Author Topic: I'm new to the Kool-Aid with a TS 55 and T 18 - what's special about MFT?  (Read 2088 times)

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Offline IndyMike

  • Posts: 112
Hey!

So this may seem silly... but I don't quite understand what is so amazing about the MFT.  It seems I could build a table and put holes in it of the same size/spacing and get basically the same functionality.  It's clear I am not aware of the benefits of the MFT.

I picked up a TS 55 not long ago and a T 18 the other day so I'm new to the Festool world and so far I'm extremely pleased with these tools.

That said - I keep seeing the MFT mentioned over and over - but I just can't seem to grasp what's so special about it?

Not putting the MFT down, just trying to understand the hype :P.
Mike

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Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1184
You can absolutely build your own and many have.  Out of the box the MFT set comes with a short guide rail, back fence and a hinged bracket for the rail.  The front and rear bracket can be adjusted for the height of your work.  Once the rail is set square to the back fence it makes a great cross cutting station.  You can buy multiple stops for the back fence if you need to switch up your cross cuts.  And the table makes for a nice clamping surface when using festool’s Clamps.  The profiles around the outside can also be used for vertical clamping, attaching another MFT or adding a set of Kapex wings for outfeed support. 

But building your own allows you to customize the size.  You can do away with the bracket, hinge and back fence and use dogs to align your workpiece and track.  Lots of aftermarket accessories available for this.  You can build a storage cabinet underneath to support the top and make better use of the space.  And you can dial in the height to serve as outfeed for other machines you might want to add later.
-Raj

Online GoingMyWay

  • Posts: 566
I began with a custom tracksaw cutting station that I made using the Parf Guide System and a 2'x4' piece of MDF.

I later thought I could try to create something like a custom MFT/3, but then when I started looking at the prices for the MFT/3 hardware I discovered that it was probably going to be cheaper and easier to just buy an actual MFT/3 so that's exactly what I did.  I bought an MFT/3 back in May.  The biggest features of an actual MFT/3 that I was looking for were the rail supports, the fence, the flag stops, and the ability to clamp items vertically along the outside profile.  The fence and rail supports were vital in being able to cut narrow stock.  Most everything else could be replicated with just a pair of dogs and a custom drilled top.  In hindsight, I wish I had just bought the MFT/3 to begin with.

I've recently bought a pair of Fence Dogs with the fence: https://benchdogs.co.uk/products/fence-bench-dogs-with-fence that's a great improvement with the fence, but still find the rail supports on the MFT/3 to be very helpful.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 191
It took me a while to wrap my head around the MFT. A table with a bunch of holes, big deal. That was working in a small garage. When I got setup in my new shop space and having used more of the Festool system I decided to go all in and have since acquired 2 more MFT's, all 3 purchased second hand. I'm a bit spoiled with that setup but I don't have room for a table saw or most conventional woodworking machinery. For sheet good cutting it's a great table and even better with 2 or more. With a DIY table you can setup repeat cuts with flag stops using the Benchdogs fence but you're still stuck using a rail that goes up and down rather than hinged like the MFT. And having the profiles on the table comes in handy. Here's my setup for reference:

Long rip support:

Edge banding:

Here's my DIY top on sawhorses. It gets used mainly as a workbench and accumulates all the tools and screws as I'm getting into a project:

For my setup I have multiple flag stops and a calibrated tape with inch/metric for both the left and right of the rail. I don't have to measure anything and I know if I set a stop at 300mm all my parts are going to come out at 300mm exactly in width.

Hope this helps.

Online Peter Halle

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I remember well sitting in a room of other Foggers back in the late summer of 2009 and the group being asked the question:  How many of you own the MFT?  A bunch of hands went up.  Mine didn't.  Then then question was:  Why or why not?  Others told what they used theirs' for and when it came to me I replied something along the lines of:  "its just a table with holes."

I ended up buying an MFT/3 a couple of years later and have not regretted it once except for the fact that I don't carry it with me on the road much.  It is in my living room holding up another machine.

The market for MFT's is greater in North America than anywhere else in the world.  ( I have confirmation of this )

My advice has been and still is to any new MFT owner that you unplug your power tools, grab a chair your favorite beverage and a couple of pieces of scrap wood.  Then sit and stand around it and play with moving the pieces and envisioning what you might use it for.  This will be a starter and eventually you will find many more uses.

