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Old 08-20-2008, 10:26 PM
PerSwenson's Avatar
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Default MFT3 Review for the Finish Carpenter

he Festool MFT grows up.
By Per Swenson

The new Festool MFT/3 addresses all the issues we have as commercial carpenters. In our business you don't make money when set up of tools is repetitive or time consuming.


Precision out of the box


The new MFT/3 is square out of the box and stays that way. This is due in part to the fence being attached to the outside rail, but also thanks to threaded inserts that keep the top square to the extrusions. Removing and reattaching the fence for set-ups, and different functions such as sanding, routing or lunch is fast, painless and foolproof.


No engineering degree needed here.





Enhanced fence system


A little more about the improved fence system.


The 1080 had a 90-degree arc of movement and was found to be wanting in a number of instances.


The new fence swings 180 degrees with positive stops and 1/4 degree readability in between the lines. Also, I am now able to attach the fence on any of the 4 sides. The new fence sets up right to the edge of the table, increasing the available work area.


The fence can be used flat or vertically, leaving you with options too numerous to count.







Portability is a must


Although the MFT/3’s 15% weight reduction over the 1080 is a plus, portability is still defined by being able to move this table from room to room and job to job and by being able to instantly set up to square.


Festool lives up to its faster motto here.

Last edited by PerSwenson; 08-20-2008 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 08-20-2008, 10:27 PM
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Default Re: MFT3 Review for the Finish Carpenter

Improved work height


The uncomfortable carpenter is a cranky carpenter. Cranky carpenters spend more time moaning then actually working. I know.


All of the high end cabinet maker’s benches, Sjobergs, Lie Nielson, even Frank Klausz's bench, are 35 ” to 36” in height. The MFT/3 = 35 1/2”.Everyone calls this the ideal height. Ergonomically, I suppose it is for the individual who is 5’8” to 6’2”. That includes us, but it is also the same height, give or take a half an inch, of every kitchen counter top in America. Consider that for logistics and set-up.


Should you find it necessary, the table works with the legs folded, giving you a height of 7’ ”, which is perfect for flooring installs. I cannot comment with experience on this height since any position besides standing on your feet, we consider slacking.


A note to Festool engineers, my back and my family's ears thank you.



Clampman’s dream


As for clamping, those familiar with the 1080 know these tables are a clampman’s dream. Those not familiar with the system, it's like this; you can clamp anything, anywhere. Clamp it down, clamp it together, only your imagination is a barrier here.


The MFT/3 does have one little improvement in the clamping department. The extrusions are wider at the base to allow secure edge clamping. You couldn't do this on the earlier model MFT 1080.


We also find that this Festool quick clamp lives up to its name.






Often on the job, we are forced to use any surface available for clamping tasks, or we find ourselves a clamp short and resort to screwing parts to a makeshift plywood bench. All of this is overcome when you take advantage of the 3 different types of Festool clamps and the clamping elements. Festool designed clamps specifically for the MFT/3 and they all function as part of the overall system.


Here we are able to easily clamp a scribed panel vertical to sand for fit against a wall.


Last edited by PerSwenson; 08-20-2008 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 08-20-2008, 10:27 PM
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Default Re: MFT3 Review for the Finish Carpenter

Please take notice of the stabilizer arms in the shot above. When considering this table, I had no intention to add these. As far as I was concerned the MFT/3 was stable enough. That was until my father and partner, Bob exclaimed, “What’s wrong with you? Just get them.” So we did and no regrets, rock solid when horizontal force is applied.


Here is Bob again with a milled piece for another kitchen, with both the clamping elements and large Festool screw clamps in use. In this instance, where precision really counts, a baluster is held securely for mortising by both the clamping elements and the Festool quick clamp.


My first cynical reaction to the clamping elements, “Ok and what are these going to hold?” The startling answer is just about anything. Securely.


Versatility is a big deal


Doors are a staple of the finish carpenters life.


Most of us have home-built stands for door work. Invariably, they evolve into wheeled contraptions for holding doors vertically for hinging, lock mortising and repair. The one I built, complete with tool holders, weighs just as much if not more than the MFT/3, is twice as awkward and half as pretty… errr…professional looking.


