Author Topic: MFT squaring  (Read 3957 times)

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Offline Master Carpenter

  • Posts: 110
MFT squaring
« on: February 06, 2018, 12:24 PM »
How often is everyone checking their MFT guiderail for square? How often are you finding it needs adjustment?

I've had my MFT for 8 years and have never had to adjust the factory set stops, they've always been dead on. I pull a diagonal measurement every once in a while across panels coming off the table and they always seem good. My cabinets always come out square.

I seem to come across a lot of methods and tools for squaring the MFT, is it all a bunch of drama created to make us worry/spend money on a nonissue?

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Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3838
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2018, 01:15 PM »
I check mine at least once per day, but seldom have to adjust it.  There have been several threads on the "how to" aspects; one recently.  If you only cut one thickness of material, it will rarely go out of square, but if you change thicknesses frequently or square it low, then raise the rail, there is a much greater likelihood that it will go out of square, just from raising or lowering it. 
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 01:18 PM by Sparktrician »
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline duc996

  • Posts: 170
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2018, 01:35 PM »
I usually check the MFT for square each time before I begin a project. I know it seems a lot but, I have my MFT on a cart I built and I seem to grab the fence sometimes to move the cart around. I think it has gotten to be a habit now to check the MFT.  8)

Offline SoonerFan

  • Posts: 440
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2018, 09:59 PM »
Rarely do I find my MFT/3 out of square.  I check the cut more often when dry fitting than I do the actual table.  I probably check it at the start of a new project plus whenever I reinstall the fence. 

Offline Bohdan

  • Posts: 935
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2018, 01:02 AM »
If you adjust the height of your rail to suit the various thicknesses of material correctly it won't go out of square.

The correct proceedure is to put the material under the rail. Release both rail clamps and, while holding the rail down flat on the material, tighten the back clamp.

Now, while holding the rail down flat on the material, raise the front clamp so that the pin indexes the rail and the clamp is square against the rail, tighten the front clamp.

Your rail is now set at the correct height and should be square.

If the material is not wide enougth to reach from the fence to the front clamp you have to either move the material or use another piece of packing that is the same thickness.

Offline Trevin

  • Posts: 93
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2018, 02:20 AM »
@Sparktrician
Willy looks upset!  hala...... [smile]
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Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2750
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2018, 06:00 AM »
I check mine before starting a project. I use a Woodpecker framing square or their MFT special purpose square.

The only time it has been out of square is when one of the fasteners on the pivot loosened.

I’ll always make a test cut before cutting into the real stuff. I butt the top of the wood against Qwas dogs and my rail has the Slop Stop piece. The cuts come out square.
Birdhunter

Offline Don Ware

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  • Posts: 75
  • Anderson Plywood
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2018, 11:52 PM »
Don Ware
Anderson Plywood Sales
Culver City, California

Offline pixelated

  • Posts: 185
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2019, 02:30 PM »
I've just purchased an MFT, squaring the fence to the rail went fine, I'm satisfied with their squareness to each other. However, the fence and presumably the rail are a good bit off the dog holes.

Should I reset the stops and square everything to the hole pattern or not worry about it? Is there much advantage to having everything square to the dog holes? I have a set of short and tall Parf dogs that I can use for reference.


Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 564
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2019, 03:38 PM »
I've just purchased an MFT, squaring the fence to the rail went fine, I'm satisfied with their squareness to each other. However, the fence and presumably the rail are a good bit off the dog holes.

Should I reset the stops and square everything to the hole pattern or not worry about it? Is there much advantage to having everything square to the dog holes? I have a set of short and tall Parf dogs that I can use for reference.

There is no need to square to the dog holes unless you plan on using setup blocks and bench dogs for rail and fence setup. If you have the rail and fence square to each other and it's repeatable then you're good.
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2750
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2019, 04:00 PM »
I think this MFT squaring issue comes up about once a week and everyone seems to have a favorite method.

I never use the protractor. I square the track saw rail to the dog holes. I use the dog holes to position the wood thus I get square cuts. I use the Woodpecker framing square or the Woodpecker MFT square to obtain the dogs to rail squaring. Simple and reliable.
Birdhunter

Offline pixelated

  • Posts: 185
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2019, 09:11 PM »
Thank you @Birdhunter and @DynaGlide,
I ended up doing both, aligning the fence and rail to dog holes, then double checking with a square on the fence and rail.
If anyone is interested, two lengths of 20mm 80/20 side by side plus two Parf dogs put the rail within a few mm's of the factory position (but aligned with the holes).

