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Old 03-08-2014, 05:03 AM
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TimberMagic TimberMagic is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Posts: 57
Default MFT-XL, a super-sized MFT-style bench

I just joined talkFestool. In my "intro" post, I mentioned I built my own MFT-style workbench (and then bought a TS 55 REQ). Here is a picture, and a little background.

First, I have a small shop, it is in my basement, and so every square foot counts. I lived with a contractor-style table saw, and used a roller stand for outfeed. Simply put -- I hated it. Hard to set to avoid periodic tipping, and completely inadequate to handle breaking down sheet goods. I was going to buy a SawStop, and make an outfeed table. Then I saw some videos about using a track saw. Did more digging, and found Ron Paulk's videos on his Ultimate Workbench. It got me thinking that this was the way to go. I was going to build it, but decided that a lot of design intent was for portability, and I didn't need that. So I decided to build a simple workbench, and add my own CNC'd MDF top.

I was doing some product development work in a friend's small shop, which includesa full-sized ShopBot prsAlpha, capable of handling 4X8 sheets, and then some. I settled on 36"X84", since a full sheet would be a little tight in my shop. The frame was designed with simplicity in mind. Legs are 4X4s, and all framework is 2X4s. This was an experiment, so no fancy hardwoods on this project. I used a Kreg pocket hole jig for joining all frame pieces. (I would have liked to try a Domino, but I didn't even have a track saw yet!) I was surprised at how strong, and rigid, this bench is. The top is secured with Z-clips for table tops. I actually dusted off my biscuit joiner to cut slots in the frame for the clips, which are them screwed to the top. The biggest advantage to these is that there are no screws on the top surface to potentially catch a blade, although I do use sacrificial pieces to avoid cutting the top, similar to the method Ron Paulk uses.

I chose 20mm holes to be compatible with Festool and other 3rd party accessories. But I chose hole spacing of 4", rather than the MFT/3's 96mm hole spacing, since that really was not a critical measurement for me, and 4" spacing worked out evenly for the overall dimensions. The holes were milled with a 1/2" spiral upcut bit. A test hole was milled to check fit of a Qwas dog, and was then tweaked it a little since it felt just a tiny bit loose. By the 3rd test hole, the fit was a smooth slip fit.

I did not buy the Festool MFT accessories, instead choosing to use rail dogs and bench dogs with the guide rails. I have since purchased Parf Dogs from Lee Valley, and they fit equally well. The attached picture was shot right after I got the track saw in November. Since then I have started on the addition of a vise on the near end. Also, as you can see, the workbench height was set to allow its use as an outfeed table for my table saw. The only other additions will be some skirting around the top for addition of track to hold Festool clamps, and a shelf under the top, to allow for tool storage, similar to the Paulk workbench. I have not decided if I will add any storage for Systainers, or put those in a separate storage cabinet.

The design is not elegant, but it is sturdy, functional, and above all, was easy to build... and cheap!
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