FESTOOL Table Choices


Rex Edgar
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I'm falling deeper into the green Kool-Aid. I'm looking at the assembly tables and there seem to be two choices; with fences and without. For those of you who have a head start on me, what are the advantages to the more expensive table with the fences/rails? Are the two tables offered the same basic table? The two part numbers are: 495315 w/tracks& fences; 500608 basic table. If I opt for the more expensive table will I need a track saw and router soon? What's the next move?

 

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I'm falling deeper into the green Kool-Aid. I'm looking at the assembly tables and there seem to be two choices; with fences and without. For those of you who have a head start on me, what are the advantages to the more expensive table with the fences/rails? Are the two tables offered the same basic table? The two part numbers are: 495315 w/tracks& fences; 500608 basic table. If I opt for the more expensive table will I need a track saw and router soon? What's the next move?

 

Rex are you talking about the mft/3?

If so, yes you absolutely need to get the package UNLESS you intend to only ever use it as a basic work holding table, which imo, would be silly. You cannot buy a package for the fences and the rail from festool if you change your mind later, you need to buy it all individually and it's much more expensive. The mft/3 is an extremely versatile table for crosscutting and routing panels amongst many other applications but don't think it will ever replace a heavy, solid workbench for planing, chiseling etc.

Get the package and you will be very happy you did.

Sent from my SM-N910W8 using Tapatalk

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  • 3 weeks later...

You could skip the whole package, and go with the basic MFT plus QWAS dogs and rail dogs. I just bought the full MFT-3, so I can write a review in a month or so after I use the thing a bit. I still plan on getting the qwas dogs to compliment the fence system. The way they price the packages, it is in your best interest to get the complete MFT3, because of the moderate price increase for a guide rail etc. 

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One other option, particularly if the table is going to be set up in a shop, would be to build a Ron Paulk workbench.  http://www.paulkhomes.com/order-plans.html

I built one to use as my tablesaw outfeed table, as well as for my Festool power tools.  I needed an outfeed table and wanted something larger than the MFT, but with most of the functionality.  It has made for a good assembly table as well as it is a large workbench.

 

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I have the MFT three and use it often.  I find that it has several problems and I have mostly solved them.

1.  The portion of the fence that goes  under the cross rail is too thick for working with 1/2" ply.  It's just barely too thick which is fustrating that Festool would design it that way.  Perhaps mine is defective.

2.  The fence takes up a lot of real estate on the table and limits the width of crosscuts unnecessarily.

3.  I solved problems 1 and 2 by removing the fence that came with the MFT and using a new fence made from incra track and some 1/2" ply under the rail.  The 1/2" ply goes all the way to the short end of the table for additional guidance and it is designed to be cut by the saw as a zero clearance back stop so I know where both sides of the blade are.  The Incra track accepts woodpeckers flip stops as an added bonus.  Woodpeckers flip stops are much more compact than the flag stops from Festool, so you can place them closer together.  They are also about $10 each instead of $24.00.

4. There is a product called stop slop that goes in the underside rail to tighten up the clearance between the rail and the height stop on the front of the table.  It keeps the rail from wiggling back and forth on the long axis of the table.  It works great.

5.  I find it necessary to realign the squareness of the rail to the fence after changing heights.  I do this using a giant woodpecker's square and a dial indicator hung from a steel rail mounted to one of the 1400 router guides.  I can easily align to 0.002" over the entire width of the cut this way.  My cabinet parts come out square and stay that way until the height is changed.

6. The clamping elements that Festool sells are way too thick.   They work fine for 3/4" material, but are too thick for anything thinner.  I wouldn't buy them again.

7.  I took the legs off and built my own cart for the MFT.  Being able to roll it around the shop is very useful.  The cart has lots of drawers to store the clamps, dogs, sandpaper, saw, routers, and sanders.  I built the cart with 16 drawers and a shelf on the front right side that will hold either Festool track saw.  I opted for drawers rather than systainer shelves because I think the systainers are bulky, a pain to open, fiddly to pack and repack and pretty useless in a shop environment compared to properly sized drawers to fit the tool.  I could design the cart to fit way more tools by eliminating the systainers and putting them in the attic. 

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There were two important design criteria.

1. Length and width must be a couple mm's smaller than the length and width of the mft measured to the side rail faces. This is so you can clamp to the side rail faces as the picture shows.

2. The mft top should be a few mm's below the surface of my table saw. I also made it enough low so that if I fit it with stub legs to raise the wheels off the floor, it will still be slightly below the surface of the table saw. I think this ended up making the top just slightly higher than it was with the legs on it.

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By the way, before I built the cart, I spent a lot of time moving stuff from the mft top to the table saw and then back again. The drawers in the cart solved that problem. Both stay relatively clear. The back of the cart doesn't have the saw shelf so it has 9 drawers. Those drawers hold a lot. Systainer shelves would have ruined the storage capacity.

By removing the leg of the mft, I have access to the underside of the table. I also can use the top of the cart as a shelf when necessary.

The increased mobility due to the casters has been great.

My table saw is sort of like a contractors saw with left and right woodpeckers router tables and a an incra fence. It will be getting a similar cart.

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  • 4 weeks later...

HI too found the fence under the cross rail to be thicker than could accomodate thin ply..but I just took the fence from out under the rail..I butt it up to the railand have put a wood spacer there to keep thicker stuff butted up to the fence at the right location. I never did understand why the fence went under the rail in the first place..took up too much space /width..now I can cut any width that will stay on the table.

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