Author Topic: MFT/3 Square Issues  (Read 3986 times)

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Offline H532P

  • Posts: 10
MFT/3 Square Issues
« on: February 07, 2021, 02:17 AM »
Hello!

I am fairly new to the MFT/3, and recently noticed an issue that’s bugging me and would appreciate your insight!

When making cuts, especially those that are 20in in length or greater, it appears that 1mm of additional wood is removed at the bottom of the cut than the top, near the fence. The top corner, where the cut is made, is square after the first cut, but as the wood piece is rotated and pushed against the fence to make another cut, it becomes wonky as 1 mm is removed every cut near the bottom.

24 second video showing what happens at 0 degrees:https://youtu.be/bpI9mFtaQ5g

I have tried making adjustments to the fence (changing from 0 degrees to 1 degree) and it solves the issue, however the cut is no longer square at the top corner.

25 second video showing what happens at 1 degree:https://youtu.be/yFceETBhk1o

The setup of the MFT/3 was done exactly as described by Festool in their videos. The fence and rail are squared prior to each use with a large speed square. Components used are from factory box, no additional tools or jigs are utilized. There is no “slop” in the rail either (I am aware many utilize a slop stop, it’s doesn’t appear to be that issue).

What do you recommend? Has anyone else experienced this issue?


« Last Edit: February 07, 2021, 02:24 AM by H532P »

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Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 1430
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2021, 06:13 AM »
Check your square first. Mark a line on a board, flip the square and mark another line. They should be parallel.

Instagram @matts.garage

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3816
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2021, 06:18 AM »
My MFT technique is to place two dogs at the top of the MFT and drop the rail. I butt a Woodpecker framing square against the rail and the two dogs. This verifies the rail is square to the two dogs.

I then lift the rail, butt the wood against the two dogs, and drop the rail. I lock down the rail. If it’s a critical cut, I’ll check squareness again with the Woodpecker framing square.

I do use a SlopStop.

I have found both of my Home Depot big squares to be slightly not square. That’s not unusual. The Woodpecker framing square is dead on square.

From reading your post, I’d question the accuracy of your square, I’d also look to see if you were exerting any lateral pressure on the saw while cutting.
Birdhunter

Offline afish

  • Posts: 1299
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2021, 07:35 AM »
We recently had a similar thread about MFT/square issues I would recommend reading through it.  you are not alone.  I am not a fan of dogs (for cutting) unless they are used to locate a "solid" fence and the festool hinge has seemed to be a problem area the fact you have a slop stop is good start.  I agree with Dynaglide marking and flipping 180° is a quick and accurate way to check for square.  I like to lay down a length of blue or green painters tape (for high contrast helps my eyes pick up any variance easier) then take a razor knife and cut the tape along the square and peel away the cuts what you are left with is how much your square is out.  As pictured below. Oh and just fyi the drafting triangles are NOT square

https://www.festoolownersgroup.com/other-tools-accessories/mft3-fence-and-square-tso-grs-16-pe/327150-0

Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2021, 09:01 AM »
@H532P, I would double check that the narrow stock you're using is in fact square. Also, it's rather hard to keep such a narrow stock held firmly against the stop ruler and have it remain square through a cut (the more reference contact the better). I have many videos on my YouTube channel on how to square the MFT/3. I would encourage you to look up Festool USA's method for squaring just the stop ruler and miter to the guide rail (opposite of my method, and might be better in correcting your error).

Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 2076
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2021, 09:40 AM »
My first recommendation is to get a square to check squareness that you are sure is really square.

My second recommendation is to buy and install the SlopStop. This reduces the play of the track on the tab that fits into the underside of the track.

If you haven't watched a video from one of the Festool classes which shows the easiest way to square and adjust the track, then do that. I believe there is one out there with Brian Sedgely. I think his is the best.

I do think that, to be sure, checking the squareness each time you are at the point of making final cuts to size of your parts is a good idea as I bump the track sometimes during other work inn the shop.