Peter

Offline Jesse Cloud

  • Posts: 1717
  • Festooling at the end of a dirt road in New Mexico
Yes to all the above, but they haven't mentioned yet that the holes are CNC cut at dead perfect 90 degree angles.

So you can attach a Festool fence or dogs made by many third parties at 90 degrees, or 45 with a little thought first.  Place your workpiece on the fence/dogs, then a guide rail and you have perfect repeatable angles all day long.

The other advantage is that there are so many holes that you can clamp down almost any shape without making cauls.  I do a lot of curved work and this is huge for me.

I do a lot of veneer work, and I can put a couple of MFTs together and rip a 10 foot sheet of veneer with a TS55 - if you do veneer, you know this is huge!  The edges are ready for taping.  Saves me a day or so on most projects.

MFT is easily my most often used tool.  Its rare not to have it in use.

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 5192
  • Does Anyone Know What Time It Is?
I have 3 full sized MFTs and a Kapex MFT.

Recently I did some work on site about 17 hr drive from my home. I loaded up the tools i thought I would need.
I can honestly tell you all that the one tool I really seriously needed and didnt bring was a MFT.

With all the clamping and cutting options it would of saved me a lot of time and effort. I learned: MFT, Dont leave home with out it.

Plus the next time I go there, Im going to be cutting sheet goods so ill bring 2 of them and a CT

Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 191
I have 3 full sized MFTs and a Kapex MFT.

Recently I did some work on site about 17 hr drive from my home. I loaded up the tools i thought I would need.
I can honestly tell you all that the one tool I really seriously needed and didnt bring was a MFT.

With all the clamping and cutting options it would of saved me a lot of time and effort. I learned: MFT, Dont leave home with out it.

Plus the next time I go there, Im going to be cutting sheet goods so ill bring 2 of them and a CT

Hope you got paid for miles and wear and tear. 17 hours  [eek]

Offline Chris Cianci

  • Posts: 11
Hi
For most of us our Festool collection keeps growing so if you you have a Mft and down the road acquire a kapex, a router table or just simply stack Systainers up because it’s designed as a system you can expand or more fully utilize what you have because it’s all designed for the same height. The previous mentioned items integrate and can be used as out feed support. Or work space expansion when needed.
I get that the Festool system is designed for craftsman who travel to different sites on a daily basis but I believe it’s ideal as well for the hobbyist as it I havent met a woodworker yet who felt like their shop (regardless of its size) was ever big enough. We often have to set up and tear down if we share a garage with a family car so we too need the portability.I have yet to find a tool that has more diverse functions than an Mft.......that also is portable.

My first purchase was the Mft......now I have 2 and will soon get a 3rd
Best

Offline gunnyr

  • Posts: 117
    • https://www.instagram.com/compassfinecarpentry/
There's a current, related, thread going on here:
http://festoolownersgroup.com/other-tools-accessories/mft-style-portable-table/msg557032/?topicseen#msg557032

For me the MFT/3 and the 20mm hole grid is an integral part of the Festool System.  It was when I used my OF 1400 router on the guide rail with my CT 26 that I realized the beauty of Festool is that it is an integrated system.  I can't imagine working without at least one of my MFT style work surfaces.
Semper Fi,
Jeff

TS 55 REQ|HKC 55|PSB 420|DF 500|PRO 5 LTD|ETS 150/3|RO 90|RO 150|OF 1400|MFK 700|LR 32|MFS 400/700|CXS (2)|PDC 18|DWC 18-4500|CT MIDI|CT 26|CT 48|MFT/3|DUO-SET|SYSLITE KAL II
US Marines - UK Wildcats - Cincinnati Reds

Offline IndyMike

  • Posts: 112
There's a current, related, thread going on here:
http://festoolownersgroup.com/other-tools-accessories/mft-style-portable-table/msg557032/?topicseen#msg557032

For me the MFT/3 and the 20mm hole grid is an integral part of the Festool System.  It was when I used my OF 1400 router on the guide rail with my CT 26 that I realized the beauty of Festool is that it is an integrated system.  I can't imagine working without at least one of my MFT style work surfaces.
Right now I'm just using the TS 55 + 32, 55, and 118" tracks to handle sheet goods.  I have a T 18 drill as well - but I haven't figured out how a MFT would work in my set-up / meet my needs as of yet.