Last edited by PerSwenson; 08-20-2008 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 08-20-2008, 10:28 PM
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Default Re: MFT3 Review for the Finish Carpenter



To consolidate this operation into one unit, I zip-tied a clamp to the leg of the MFT/3 (see picture), and added a small piece of pipe insulation to protect the edge of the door.


Note to Festool engineers: You saw it here first.











So we can now do this


More steps saved, which makes work so much easier. Remember, we are already set up with a CT22 dust extractor, hose and power.







Last edited by PerSwenson; 08-20-2008 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 08-20-2008, 10:29 PM
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Default Re: MFT3 Review for the Finish Carpenter

Part of a system


Where the new MFT really shines though, is in the 27” cross cut capacity. That is what Festool advertises, but when you turn the table 90 degrees and attach your 1400/55” guide rail, (which comes with the TS55 saw), the cutting capacity is actually 43 inches.


Everybody wants 16” shelves today, and you know a miter saw has its limits - about 12” (okay, 24” when you flip your panel, but this does not always work perfectly). So now I have table saw accuracy on the job, for kitchen cabinet installs, bathroom vanities, pesky filler strips, and Madam's custom closets.


Also, we often do a lot of Formica/laminate work. The TS55 with the splitter guard installed, combined with the accuracy of this table is ideal for double-cutting laminate for a close to perfect seam.




Each piece of the system makes you more efficient


One other important item I seem to be leaving out – dust. Working dustless with the TS55, right there in the room of the install. No more setting up on the deck or driveway or sending another Swenson to the shop for that special part. No more calling the day on account of rain because the house is carpeted and finished.


Speaking of the other Swensons - we have no trouble allowing our carpenter-in-training full use of the table while getting precise results from his efforts.


Every man easily trained and every step saved is money in the bank.


Look at this in a business sense. When you’re installing in a customer’s house, where the family is living, eating and sleeping while your work is in progress. Working clean, neat, and dustless will do more for your reputation and word-of-mouth referrals then any combination of salesmanship or price.






Summing it up


Our biggest problem in writing this review is that there is just so much this new table is capable of. Of course Festool calls it the multifunction table, but just what exactly does that mean? When I first heard the term, I thought Festool made a calculator.


10 years ago if you had tried to sell me a table with a bunch of holes in it, I would have snickered and questioned your sobriety.


I know, look at us now.


We could go on and on and there are other great resources out there, which cover this table extensively. John Lucas at www.woodshopdemos.com , Jerry Work’s manual http://jerrywork.com/ , and the various woodworking forums.


The MFT/3 is great for fine woodworking in the shop, sure… But just as much, this table belongs in the bread and butter finish carpenters arsenal. So, yes, we will take this table on the job with no reservations.
The 1080?It will stay comfortable just where it is.

Per Swenson
Swenson & Swenson
www.swensonz.com

Last edited by PerSwenson; 08-20-2008 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 08-20-2008, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: MFT3 Review for the Finish Carpenter

Per, that is the most inspiring and informative review I have ever seen. You really put your whole heart into, didn't ya?
Quote:
Originally Posted by PerSwenson View Post
I have been having issues
Ya think?!?!


Yeah, I know. I am really going to look like a fool when you start putting the actual content in.

Last edited by RickChristopherson; 08-20-2008 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 08-20-2008, 10:56 PM
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Default Re: MFT3 Review for the Finish Carpenter

Quote:
Originally Posted by PerSwenson View Post
...

Should be up as soon as ma man Ned gives me a hand.
...
No pressure or anything, right?

It's gonna be Monday or Tuesday, guys.

Ned
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Old 08-20-2008, 11:23 PM
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Default Re: MFT3 Review for the Finish Carpenter

vouloir c'est pouvoir, Ned,

vouloir c'est pouvoir

Per


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Old 08-20-2008, 11:36 PM
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Default Re: MFT3 Review for the Finish Carpenter

Very Nice Per

How's that "hand held shaper" work'n out for ya?

Scott W.
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Old 08-20-2008, 11:48 PM
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Default Re: MFT3 Review for the Finish Carpenter

Thanks Scott,

Ahh the Hand held shaper,

I milled a whole load of lumber for the review,
then it got busy around here. I need to think
like that guy with nothing to heat his home but wood.
This winter I predict will be a Beech.

As soon as I feel secure enough to keep the lights on, we will
spin that sucka up. I promise.

Per
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