I know there are various ways of squaring the track to the fence, some more complicated than others, some requiring dogs, but I have found that using an accurate square, the SlopStop, and squaring just before final crosscuts is the best way to ensure squareness and I never have problems anymore. The method of squaring demonstrated in Festool classes is the easiest and quickest way to square it.
Randy

Offline H532P

  • Posts: 10
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2021, 01:25 PM »
@H532P, I would double check that the narrow stock you're using is in fact square. Also, it's rather hard to keep such a narrow stock held firmly against the stop ruler and have it remain square through a cut (the more reference contact the better). I have many videos on my YouTube channel on how to square the MFT/3. I would encourage you to look up Festool USA's method for squaring just the stop ruler and miter to the guide rail (opposite of my method, and might be better in correcting your error).

@BenMarshallDesigns Thank you very much for the reply! I have watched your videos and I really enjoy them. I have not tried your technique using the TS55 as the “square” because I am initially hesitant to mess up the factory placed stops. Perhaps I should try it at this point...

Also, isn’t the point of cutting on the MFT to square the stock itself?

Thank you for the reply and help, I appreciate it very much. Keep up the helpful videos! I’m a subscriber!

Offline H532P

  • Posts: 10
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2021, 01:26 PM »
My MFT technique is to place two dogs at the top of the MFT and drop the rail. I butt a Woodpecker framing square against the rail and the two dogs. This verifies the rail is square to the two dogs.

I then lift the rail, butt the wood against the two dogs, and drop the rail. I lock down the rail. If it’s a critical cut, I’ll check squareness again with the Woodpecker framing square.

I do use a SlopStop.

I have found both of my Home Depot big squares to be slightly not square. That’s not unusual. The Woodpecker framing square is dead on square.

From reading your post, I’d question the accuracy of your square, I’d also look to see if you were exerting any lateral pressure on the saw while cutting.

Thank you very much for the reply and ideas. How do you use the Festool protractor then to cut stock at angles?

Which Woodpecker framing square do you use with your MFT?

Offline H532P

  • Posts: 10
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2021, 01:31 PM »
We recently had a similar thread about MFT/square issues I would recommend reading through it.  you are not alone.  I am not a fan of dogs (for cutting) unless they are used to locate a "solid" fence and the festool hinge has seemed to be a problem area the fact you have a slop stop is good start.  I agree with Dynaglide marking and flipping 180° is a quick and accurate way to check for square.  I like to lay down a length of blue or green painters tape (for high contrast helps my eyes pick up any variance easier) then take a razor knife and cut the tape along the square and peel away the cuts what you are left with is how much your square is out.  As pictured below. Oh and just fyi the drafting triangles are NOT square

https://www.festoolownersgroup.com/other-tools-accessories/mft3-fence-and-square-tso-grs-16-pe/ (Attachment Link)

That’s a really good idea to check the square accuracy, thank you.

Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 1362
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2021, 02:43 PM »
Thank you very much for the reply and ideas. How do you use the Festool protractor then to cut stock at angles?

Which Woodpecker framing square do you use with your MFT?
I gave the Festool fence to one of my friends to use, and have never used the protractor. *shrugs*

When I first bought my Woodpeckers framing squares they only offered aluminum. Today they offer stainless and at some point I may upgrade. I have the smaller 12" and metric stainless squares and they are awesome.
https://www.woodpeck.com/stainless-steel-squares-2616ss-1812ss.html

There are a lot of ways to square up your rail. I do it differently than most, so just find a system that works for you, but all of them pretty much require a good square to verify accuracy.

Offline H532P

  • Posts: 10
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2021, 03:01 PM »
Thank you very much for the reply and ideas. How do you use the Festool protractor then to cut stock at angles?

Which Woodpecker framing square do you use with your MFT?
I gave the Festool fence to one of my friends to use, and have never used the protractor. *shrugs*

When I first bought my Woodpeckers framing squares they only offered aluminum. Today they offer stainless and at some point I may upgrade. I have the smaller 12" and metric stainless squares and they are awesome.
https://www.woodpeck.com/stainless-steel-squares-2616ss-1812ss.html

There are a lot of ways to square up your rail. I do it differently than most, so just find a system that works for you, but all of them pretty much require a good square to verify accuracy.

