Author Topic: MFT: with or without accessories?  (Read 1488 times)

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Offline ElectricFeet

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MFT: with or without accessories?
« on: April 22, 2018, 04:28 PM »
MFT newbie: hoping someone can advise.

I'm thinking of buying an MFT table. I currently have a 1980's B&D Workmate, which is good and stable, but too low and too small for my needs.

Main dilemma: Do I get the MFT/3 with accessories, or without?

The accessories listed in the Festool catalogue are:

- hinged rail adapter,
- rail support adapter,
- mitre guide,
- adjustable stop,
- FS 1080/2 guide rail (I already have a FSK 420 and a FS 1400/2),
- FS-AW deflector (I already have this),
- fence support clamp

 I already have a fair bit of Festool Kit -- including various clamps, and the rails and deflector mentioned above -- together with 4 of Peter's parf dogs and the UJK Technology Parf Dog Rail Clips.

Most of my cuts are 90deg. and I would be happy to forego the mitre because I can set up mitred cuts on a case-by-case basis with an angle finder.

The things I really want -- and they are really the main reason I want an MFT -- are the 2 gizmos that raise the rail off the table; keeping it square and at the height of the work to be cut.

Questions:
- Of the MFT accessories list above, what are these two gizmos called?
- Can I buy them separately?
- If I can, does the basic MFT include the 2 stops that they sit up against?

If I could just buy these, then the basic table would suffice, but if I can't, it means buying stuff I already have or don't need. Can anyone enlighten me?

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Offline TomGadwa1

  • Posts: 391
Re: MFT: with or without accessories?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2018, 06:03 PM »
To answer your question the rail adaptors are what you are after. Consider that the hinged adaptor has the included rail mounted on it semi permanently. This is so when it is removed and placed back on the MFT it will be square as the MFT comes with stops in the support rails to achieve this. The adaptors are height adjustable as you have noted. For the difference in price between the MFT basic and MFT plus with the accessories for my money I bought the MFT plus and am happy I did so!
TS55 EQ  OF1400 EQ  DFQ 500 Q  RO 125  LR32 SET  Guide Rail Acc Kit Parallel Guide Set MFK 700 EQ Set MFS700 ETS 150/3 EQ Domino Cutter Assortment T15-3 Drill Set RO 90 EQ Workshop Cleaning Set CT36 Kapex 120 MFT/3 LR32 1080 FS 1400 FS 1900 WCR1000 PSB300 Boom Arm Set Clamping Elements RS 2 E  Kapex UG Set Zobo Forstner Set Centrotech Installers Set OF1010 OF2200 ZS-OF 2200 SYS1000 Syslite CT MIDI FS 800

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Offline Peter Halle

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Re: MFT: with or without accessories?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2018, 06:03 PM »
Buy the whole enchilada is my advice.  Most of the accessories included are not available as a complete unit and if you want them later you will need to buy as parts (at a much greater cost) and assemble.

Peter

Offline leakyroof

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Re: MFT: with or without accessories?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2018, 07:14 PM »
I didn’t see the support brackets in your list for the legs. I think those are a Must have item since they stiffen up the MTF nicely
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline mattbyington

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Re: MFT: with or without accessories?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2018, 08:34 PM »
+1 to leaky roof. worth it.

Offline Rip Van Winkle

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Re: MFT: with or without accessories?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2018, 09:03 PM »
Buy the whole enchilada is my advice.  Most of the accessories included are not available as a complete unit and if you want them later you will need to buy as parts (at a much greater cost) and assemble.

Peter

This. The accessories used to be available separately as a kit for the old MFTs if I’m not mistaken, but aren’t for the newer MFT design.
If worst comes to worst, and you don’t like them or use them, you can probably sell them to someone else who chose to purchase the basic version and later decided they want the parts.

Offline Peter Parfitt

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Re: MFT: with or without accessories?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2018, 02:55 AM »
Hi @ElectricFeet

The decision whether to buy the accessories depends on how you intend to use the MFT3 for guide rail sawing. If you want the excitement of constantly having to check and recheck that everything is square before you do a cut then get the full kit. If you are happy with a simple approach then use tall and short bench dogs.

There are two accessories that are an absolute must:

   - the Fixed Clamps (488030) are sold in pairs and despite the price are really worth it. You will probably only need one pair. Mine have been in use for 6 years and still  function as they should. They are great for jig work and holding awkward pieces for sanding or routing.

   - the Lever Clamp (491594) are sold singly and not only work through the holes of the MFT3 and the frame but also with the Kapex wings. You can get the cheaper screw type claps but I find the speed and positive action of the lever clamps to be well worth the extra investment. I bought just one 6 years ago and have added more and now have 4. Most of the time I can manage quite well with just 2.

