agree with the other poster that suggested having two benches, the MFT and a also a heavy, ridgid bench for chopping dovetails and other hand-work.  I'm keeping my traditional workbench, and am complementing it with the MFT, which will be used as an assembly bench, and with the Festool router, saw, Etc.

Another option to ponder.

Todd
« Last Edit: April 15, 2007, 02:13 AM by Todd from San Jose »

Offline John Stevens

  • Posts: 758
  • Ardmore, PA
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2007, 06:35 AM »
Recently, Gerry had replied to a similar thread, and said that he now prefers to connect two MFTs together, rather than have one large custom MFT.  He said that he likes the flexibility of being able to join them end-to-end, side-to-side, or seperate them, depending on his needs at the time.

...or fold one up to get it out of the way when you need more space.

Yeah, I've had a large MFT for a couple of years, and I'd agree with Jerry Work and Todd.  The  floor of my basement workshop is so uneven that it would be difficult to put two MFTs side-by-side and still have the tops in roughly the same plane, so a large MFT works better for me, but otherwise I think I'd go for dual MFTs.

Regards,

John
What this world needs is a good retreat.
--Captain Beefheart

Offline Daviddubya

  • Posts: 703
  • Arizona, USA
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2007, 10:39 AM »
All of these posts about drilling your own MFT top got me to thinking - or maybe I'm musing.  I suppose if you already own the LR 32 hole drilling setup, it makes some sense to make your own MFT top, as described in some of the earlier posts in this thread.  And I suppose making a router template from 1/4" hardboard is another way to go.  But the cost in time and/or money to make your own top should be balanced against the cost of simply buying the top(s) from Festool at $86 each.  Personally, I have a hard time justifying the cost of the LR 32 system, since I don't do a lot of hole drilling for adjustable shelves.  Buying the LR 32 to make MFT tops is not economically feasible, IMHO - you can buy quite a few tops for the cost of the LR 32 system.  Maybe I'm oversimplifying, but I would just buy new tops when I need them for my double MFT setup.  I have a home-based, semi-pro (I'm retired and make money doing projects for others) shop and my double MFT is now about two years old.  I had a single MFT for a year before it grew into a double one.  The double MFT has one saw kerf where the rail sits and another old kerf where the rail used to sit, which is now covered up by the fence.  I guess I'm good to go for a while yet, eh???
David W. Falkenstein
in Cave Creek, AZ, USA

Offline Lou Miller

  • Posts: 482
  • North Wales, PA
    • Some of my work
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2007, 11:44 AM »
If you think buying a top from Festool is the way to go for you, than more power to you. As I posted the other day in another thread, I can make a replacement top in 15-20 minutes for my MFT. In fact, if I buy a sheet of 5'x8' MDF, I can make four of them in about 30 minutes by ganging them together. I don't use the LR32 to make mine either. Just a square and a 20mm drill bit. a 5'x8' sheet of MDF costs me about $25 and a 20mm bit cost me about $18. I bill my shop time at $60/hr. So, if it took me an hour (which it wouldn't) and I round up the cost of the drill bit and the MDF to $60, my total cost would be $120 for four 1080 tops. Festool wants $86 for one top, so four would be $344.

In reality, I make my tops out of cutoffs that would only be thrown away and I have other uses for the drill bit, so the actual cost for me to make them is far less than I stated above. 

I'll sell them for $43 to anyone who wants one  ;D

Offline Daviddubya

  • Posts: 703
  • Arizona, USA
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2007, 02:39 PM »

I'll sell them for $43 to anyone who wants one  ;D

Do you do free shipping for orders over $150???  Smile.
David W. Falkenstein
in Cave Creek, AZ, USA

Offline ByronBlack

  • Posts: 19
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2007, 03:13 PM »
Thanks for all the replies/idea's etc..

I think my main reason for the larger home-built MFT is that it will be cheaper than 2 MFT's, however the more I think about it, the more I can see the benefits of two seperate ones. BUT my MFT will be a replacement for a traditional bench and i'll be doing all my hand-tool work on it too. SO how does one go about making the MFT Sturdy enough to withstand the forces of hand-planning and chopping out mortices?