Okay, thank you. I was curious if 12 inches was enough to accurately square. Thank you for the link!

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3816
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2021, 03:05 PM »
I’ve never used the protractor.  My cutting angles are almost always 90 or 45. I can use the dog technique for both. Also, you can set the dogs for common angles using various hole locations.
Birdhunter

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3816
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2021, 03:10 PM »
Also meant to add that the Woodpecker framing square is 26” by 16”. If you can find one, it is a great lifetime tool.
Birdhunter

Offline H532P

  • Posts: 10
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2021, 03:17 PM »
I’ve never used the protractor.  My cutting angles are almost always 90 or 45. I can use the dog technique for both. Also, you can set the dogs for common angles using various hole locations.

Which dogs do you use? I need a set.

Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 1362
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2021, 03:22 PM »
Okay, thank you. I was curious if 12 inches was enough to accurately square. Thank you for the link!
To be clear I DO NOT use the 12" square for setting up the MFT, as I use a 26" square. 12" just isn't long enough. I specifically linked to the 26" square (Which does list the 18" square also). Although it doesn't appear the 26" is available direct from WP until May, there may be another store that has one in stock. They do have the metric version in stock.

Another option is the TSO triangle.

I purchased Precision dogs myself and have been happy with them. Hole tolerances are pretty tight. They also offer a clamp base for the Kreg type hold down clamps and I love those! Since I have the long reach clamps they must be screwed down from the underside, or they will jack the holes up. Precision also offers fence clamps which many like.

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3816
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2021, 05:50 PM »
I have Qwas dogs and Parf dogs. As long as the dogs fit tightly in the MFT holes, it doesn’t matter what kind. The Parf dogs have a wide variety of dogs. All are very well made.
Birdhunter

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 6889
  • Festool Baby.....
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2021, 10:55 AM »
is your flag stop moving, Got to be gentle when ya place the material to the stop

Offline H532P

  • Posts: 10
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2021, 01:58 AM »
is your flag stop moving, Got to be gentle when ya place the material to the stop

It’s rock solid, I tend to check everything three times and am very careful.

Quick update on what I’ve done, based on all of your feedback:

1. I purchased a 26” SS Woodpeckers framing square. This helped a tiny bit when squaring the rail to the fence.

2. I’ve been pressing down the rail with my left hand when making cuts, this has seemed to help some.

3. I spoke with Eric at Festool phone support. He wasn’t that helpful, to be honest, but did say all stock should be clamped before cutting. Do ya’ll do this?

4. He said you should never use the MFT/3 when cutting wood that’s thinner than the rail and can’t be clamped. That seems a little extreme with all the videos showing you can make thin cuts on the MFT/3.

5. Slop stop just arrived and I’ll be installing tomorrow.

The latest tips above have shown some help, but it’s still 1mm or less off when cutting anything 20” long. Some large pieces (say, 20” x 20” are also slightly off-square even when squaring the fence and rail with the Woodpeckers 26” frame.

I will do more testing when I get back home tomorrow, but wanted to provide an update. I do appreciate all of your help, feedback, ideas and experiences.


Offline H532P

  • Posts: 10
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2021, 02:01 AM »
@H532P, I would double check that the narrow stock you're using is in fact square. Also, it's rather hard to keep such a narrow stock held firmly against the stop ruler and have it remain square through a cut (the more reference contact the better). I have many videos on my YouTube channel on how to square the MFT/3. I would encourage you to look up Festool USA's method for squaring just the stop ruler and miter to the guide rail (opposite of my method, and might be better in correcting your error).

@BenMarshallDesigns Thank you very much for the reply! I have watched your videos and I really enjoy them. I have not tried your technique using the TS55 as the “square” because I am initially hesitant to mess up the factory placed stops. Perhaps I should try it at this point...