I'm going to watch some videos on YouTube about MFT and I'm sure it'll become more clear.
Mike

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 932
I have 3 full sized MFTs and a Kapex MFT.

Recently I did some work on site about 17 hr drive from my home. I loaded up the tools i thought I would need.
I can honestly tell you all that the one tool I really seriously needed and didnt bring was a MFT.

With all the clamping and cutting options it would of saved me a lot of time and effort. I learned: MFT, Dont leave home with out it.

Plus the next time I go there, Im going to be cutting sheet goods so ill bring 2 of them and a CT
I have a similar setup, but with the UG-Cart (which I can highly recommend in case you take the Kapex mobile). Carrying a MFT/3 is somewhat cumbersome a it's somewhat heavy and big though.

I looked at the new mobile workbench at a local roadshow. While I don't like the base (as it IMHO wastes too much space when in the car, mine is small so I have to budget space) I can't get the TSB/1-MW 1000 extension table out of my head: it fits onto the Kapex (replaces the wing on one side, but usually I cut from only one side anyway) and onto itself, so a small stack of them (like 3 or 4) could use the Kapex as a start and, connected to each other, made to support quite arbitrary sheets for cutting. And each folds to 1.1m x 0.5m x 7.5cm, so instead of one MFT/3 I could pack four of them (resulting in nearly twice the table surface) - if I take the Kapex with me (which I do most times) to have a start point to connect them.

Will have to see at what street price we end up here (no price fixing in europe)...

Offline IndyMike

  • Posts: 112
So I watched a YouTube video on the MFT... Wow...

It's far more than a table with holes in it... so much more.
Mike

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 5192
  • Does Anyone Know What Time It Is?
I have 3 full sized MFTs and a Kapex MFT.

Recently I did some work on site about 17 hr drive from my home. I loaded up the tools i thought I would need.
I can honestly tell you all that the one tool I really seriously needed and didnt bring was a MFT.

With all the clamping and cutting options it would of saved me a lot of time and effort. I learned: MFT, Dont leave home with out it.

Plus the next time I go there, Im going to be cutting sheet goods so ill bring 2 of them and a CT

Hope you got paid for miles and wear and tear. 17 hours  [eek]

Oh yea He is one of my oldest friends and he took good care of me.

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 5192
  • Does Anyone Know What Time It Is?
So I watched a YouTube video on the MFT... Wow...

It's far more than a table with holes in it... so much more.

Theres a old thread by Per Svenson, The man was awesome. He showed how the MFT helps him as a carpenter. I think I have it saved let me lok for it. Its amazing how he used his MFT

I found it, here ya go. Be sre to start at the begining of the thread. I book marked the 2nd page.

 To bad Per doesnt post here anymore

http://festoolownersgroup.com/festool-tool-reviews/mft3-for-the-finish-carpenter/msg42481/#msg42481
« Last Edit: September 07, 2018, 10:39 PM by jobsworth »

Offline JimH2

  • Posts: 605
Calling it Kool-Aid is a disservice to those who use the tools for a living.

Offline IndyMike

  • Posts: 112
Calling it Kool-Aid is a disservice to those who use the tools for a living.
Don’t be so touchy. It was clearly an attempt at humor.
Mike

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 5192
  • Does Anyone Know What Time It Is?
 I bought those MFT standoffs from Lee Valley Im going to replace one of MFT tops with a new one. The one Im repaceing I usually cut on as its old and beat up.  I got a new one I bought a while ago and havent put on the MFT yet.

Ill use the beat up one for working on the patio infront of the shop. or make a extension like the new one FT is coming out with.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 01:52 PM by jobsworth »

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 5683
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Hey!

So this may seem silly... but I don't quite understand what is so amazing about the MFT.  It seems I could build a table and put holes in it of the same size/spacing and get basically the same functionality.  It's clear I am not aware of the benefits of the MFT.
 :P.

Everything.

Yes you could.

You will be once you buy or make one.

Tom

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 5683
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Calling it Kool-Aid is a disservice to those who use the tools for a living.

Now this here is funny.

Tom