Offline Les Spencer

  • Posts: 487
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2007, 06:50 PM »
Byran,

Not sure if you've seen the Jumbo MFT Brian Gray built. It's quite impressive.

http://www.briangray.net/projectdetail.cfm?ProjectID=32
Les (near Indy) XL

Offline Chuck Wilson

  • Posts: 117
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2007, 07:22 PM »
New to the site and considering Festool.  ::)

Can someone post the link to the Jerry Work .pdf?

Thanks,

Chuck

Offline ejantny

  • Posts: 182
  • Scotia, NY
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2007, 07:40 PM »
You'll find it here plus a lot of other stuff

http://www.festoolusa.com/woodworking.aspx

Offline Dave Rudy

  • Posts: 771
  • Coloroda Front Range, in the lee of Pikes Peak
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2007, 05:38 AM »
Hi Dave,

To answer your question of "How do you reset the guide rail so it's exactly 96 mm from the row beside it?".

Hopefully in the picture you can see the small 5 mm holes along the edge of the sheet (there was another row of these on the other side of the sheet).  These 5 mm holes are 96 mm apart.  The brass shelf pin sticking up above the guide rail indexed the rail up the board 96 mm for the "next" row.   The blue tape on the guide rail had a pencil mark every 96 mm so I would know where to plunge the 20 mm hole with the OF 1010.


jim 


Thanks Jim.  I missed the 5mm holes the first time around.  Great setup!  And if the idea of using the Domino with LR 32 pans out, I'm next up for the LR32.  Get the next shipment  ready Bob!!!!

Offline Dave Rudy

  • Posts: 771
  • Coloroda Front Range, in the lee of Pikes Peak
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2007, 05:40 AM »
New to the site and considering Festool.  ::)

Can someone post the link to the Jerry Work .pdf?

Thanks,

Chuck


Welcome Chuck.  By the way, in order to understand this thread completely, you actually have to read two of Jerry's manuals -- one on the MFT (table) and one on the MFS (rail, jig, squaring, routing system).

Two reads you will undoubtedlygreatly enjoy without a doubt!

Dave

Offline ByronBlack

  • Posts: 19
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2007, 05:46 AM »
Hi Les - Yes, I have seen the jumbo MFT (courtesy of a link somewhere on this site recently.) But what my main question is at the moment is, if I don't decide to make my own base and large MFT but instead connect a couple together as and when I need the extra space, what is a good way of securing the spindly legs to make the MFT sturdy enough to withstand hand-planing and chopping mortices, because even my traditional bench sometimes racks with the forces and I have had to brace it a bit.

Any thoughts greatly received!

Offline Brian 57

  • Posts: 57
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2007, 07:33 AM »
I have installed a full shelf, supported on the crossbars of the MFT legs, where I keep my Festool kit in systainers, (a similar shelf was shown on the old FOG site). I would suggest that a few bags of e.g. sand on such a shelf might provide some resistance to racking, but I doubt it would hold up against really strenuous planing.

Regards 

Offline Les Spencer

  • Posts: 487
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2007, 12:07 PM »
Byron,

The reason I posted the link to Brian's bench, that is, IMO, your answer. The MFT just was not designed, or lends it's self to being redesigned, to with stand the forces you're wanting on it's present base. In Jerry Work's MFT manual, he does show a MFT mounted to cast iron legs. Maybe this would work. But if you're wanting the flexibility of the MFT top and the sturdiness of the a traditional work bench, Brian's bench does meet those needs.

Personally I've just kept my woodworking bench. I find I'm needing this bench less. With the Festool sanders, maybe I'll eliminate the need for hand planing.  ??? :o ;D
Les (near Indy) XL

Offline ByronBlack

  • Posts: 19
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2007, 01:41 PM »
Hi Les,

I hear what you're saying and will have to continue to think on this. The jumbo MFT seems fine, but you lose the flexability of adding a second MFT on an 'as and when' basis. Hmm, as I write this, I think i've come up with my own solution: Maybe two small Jumbo MFT's! Use each MFT worktop and side rails as the basis of the system and install on a heavy hardwood frame similar to a traditional workbench with drawers/cupboards for tools to add some more weight. Each smaller MFT can then have locking casters so they can be moved and mounted together or seperated so i'll have a seperate assembly and joinery tables.

