Saturday, February 19, 2011

Festool MFT System Review

One of the last reviews I'll post here is of the Festool MFT system.  I say system because the benefits of the table and its attributes carries over across the various models so while my review is of the MFT-1080, you can get the same benefits from the MFT/3.

This is a playlist video broken up into 3 parts.  Part 1 talks about the table in general including the important facets.  Part 2 talks about my modifications to the table (all of which were documented here; check the MFT label); it shows you how to use Qwas dogs to quickly calibrate your table with exceptional precision.  Part 3 talks about using the table top mostly without the attached guide-rail relying uniquely on the Qwas dogs and Qwas rail dogs.  If you are looking at possibly going without a table saw (by choice or requirement), you should give this video a look as these ideas can be used to replicate most repetitive cuts you'd do on the table saw.

I just mentioned that you can set this table square repeatedly with great precision; you can also set a number of common rise-run angles with equal repeatability and precision.  Here's a link to the thread on the FOG about this video in case you want to read the feedback.  Here, specifically, is a link to a reply about a CNC shop in Hollywood that uses these dogs on massive "MFT" tables.  While I loved the Qwas system that I describe in these videos, those guys really take it to the limits.

17 comments:

  • Ray said...
     

    You wouldn't happen to have the CMS-OF router attachement table for the OF 1400? Would be interrested in your comments on does it work as a table router when attached to one and is height adjustment available from above or is that reserved to only OF 2200?

  • Paul-Marcel said...
     

    Sorry, Ray, I don't have that module or the CMS/Basis to install it. I looked into getting one shipped from the UK (actually, a UKer decided to look into it for me to tempt me :) and the price was very prohibitive. I have a nice router table without a lift and honestly don't use it that often to merit the expense.

  • Ray said...
     

    Thanks Paul for your reply, I guess I'll have to pop by the local Festool dealers one day and have a hard look at it.

    Since I don't have the space to set up anything permanent so everything I get needs to be foldaway at the end of the day and I've been eyeing the MFT+CMS attachments as better alternatives to my current El Cheapo Wolfcraft "worktable" ;-P

    I totally agree on the price tag thou - it is ridiculous as everything Festool is...

  • JC said...
     

    Have just watched your 3 videos of the MFT and the idea of incorporating the Qwas Dogs into the system. I would like to get my hands on the Qwas Dogs but they don't ship them to Australia...any ideas

  • Paul-Marcel said...
     

    Hi, JC,

    Did you check at Bob Marino's site? Here's his Qwas dog page. I doubt Steve ships internationally (QwasProducts.com), but Bob is a dealer for Qwas products as well.

    Send me an email if you're still stuck: HalfInchShy (at) gmail (dot) com (kinda silly to hide it like that from spam scanners since most of them should know how to figure that out!!)

  • john said...
     

    I tried to order some parts on the EKAT system on the festool site. I couldn't figure out how to actually order the part. I could find the part but there did't seem to be a way to actually put it in a shopping cart to check out. I thought I might ask you while I wait the 2-3 business days for a response from the festool people.Thanks!!

  • Paul-Marcel said...
     

    Hi, John,

    I originally jotted down the part numbers and called my dealer who ordered them.

    However, it turns out you can call Festool USA and ask for the parts desk. There, you can give them the part numbers. When you make your list, I'd recommend jotting down part of the description, too.

    Oh, if you decide to get the "fence clamps", I previously stated you needed to get them in parts and assemble them. Someone wrote me directly to say that you can get one whole for a little less than the cost of parts. I don't have the part number. Just tell them you want the fence clamp.

    Festool USA can be reached at 888-337-8600

  • greenthumb said...
     

    Ray,

    I really appreciated your MFT video. Is there a place where you explain on your blog how to do the things on the webinar?

    Thx

    Jim

  • Paul-Marcel said...
     

    Hi, Jim,

    Scattered throughout the blog are different articles or podcasts that will explain more about the things you saw in the podcast. For starters, look below the text of the blog entry and you'll see a section listing "Related Articles" and it will show a few things that relate to the topic.

    To the right of the blog entries is a section called "Labels". Each label narrows down your search to entries related to the label. For relevant things on this MFT podcast, try the "MFT" label and "Qwas" label. I did a picture frame for a friend and one of the podcasts used the Qwas dogs on the MFT to cut the mitered corners.

    Hope that helps!

  • Ole said...
     

    Hi Paul-Marcel

    I really like your reviews of the MFT. It gave me great ideas to build a table myself, with some of the same features from Festool.
    Regards Ole
    From Denmark

  • Scott Rassenfoss said...
     