If you want to go the bench dog route then check out the offerings from Qwas, Lee Valley, Axminster and TSO. I do not recommend the use of rail dogs as the cuts are not as accurate as those made with tall dogs that get fixed in place from below like those from TSO and Lee Valley. Axminster now have two sizes of their UJK Super Dogs which are fixed, very easily, from above. The taller version gives you some extra trenching options beyond the capability of the Kapex.

Peter

Peter

Offline Birdhunter

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Re: MFT: with or without accessories?
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2018, 06:00 AM »
I think the best accessory for the MFT is the TS55 track saw. Of course, that implies buying the flip up rail the track saw rides on. The Festool routers also utilize the rail.

I use Qwas dogs and Peter’s new Super Dogs to align wood at 45 or 90 degrees to the rail. I’ve never used the protractor head. The cuts are dead on!

I use a BIG Woodpeckers framing square to square the rail. I do this before any big job. I almost never find the rail out of square. A SlopStop is a wonderful accessory to the rail. It virtually eliminates any slop in the rail positioning and its cheap.

The Festool lever action clamps are a good buy if you get the MFT.

If I didn’t plan to use the MFT for sawing with the rail and TS55, I might just build a table.

The MFT negatives are that it’s not rock solid even with the optional leg braces and there is no good way to mount a woodworking vise. I solved both problems by building an extension to hold a big vise. The extension has its own legs and they really stabilize the MFT. Also, the MFT tops sag over time. I just flip them over once a year.
Birdhunter

Offline geoffshep

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Re: MFT: with or without accessories?
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2018, 06:17 AM »
I think the best accessory for the MFT is the TS55 track saw. Of course, that implies buying the flip up rail the track saw rides on.

He says he already has a rail.

I'm going against the flow here, but I wouldn't bother with the accessories unless you plan to do LOTS of repeated cutting of the same thickness material.  I found that the main reason the rail goes out of square is moving the supports up and down to accommodate varying thicknesses of stock.

I do all of my cutting now using a rail, with dogs to position the stock and the rail.  I haven't used the flip bits for the rail for ages and never used the protractor.

Having said that, I would build myself a cutting table instead, or buy a perforated top.  The MFT is nicely made, like everything Festool, but since I don't need the portability I don't really need it.

Offline ElectricFeet

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Re: MFT: with or without accessories?
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2018, 12:04 PM »
Thanks for all the replies; much food for thought. Replies on specific points:

Buy the whole enchilada is my advice.

I too am tempted to get the "whole enchilada". I should perhaps have also alluded to the fact that I've been researching the accessories and am also disappointed how you need to check every time that the rail is perfectly square ... plus (possible) need for slop stop etc. 

If you want the excitement of constantly having to check and recheck that everything is square before you do a cut then get the full kit.
;D Love it. At my age, I get enough excitement from using a circular saw! Squaring up is like admin for me; a real pain.

Your reply is better than my question is in nailing down my dilemma with the accessories.

There are two accessories that are an absolute must:

   - the Fixed Clamps (488030) ...

   - the Lever Clamp (491594) ...

... The taller [bench dog] version gives you some extra trenching options ...
Yup, got them all (my 4 parf dogs are the tall Veritas ones I got a year ago). The existence of the parf dog route is one reason is why I'm tempted not to go the accessory route.

I found that the main reason the rail goes out of square is moving the supports up and down to accommodate varying thicknesses of stock. ... I do all of my cutting now using a rail, with dogs to position the stock and the rail...

For @Peter Parfitt and @geoffshep:

One thing is missing from the parf dog solution: how do you support the rail when cutting something small? Up to now, I've tried putting offcuts under the rail, but I'm a hobbyist and never seem to have the right height of off-cuts available. Is there another (adjustable) way to support the rail at various heights?

This is the nub of my problem: if there's a solution for adjusting the rail height with the parf dog route, then I really don't need the accessories, as I have the equivalents of what I need already. But if there's no other height adjustment solution, then I need the "whole enchilada".

Update: I just saw this http://festoolownersgroup.com/festool-jigs-tool-enhancements/tso-grs-16pe-mft This is an interesting twist, as I have a TSO GRS16-PE. This would imply buying the whole enchilada, as the issue is still how to raise the rail without the Festool adaptors.   
« Last Edit: April 23, 2018, 12:36 PM by ElectricFeet »

Offline Birdhunter

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Re: MFT: with or without accessories?
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2018, 12:30 PM »
I’ve owned my dual MFT for several years. The hinged drop down rail has gotten out of square once. That time, one of the fasteners holding the rail to the hinge had loosened.