Also, isn’t the point of cutting on the MFT to square the stock itself?

Thank you for the reply and help, I appreciate it very much. Keep up the helpful videos! I’m a subscriber!

@BenMarshallDesigns Are you really able to cut perfectly square cuts with no issues on thin stock (think 2 inches wide) and 20+ inches long? You’re not seeing any cuts that are 1mm off at that length?

Offline jeffinsgf

  • Retailer
  • *
  • Posts: 490
  • Woodpeckers Marketing Department
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2021, 07:52 AM »
Not sure what you're trying to accomplish, but squaring off the short end of a piece to cut the long edge isn't going to work. Your reference is too short compared to the cut length.

If you're trying to rip that stock narrower, look at techniques that use the parallel edge as your reference, not the end. If the stock is narrower than the guide rail, use spacers.

 

Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2021, 11:37 AM »
@H532P, I would double check that the narrow stock you're using is in fact square. Also, it's rather hard to keep such a narrow stock held firmly against the stop ruler and have it remain square through a cut (the more reference contact the better). I have many videos on my YouTube channel on how to square the MFT/3. I would encourage you to look up Festool USA's method for squaring just the stop ruler and miter to the guide rail (opposite of my method, and might be better in correcting your error).


@BenMarshallDesigns Thank you very much for the reply! I have watched your videos and I really enjoy them. I have not tried your technique using the TS55 as the “square” because I am initially hesitant to mess up the factory placed stops. Perhaps I should try it at this point...

Also, isn’t the point of cutting on the MFT to square the stock itself?

Thank you for the reply and help, I appreciate it very much. Keep up the helpful videos! I’m a subscriber!

@BenMarshallDesigns Are you really able to cut perfectly square cuts with no issues on thin stock (think 2 inches wide) and 20+ inches long? You’re not seeing any cuts that are 1mm off at that length?

Yes, I get really good results with my MFT/3. Took me a while to dial it in, but I've got it super accurate now. I've got a video on my channel on how to rip thin stock with the MFT/3

Offline Andrew Wilkerson

  • Retailer
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2022, 11:59 PM »
Like you guys I was hesitant to move my guide rail on the MFT.  The presets get it close, but when you are counting on the cut to be a reference edge of other cuts, close is not good enough.  Like many of you, I would square it up using a Woodpecker's square and Sedges paper trick. Then I wouldn't move it because I didn't want to go through the hassle of squaring it back up. 

I got fed up one day and created the MFT Insta-Square.  It locks into the top grove on the MFT guide rail and squares it to the track.  Takes about 5 seconds to square up (video link) so I never worry about moving my MFT fence now.   [big grin]

Shameless product plug image!




Grab one here. 

Andy Wilkerson
Black Raptor Tools

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 6889
  • Festool Baby.....
Re: MFT/3 Square Issues
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2022, 01:03 PM »
Im not going to get into the ins and outs of squaring a. MFT, Festool Live on you tube did a complete episode on the MFT w extensive demonstration and explanation on squaring it.

Only thing I would add to the festool live demo, is something I learned from Allan Kensley recently.

 When tightening up the guide rail brackets (what holds the guide rail to the MFT) Push it against the stops when tightening them.

 It ensures repeatability as they will move slightly when tightening the brackets the rail.

Same with raising and lowering the rail it will ensure repeatability.

To cut thin stock adj the fence by rotating it 180 for thick material and use a sacrificial piece of material under the thin stock.

And the fence stop does have some flex in it.

 which is why I mentioned the flexing of the stop when you place the material against the stop ensure it isnt flexing.

Not the stop itself moving but the metal L piece of the stop does flex and will flex so pay attention to it when setting the material against it.

OH when using your square against the fence when squaring, take some business cards or post its (same thickness) and butt them up to the fence inbetween your square and fence. you  dont need business cards / post its between the rail and square.

 Hope this helps.

« Last Edit: April 03, 2022, 01:13 PM by jobsworth »