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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

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      • #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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        • #5
          Thanks for the input thus far. Here is where I am with my thoughts.
          • Must be multi purpose - Outfeed, assembly, handtool bench
          • Must have as much storage as possible
          • Needs to be mobile
          • Top should have dog/mft holes and either T tracks or dovetail slots for Microjig DT clamps.
          Questions I am still wrestling with

          Build base as traditional heavy duty frame and fit storage between legs/trestles or make base plywood cabinet style that maximizes storage. There will be plenty of internal support and weight to prevent any racking etc.
          How to fit mft style top and make it changable when required.
          How to allow for space under top to clear out dust from holes (dont want it falling into drawers)!
          Should I make top a slimline Paulk style torsion box that fits to cabinet base. IIRC Paulk is 6-10" high, not sure I need or want that much.
          Do I need any conventional vise at all, one or both front and tail vises. and If yes how to integrate with top especially if its paulk style.
          Can part or all of "Holey" top act as a downdraft table?

          Thoughts and input welcomed.

          Love to see some pic of what you guys are doin gfor similar application.

          Thanks



          Jon

          Phoenix AZ - It's a dry heat
          ________________________________

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

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          • #6
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ID:	844189 My outfeed table is built for different needs, but some ideas could be use on your build. (the outfeed table is designed to jack itself up so it can straddle the table saw, allowing both to be rolled into another room in my shop, saving me a lot of floor space in this room. Then I am able to bring in automobiles, boats etc for repairs or do welding and metal fab work.) this is not what you are looking for, but it is definitely mobile, and the height easily adjust to any heights it might be need to use as an outfeed table for. Adding the Festool mft style table top would not be a problem, and building a cabinet base for storage is a given. I like that it’s height capabilities are endless, it seems that even though all of my tools, tables and cabinets are “supposedly” the same height I always have to make some height adjustments for an outfeed table to match up!
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            • #7
              Another option if you want the versatility of an MFT style bench but sturdiness of the a traditional one is to make a torsion style top and attach it to a beefy base with cross bracing. Similar to Ron Paulk design. The torsion box itself is already pretty heavy but if you use a dense stock for the base and add cross bracing you could have a pretty sturdy base. Just plan the web framing carefully so as to not interfere with the holes on top. If you already have a track saw you could also add hinge to the top to attach the track and really make it like an mft. You can design your own but there are after market ones available. This is the one I'm thinking about getting to use on my Kreg adaptive table and possibly my assembly table.

              https://dashboardpws.com/products/gu...rackets-bundle
              I reject your reality and substitute my own.

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              • #8
                And yet another option is build a more traditional bench and use the Stanton bench on top with it when you need a mft style top.

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHHfaE0RjOk
                https://www.stantonbench.com.au/prod...nch-plans-mk2/

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                I reject your reality and substitute my own.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jussi View Post
                  Another option if you want the versatility of an MFT style bench but sturdiness of the a traditional one is to make a torsion style top and attach it to a beefy base with cross bracing. Similar to Ron Paulk design. The torsion box itself is already pretty heavy but if you use a dense stock for the base and add cross bracing you could have a pretty sturdy base. Just plan the web framing carefully so as to not interfere with the holes on top. If you already have a track saw you could also add hinge to the top to attach the track and really make it like an mft. You can design your own but there are after market ones available. This is the one I'm thinking about getting to use on my Kreg adaptive table and possibly my assembly table.

                  https://dashboardpws.com/products/gu...rackets-bundle
                  A torsion box top is high in my thinking right now. If I made it removeable, even though it would stay put 95% of the time, I would have the option of using the top in other locations.
                  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


                  • #10
                    If you plan on using the festool type clamps make sure there is enough space in the grid. Both in width between grid and space between top and bottom.
                    I reject your reality and substitute my own.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Festool uses 20mm holes 96mm on center which is nice because it is basically just every 3rd hole using any 32mm cabinet drilling system. To use the festool clamps that drop through thte table you need about 2 1/2 inches clearance below the surface.

                      Also check out this long thread on TrackTubes on the Festool owners group. You may get some additional ideas.

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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by twistsol View Post
                        Festool uses 20mm holes 96mm on center which is nice because it is basically just every 3rd hole using any 32mm cabinet drilling system. To use the festool clamps that drop through thte table you need about 2 1/2 inches clearance below the surface.

                        Also check out this long thread on TrackTubes on the Festool owners group. You may get some additional ideas.

                        Festool Owners Group
                        OMG Track Tubes, now something else to angst about eeek!
                        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

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