I know there are accounts of persistent problems with the rail not staying square, but I’ve never had that problem.
Birdhunter

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 238
Re: MFT: with or without accessories?
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2018, 01:11 PM »
One thing is missing from the parf dog solution: how do you support the rail when cutting something small? Up to now, I've tried putting offcuts under the rail, but I'm a hobbyist and never seem to have the right height of off-cuts available. Is there another (adjustable) way to support the rail at various heights?

This is the nub of my problem: if there's a solution for adjusting the rail height with the parf dog route, then I really don't need the accessories, as I have the equivalents of what I need already. But if there's no other height adjustment solution, then I need the "whole enchilada".

To keep the rail even, I Keep every single offcuts in a bin or two, perhaps three  [eek] You always end up with left over with the same thickness, do not trash them too quickly.

Mario
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Offline GoingMyWay

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Re: MFT: with or without accessories?
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2018, 01:19 PM »
One thing is missing from the parf dog solution: how do you support the rail when cutting something small? Up to now, I've tried putting offcuts under the rail, but I'm a hobbyist and never seem to have the right height of off-cuts available. Is there another (adjustable) way to support the rail at various heights?

I also have the problem of dealing with small/narrow cuts on my custom tracksaw cutting station.  I have the Precision Parallel Guides and recently discovered that I can create a "spacer" block that's the exact width of the guide rail, butted to the edge of the Precision Parallel Guides.  I made that spacer out of 3/4" MDF so that will work for cutting 3/4" stock, but I guess I'd need to create a new spacer for any other thickness - like the 1.75" stock for my end grain cutting boards.  Does the thickness of your wood vary that much?  I'd assume you'd be frequently cutting somewhat "standard" thicknesses - 1/4", 1/2", 3/4", 1", 1 1/4" something like that?

The other problem that I encountered (even with the spacer block) is supporting narrow boards without a fence.  In other words, the piece is too narrow to reference off the 2 or 4 short Parf dogs I have in the front.  To resolve this issue I just ordered 2 12" Veritas steel straight edges that I plan to butt up against 2 Parf dogs on both sides of the cut to act as my fence.  I have no idea if this will work, but it sure sounded like one of my "brilliant" idea/solutions.  If it works then I can probably still get away without having an MFT/3.

I still kinda wish I had just gotten the full MFT/3 to begin with since it seems like it would have made things a lot easier from the beginning.
Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Offline ElectricFeet

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Re: MFT: with or without accessories?
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2018, 02:54 PM »
@GoingMyWay @Birdhunter Thanks for the reassurance that the full MFT/3 might be a good route.

To keep the rail even, I Keep every single offcuts in a bin or two, perhaps three  [eek] You always end up with left over with the same thickness, do not trash them too quickly.

@Mario Turcot Hehe. I have quite a few and they sit on a shelf. In order to accommodate the MFT/3 in the cupboard where I currently keep my (much smaller) Black & Decker Workmate, the shelf will have to go!  ::) (It's hard woodworking from an apartment in a city!)

One option would be to make my own custom spacers: exactly the width of a rail, for all the common heights of materials. That would take up less space than a whole shelf  [big grin] [big grin]

Still sitting on the fence ... or rather, not sure if to get the fence or not ... Need to go off and do a multi-variate value analysis (spreadsheet).

Offline Corwin

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Re: MFT: with or without accessories?
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2018, 03:57 PM »
I understand the need to support the guide rail with material the same thickness as your workpiece. Yet, that material doesn't need to be "the exact width of the guide rail" if you were to use a fenced sled when cutting workpieces narrower than the guide rail. Here is my fenced sled:

Looks like your rabbit joint is a hare off! ;)

Offline ElectricFeet

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Re: MFT: with or without accessories?
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2018, 04:50 PM »
Here is my fenced sled:
Hi @Corwin Interesting setup. It seems that you have the rail/hinge supports/adaptors at each end. What I'm trying to see here is if I an somehow support the rail without those.

I just watched the Dave Stanton video showing how he made one for his bench Might be the way to go, but quite honestly I'd nearly pay the extra for the full MFT so as not to have to do that  [unsure]

Offline Corwin

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Re: MFT: with or without accessories?
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2018, 05:07 PM »
@ElectricFeet, yes, I do use the stock support brackets on my MFTs. And, note that having support for the guide rail at both ends has the advantage of preventing the rail from tipping as the saw extends beyond your workpiece before the cut and after. Some of the other alternatives don't offer such support, and thus introduce this tipping issue if not otherwise addressed.

The reason for my prior post was to show that using a fenced sled allows you to use supporting material to match the thickness of your workpiece that are not required to be the exact width of your guide rail, as has been mentioned in the two posts prior -- simply use some off cut from the material you are using to support the guide rail as needed.
Looks like your rabbit joint is a hare off! ;)