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Bench vs MFT

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  • Bench vs MFT

    It looks like my new sawstop is getting closer, so my old customized BT setup's days are numbered. One of the challenges is the BT base I built has loads of storage which will go and my workbench acts as an outfeed and its not quite same height as SS. As I have thought this through I am wondering about possibly building a new outfeed/bench with storage. My shop is small and this bench does multiple jobs e.g. outfeed, glue ups, assembly and more. FYI it is one of the smallest sjoberg benches and is very lightweight so not the best for major hand tool work.

    So, if I am going to the trouble of building a custom multi-duty bench setup do I go traditional or MFT? Would love to hear folks thoughts especially those who have MFT style experience.

    Thanks in advance.

    Jon
    Jon

    Phoenix AZ - It's a dry heat
    ________________________________

    We all make mistakes and I should know I've made enough of them
    techzibits.com

  • #2
    I have both a rock solid 8' bench, basically it is a converted ultimate tool stand with a butcher board top and a vise at one end. I also have a pair of Festool MFT/3's and about $200 or so in various Festool clamps to work with them. Having used both, the MFT style top is superior, but the Festool MFT/3 itself is not.

    The MFT type top is awesome for just about everything and it is what I use the vast majority of the time. The holes are precision milled and can be used for squaring in addition to clamping. I think of the the MFT style top as just a traditional bench with dog holes taken to an extreme.

    The Festool MFT/3's are portable so I can take them to the kids' / cousins' /nieces' / in-law's houses as necessary. The downside with the MFT/3 is the same as it is with your small Sjoberg bench, but probably even more so. When using any traditional hand tools it just isn't stable. Even with the lateral bracing Festool sells it is like working on a heavy, wobbly, card table. Therefore, for any heavy hand tool work, it is back to the old bench. It also irritates me to no end that the hole spacing is not maintained when joining two MFT's together.

    I can't answer whether you would get a more stable base with any of the MFT clones, but I would have to think that since it is a common complaint about the Festool MFT/3 that someone would have done it better.

    I'm getting to the point where I makes sense to build a solid stationary bench with an MFT type top on it, but it is far down on the list of projects at this time.

    Chr's
    __________
    An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
    A moral man does it.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by twistsol View Post
      I have both a rock solid 8' bench, basically it is a converted ultimate tool stand with a butcher board top and a vise at one end. I also have a pair of Festool MFT/3's and about $200 or so in various Festool clamps to work with them. Having used both, the MFT style top is superior, but the Festool MFT/3 itself is not.

      The MFT type top is awesome for just about everything and it is what I use the vast majority of the time. The holes are precision milled and can be used for squaring in addition to clamping. I think of the the MFT style top as just a traditional bench with dog holes taken to an extreme.

      The Festool MFT/3's are portable so I can take them to the kids' / cousins' /nieces' / in-law's houses as necessary. The downside with the MFT/3 is the same as it is with your small Sjoberg bench, but probably even more so. When using any traditional hand tools it just isn't stable. Even with the lateral bracing Festool sells it is like working on a heavy, wobbly, card table. Therefore, for any heavy hand tool work, it is back to the old bench. It also irritates me to no end that the hole spacing is not maintained when joining two MFT's together.

      I can't answer whether you would get a more stable base with any of the MFT clones, but I would have to think that since it is a common complaint about the Festool MFT/3 that someone would have done it better.

      I'm getting to the point where I makes sense to build a solid stationary bench with an MFT type top on it, but it is far down on the list of projects at this time.
      I was definitely thinking the same as you "a solid stationary bench with an MFT type top on it"

      Which features or attributes of the MFT have you found most useful?

      Jon

      Phoenix AZ - It's a dry heat
      ________________________________

      We all make mistakes and I should know I've made enough of them
      techzibits.com

      Comment


      • #4
        here are two things I really like about it vs a traditional bench.

        The first is that the holes are on a perfectly square grid so that with a few bench dogs, I can lay out face frames, drawers, whatever and know without a doubt that if they are against the dogs, they are perfectly square. I also use the squareness to set up the fence and rail for my track saw

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        The second thing is the different clamping elements available. Festool has a bunch of different clamps that work with it, Traditional F clamps that drop through the hole to clamp stuff to the surface, and the ones I use the most are the edge clamps that are < 3/4" high so I can clamp 3/4 stock to the surface and sand the entire piece without moving the clamp. By using a couple of the clamp blocks I can secure odd shaped or round objects to the table as well.



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        The bench dogs are not sold by Festool. There are a few companies that make them and they have a snug fit so there is no slop My top is about ready to be flipped to the new side. It's around six years old or so and obviously heavily used. There are people that take great pains to keep their tops pristine. I'm not one of them.
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        Chr's
        __________
        An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
        A moral man does it.

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