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TimberMagic 03-08-2014 05:03 AM

MFT-XL, a super-sized MFT-style bench
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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!

TahoeTwoBears 03-08-2014 12:56 PM

Re: MFT-XL, a super-sized MFT-style bench
Nicely done. Your shop certainly looks neat and tidy! Since you live in Ft. Collins you must spend time at the Woodcraft near you. It seems to be one of the nicer ones I've been in.

TimberMagic 03-08-2014 04:40 PM

Re: MFT-XL, a super-sized MFT-style bench

Thanks, I just put up that sheetrock in the background -- decided to try to fix up the bare walls and also throw a little color into the room.

My wife could probably give you a good estimate of how often I go to that Woodcraft! The new owners are great, always getting in some unusual woods, and having special offers for the customer.

There is a Rockler in Denver, and our youngest daughter lives next door to it. She sees us a lot more often than she used to ... :)

mazmes 03-11-2014 03:37 AM

Re: MFT-XL, a super-sized MFT-style bench
Very nice work. As a side note, that is a Ryobi BT3 table saw in the picture? I've had my BT for ten years and its still going strong. Great Ryobi site if you are interested BT3Central

TimberMagic 03-11-2014 04:24 AM

Re: MFT-XL, a super-sized MFT-style bench
Yes, that is a BT3100. A great little saw. I've had mine about 10 years, too. Until I bought it, I used a radial arm saw for everything. Now the RAS is for crosscutting, and the table saw for ripping. I bought the Festool track saw primarily for breaking down sheet goods. After getting the track saw, I decided the BT3100 would serve my table saw needs for awhile longer. A few months ago I put a Forrest 30 tooth rip blade on it, along with the stabilizer disk. I recently had to rip some 8/4 oak and it breezed thru it.

I've been a member of the BT3Central forum since I got the saw, which is a great site to get tips on getting the most out of a BT3000/3100 saw.

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