Overkill, probably, but the OCD part of me won't be freaking at sight of the kerf running at a slight angle. [wink]

Offline charlie2054

  • Posts: 5
Re: MFT squaring using dogs.
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2019, 03:37 PM »
Can anyone comment about the absoluteness squareness of the hole pattern in the MFT? If it is square then it would seem best to use that as a square reference. The holes will automatically produce a 0 ,45 , and 90 degree angles by just using decent dogs.

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 1475
Re: MFT squaring using dogs.
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2019, 05:05 PM »
Can anyone comment about the absoluteness squareness of the hole pattern in the MFT?
Good enough, the better the more apart the holes you use are from each other.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: MFT squaring using dogs.
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2019, 06:33 PM »
Can anyone comment about the absoluteness squareness of the hole pattern in the MFT? If it is square then it would seem best to use that as a square reference. The holes will automatically produce a 0 ,45 , and 90 degree angles by just using decent dogs.

Many of us use the hole pattern with dogs and have great success.  BUT Festool has never marketed the MFT hole pattern as being a positioning aid for accurate 90 and 45 cuts.  It has always been for clamping or for stops to prevent sliding. 

Peter

Offline charlie2054

  • Posts: 5
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2019, 10:52 PM »
I just did a quick calculation. A .005” error in hole placement would result in A .01 degree angle error assuming the holes are 20” apart.
This is extremely good.
This assumes the track rails are perfectly aligned with the hole grid and stay that way as you raise and lower them.
That same error would be there whether you use the holes or something else as an alignment reference.
Anyone know why Festool does not recommend using these for alignment?

Offline Archman

  • Posts: 14
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2019, 11:37 AM »
Unfortunately I have not found mine to be very useful.  It will not stay calibrated if I move it so I wouldn’t trust it on any angle other than 90 or 45 since I can check those with a square.  If I square it to 90 and move the gauge to 45 it’s off.  Actually it goes off calibration if I move it anywhere other than where I check it. 

Offline charlie2054

  • Posts: 5
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2019, 12:46 PM »
Are you referring to the miter gauge, table, or the track itself?

Offline Archman

  • Posts: 14
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2019, 10:54 PM »
The table is great!  I love the clamping options and for 90 and 45 cuts I can just square the track to material against bench dogs one time and move the dogs around as desired.  Using the miter gauge/fence is inconsistent if I change the angle.  If I square it at 90 I can cut great 90s but if I move it to 45 (for example) it’s off of 45 degrees. I have to take out a square and loosen the adjustment on the gauge and get it set to 45.  If I move it again it’s off.  Again.

Offline charlie2054

  • Posts: 5
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2019, 01:12 PM »
Thanks for the clarification. Is this the MFT3 gauge?

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 5929
  • Festool Baby.....
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2019, 01:38 AM »
@Archman

When you adjust the angle stop for 90 be sure to loosen the 2 Allen screws set the fence at 90 to the rail. Use a couple of post it’s to make sure you’re making contact, tighten the adjustment knob once you at 90 set your indicator to 90 the tighten the 2 Allen screw. If you have to adjust at 45 no worries don’t loosen the 2 Allen screws. Then when you return the fence to 90 it should lock in the way you set it

Offline Archman

  • Posts: 14
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2019, 08:21 AM »
Thank you for the reply!  I do it just they way festool recommends and have tried other recommended options as well.  I live in a condo and don’t have a shop (the cheapest I’ve found is $500 for a shared small space with seemingly unreliable people) so I do every bit of my work on site.  I don’t really have time to mess with this system.  It is probably OK for a shop environment but even if it worked as advertised I don’t think it would be a good fit for me right now. 

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 5929
  • Festool Baby.....
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2019, 11:53 AM »
@Archman

another option for you would be to get TSO Products GRS w their parallel guide. Then you dont have to fool around setting up your MFT.

Pretty slick system

Offline Chris Cianci

  • Posts: 56
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2019, 01:11 PM »
I’ve got multiple MFTs and I use the Benchworks dogs  without the Festool miter gauge on an MFT and I also have the TSO system mentioned above as well for larger sheets or almost any size for quick accurate square cuts

Offline charlie2054

  • Posts: 5
Re: MFT squaring
« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2019, 03:06 PM »
So is safe to say the miter gauge is just not accurate at all angles? Seems like that would be easy to accomplish. Thanks to everyone for your help. This is a prepurchase question.