I'll have to get to my drawing board on this one..

Thanks for all the input. I can feel the MFT Purchase imminent.

Offline Corwin

  • Posts: 2103
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2007, 03:44 PM »
On that idea, I have two 1080s and a 4'x4' (from stock MFT parts) that I will build a (mobile) base for once life settles down...  Currently the 4'x4' MFT works great between the two 1080's for use with a 118" guide rail -- with a loop hanging down from ceiling and eye-bolt mounted in rail's T-track for temp hold of rail off material.  Also, the two standard MFTs connected work well using the 75" guide rail -- the 75" guide works great in the MFT guide brackets, best if your ceiling is anything over the 8'-6" ceiling I have.  I like the flexibility of these reconfigurable tables!

So many choices!       :D
Corwin
Shirt Size:  L

Offline Jim Dailey

  • Posts: 278
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2007, 11:18 PM »
Byron,

Your question "what is a good way of securing the spindly legs to make the MFT sturdy enough to withstand hand-planing and chopping mortices, because even my traditional bench sometimes racks with the forces and I have had to brace it a bit."

In one word; triangulation.  Or a longer explanation to my one word answer...  If you take four boards & place a nail in each corner the "square" is not necessarily a square it can be moved into diamond or flop nearly flat...  However if you take 3 boards & 3 nails the triangle is ridged.  That's why when we frame a house ("light frame construction") that a wall is not ridge until it's cross braced.  Look at the metal grid high line poles that Alexander Gram Bell invented (he did something other then invent the "land line".... :o ), it's all triangles...  It's also at the heart of the geodesic dome the H. Buckmaster Fuller popularized.

Anyhow all that needs to be done to make the MFT ridge is a brace from the rail to the lower part of the leg.  Actually I'm thinking of using my out riggers from my vacuum's boom arm (I'm sick of tripping over them...)  to re-enforce my MFT....  But I haven't got around making a wedge block to "add" to the out rigger to make it match the 90 plus degrees that the table legs flare out.

jim


Life is just a series of projects...

Offline Brian 57

  • Posts: 57
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2007, 06:25 AM »
My guess would be that while triangulation or other forms of bracing might well help with structural rigidity, it will not cure the entirety of the problem. A part of a complete solution to the difficulty of planing on the MFT must address the tendency for the MFT to wander under effort, i.e. it is a bit on the light side for planing. A ply or MDF shelf attached to the legs, (maybe further up the legs than I currently have mine), could give the rigidity, a weight of sand on that shelf, (but not so close to the top as to hamper below-top clamping), might cure the wander.
Regards

Offline John Stevens

  • Posts: 758
  • Ardmore, PA
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2007, 02:49 PM »
Also, if your MFT is 2m long, you're limited in where you can put the angle unit if you still want to be able to use the side extrusion to fasten the left end of the fence.  Of course, you can solve that by using a shop-made clamping device

By the way, I have pics of the shop-made auxiliary fences and some other stuff for the MFT, but I can't post them until Monday...


Just getting around to it.  The auxiliary fences are posted here:

http://festoolownersgroup.com/index.php?topic=238.0

Several clamping ideas have been posted recently on this thread:

http://festoolownersgroup.com/index.php?topic=686.0

Hope this helps you in deciding whether to build a 2m MFT, or in deciding how to build it.

Regards,

John
What this world needs is a good retreat.
--Captain Beefheart

Offline ByronBlack

  • Posts: 19
Re: Homemade MFT Worktop
« Reply #29 on: April 21, 2007, 10:24 AM »
HI everyone.

Just wanted to thank you all for the help/tips and feedback. I've decided to go ahead and purchase the standard 1080 kit and some clamps and will develop some bracing or a new more heavier base for it. I'll add another 1080 to it as and when I need the extra support.

I'm looking forward to receiving the MFT and putting it to use.