    Paul-Marcel,

    The videos are great and I want to commend you on the work put into them. Like some others I am looking at dropping the table saw and using the MFT. Have you seen anyone use a router edge guide (fit under the guide rail)as a stop for multiple rip cuts? It seems that this would be an easily adjustable solution for making repetative rip cuts with the rail saw and MFT.

    thanks,

    Scott

  • Paul-Marcel St-Onge said...
     

    Hi, Scott,

    Well the TS-55 and TS-75 both have a parallel guide that will do what you are suggesting. They slide into the saw base and act like a router edge guide. Easy to make parallel cuts with it. You couldn't use it in conjunction with the guide rail or you'd have two things trying to guide the saw.

    Here's a link to the one for the TS-55: http://www.festoolusa.com/products/plunge-cut-circular-saws/stops-and-accessories/parallel-guide-491469.html
    There's a different one for the TS-75.

  • Scott Rassenfoss said...
     

    I already have the smaller of the Festool saws (not the currrent version) and was wanting to add the MFT and ditch the table saw (the only time I use it is to rip stock for face frames etc.). My goal was to see if there were something to affix to the guiderail to allow for easy adjustment for differing widths without having to move the guiderail itself.

    I think I may go with the Qwas dogs and have a stop block to butt up against them under the rail to then give me the desired width for however many pieces I need.

    I am trying to peck this out on a tablet, so please forgive me. Baiscally I want an adjustible undermount rip fence that you can zero to the guiderail tot narrow cuts.

  • Unknown said...
     

    For the Starett ruler you added to your fence, is that 1/2 or 3/4 inch thick?

  • Paul-Marcel St-Onge said...
     

    The Starrett self-adhesive rule is 1/2" thick.

    -groan- went to get you the link to it and apparently they are discontinued, but LeeValley still has the one size you need for this in stock so grab it now (I put an extra in my cart!)

    Self-Adhesive Bench Rules

  • Anonymous said...
     

    Hello Paul-Marcel,
    Not sure if you got my email re. profile/fence rising at the front when using the fence clamps ?

    Anyway, thanks for the great videos. I have now got the off cut fence setup and added a couple of adhesive tapes (Kreg, metric. If you can't get Starrett).

    Did you have a problem with the front edge of the profile/fence kicking up when the clamps are tightened ? I can't seem to get it to lay flat on the MFT top. Any suggestions ?
    Thanks again,
    Simon GoodmanWood UK

  • Paul-Marcel St-Onge said...
     

    Hi, Simon,

    I actually replied earlier tonight, but the information may be relevant to others. Below is a copy of my reply:

    Wow, must be the week for the MFT mod! You're the second guy in 4 days to ask about it; since the 1080/800 is discontinued, I don't get many questions about it, since obviously it can't be done to an MFT/3... :-/

    The kick-up is normal and harmless. Mine does that a bit; not a lot, but a bit. "couple mm" is much more than mine. Mine is more like a half mm. Try taking apart the clamp and inserting washers between the top and bottom part. The other thing I think would work (and it depends on the cause of the kick up; since mine doesn't much, it's hard to guess): put one of those flat wooden coffee stir sticks in the T slot in the back of the fence and have the clamp press down on that. What I'm thinking is that the little lip on the front of the fence clamp is now not long enough to make up for the lip on the fence edge. With the stir stick in place, it allows the clamp to press down on the flat of the fence instead of on the edge, which wants to pop it up. If that works, put some turners' tape on the stick and put it back in there; it won't move (but could be removed). Just make sure the fence clamps sit on it. If that is the case, it is disappointing that they trimmed the clamp's lip since on the standard MFT-1080, one fence clamp is used on the left side and that would cause it to want to kick up.

    So mine does kick up 1/2mm. Never once had a problem with that. Sometimes when I push something heavy on the table, it bangs into the fence so I wonder if it is still calibrated. When that happens, I move the flag stop in front of the guide rail (my rail is normally up when not in use). That way a month later if I go to use the rail/fence, I see the stop in the way of the rail and can't use it... reminds me to re-calibrate. It takes seconds to do with the dogs and the shim you make, but usually when I bang into the fence, I have something big on the table in the way :)

    You'll love the table and the mods; give my article on the offcut fence a look, too. I use the offcut side a lot for small parts cuts. It uses 2 of the fence clamps and a spare fence. Super simple to calibrate once then you can simply slide it on fully calibrated. The adhesive tapes for the fences were difficult to find, but Lee Valley just started selling them again in the Metric/imperial 1/2" wide tapes L->R and R->L.

    Lemme know if it all works for you especially if you work around the kick-up problem as I'll pass that information along to the other guy, too.