Author Topic: What’s my best option?  (Read 3902 times)

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Offline ferntree

  • Posts: 16
What’s my best option?
« on: July 26, 2022, 04:14 PM »
I’ve been trying to build some cabinets but . . .

When I set up the MFT, the compass seems to not hold the zero well enough. If I use benchdogs to hold the fence to eliminate the compass , I see the dog holes aren’t perfectly in line so if I square the rail to holes they aren’t square to the fence using holes.

I got a GRS and learned my rails don’t have straight backs. So I have to search the spines for a straight section and shim the GRS with foil to get it square. I built 2 cabinets using this 1080 rail and the GRS and realized why the MFT is nice to get the track saw cut mark on the same spot on the MFT instead of the 30 differently spaced cut marks all across my MFT top as I now have.

Is my best option to opt for dashboard hinges and use the TSO GRS to square the rail to the dog holed fence? Knowing the fence isn’t perpendicular to the extrusions the hinges are on? I would like to keep the festool MFT ecosystem rather than just cut on top of foam.

I bought the woodpecker MFT top layout jig but am not sure if I will be any more precise than festool was when they made their top. I looked up the tolerances from a local cnnc shop to see but their tolerances are worse than how far I’m out of square.



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Offline tsmi243

  • Posts: 275
Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2022, 04:26 PM »
Before you spend any more-

Find a kitchen showroom, and go look really closely at the cabinet joints. 

You may find that the human eye and fingertip can detect discrepancies that are not worth fixing.  You may also find that achieving a truly perfect joint may be harder than just housing them in dados for a perfect look.

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 1667
Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2022, 07:49 PM »
I can be done with dogs, as long as the holes are accurate. As I understand it, Festool doesn't guarantee the squareness of the grid, so trying to get there with a factory made MFT my turn into an exercise in frustration. I'm not entirely sure that an MFT3 is big enough anyway?
The Parf-guide system from Axminster tools has worked out very well for me. It's a bit spendy up front, especially considering that you still have to do all of the work, but it is infinitely reusable. You can then make custom sized tables yourself.
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Offline ferntree

  • Posts: 16
Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2022, 08:30 PM »
Before you spend any more-

Find a kitchen showroom, and go look really closely at the cabinet joints. 

You may find that the human eye and fingertip can detect discrepancies that are not worth fixing.  You may also find that achieving a truly perfect joint may be harder than just housing them in dados for a perfect look.

Funny you mention that. The guys at woodcraft told me to put the feeler gauges away lol. The first hanging cabinets I made are not square. But they hang on the wall and hold my stuff. Thankfully the tight domino setting aligned the fronts so you can’t tell they aren’t square.

I guess I have dreams of making 4 cabinet sides from a sheet of plywood, stacking them on top of each other and feeling around and matching all 4 corners perfectly. . .

Offline squall_line

  • Posts: 1465
Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2022, 08:37 PM »
I guess I have dreams of making 4 cabinet sides from a sheet of plywood, stacking them on top of each other and feeling around and matching all 4 corners perfectly. . .

If that's your goal, you're already at least part of the way there, IMHO; caring enough to want to do a good job is one of the better starting points for actually doing a good job.

Offline ferntree

  • Posts: 16
Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2022, 08:42 PM »
I guess I have dreams of making 4 cabinet sides from a sheet of plywood, stacking them on top of each other and feeling around and matching all 4 corners perfectly. . .

If that's your goal, you're already at least part of the way there, IMHO; caring enough to want to do a good job is one of the better starting points for actually doing a good job.

I know it’s a process to get there and I am figuring out my “system.” If I could find a repeatable stop to butt my GRS equipped guiderail to I think I would be set.

I emailed dashboard to see his thoughts.

Offline ChuckS

  • Posts: 3712
Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2022, 08:48 PM »

If that's your goal, you're already at least part of the way there, IMHO; caring enough to want to do a good job is one of the better starting points for actually doing a good job.

I agree. We all have different degrees of tolerance, but trying to end up with things that are straight, flat and square is the foundation to proper woodworking. Once you accept 1/32" off here, 1* off there and out-of-squareness as normal, things start to get downhill. Not everything needs to be perfect, but if you can't get things right even once given your set-up, it'll be difficult to do so when the job calls for "perfection."

Offline tsmi243

  • Posts: 275
Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2022, 09:33 PM »


Once you accept 1/32" off here, 1* off there and out-of-squareness as normal, things start to get downhill.

My point was, you can see and feel a LOT less then 1/32".  Even machine shops don't do "perfect"- all processes have a tolerance, so be sure that what you're chasing is actually worth the pursuit.   It might be smaller than it looks.

You also need to *install* these cabinets somewhere.....  [scratch chin]

Offline ChuckS

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Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2022, 09:39 PM »

My point was, you can see and feel a LOT less then 1/32".  Even machine shops don't do "perfect"- all processes have a tolerance, so be sure that what you're chasing is actually worth the pursuit.   It might be smaller than it looks.

You also need to *install* these cabinets somewhere.....  [scratch chin]
Obviously. 1/32" I quoted is an example. Many woodworkers even consider a variance of 1/64" too much. As for installation, I always take care of the carcase first, and whether the wall is flat or square or not (it usually isn't) is not a factor in my consideration when building things (meant to be hung).
« Last Edit: July 26, 2022, 09:42 PM by ChuckS »

Offline jeffinsgf

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Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2022, 03:22 PM »
Ferntree,

Just going back to basics. When you mentioned your MFT, you said the "compass" wouldn't hold zero. It was never meant to do so by itself. There's a black plastic clamp that fits into the back of the back fence and the top of the table edge extrusion. It has to be locked down in addition to the lock on the protractor to keep the back fence stationary. That is always my last step in setting up the MFT. I set the guide rail straight across the table, place a square between the guide rail and the back fence. Get them close and lock the protractor. Verify that everything is where it is supposed to be and then lock the end clamp. The only time I have ever experienced a problem with out of square cuts is when I tried to rush a job and skip the end clamp. Once was enough.

Offline Jeff Zanin

  • Posts: 303
Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2022, 03:45 PM »
Even with a perfectly straight rail, fence, square, protractor, etc. there can be slop between the saw base and the rail if not adjusted properly, and this can be amplified by cutting technique that allows the saw to "wander" as it is pushed through the cut.  The hose / bag / cord can also snag and contribute to cutting errors. 

The MFT / rail / saw / human arm is a portable system with discrete components, it is not a CNC, it is not even a table saw, and it will not reliably produce the results that such machines produce. 

The question is, does the MFT / rail / saw / human arm produce results that are suitable for what they are being used for, given proper technique? 

As much as I would enjoy cuts that are within .001" over 8' I don't find this to be necessary for most woodworking projects.

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 1667
Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2022, 06:34 PM »
I guess I have dreams of making 4 cabinet sides from a sheet of plywood, stacking them on top of each other and feeling around and matching all 4 corners perfectly. . .

If that's your goal, you're already at least part of the way there, IMHO; caring enough to want to do a good job is one of the better starting points for actually doing a good job.

Agreed, the intent to get things right is more than you will get from a lot of people.
If you really want to cut things like cabinet sides to all be perfectly equal everywhere, there is a fairly foolproof way. Carefully cut yourself a "standard" which will be used to match all of the rest. Then cut your other parts 1/8" (or so) over-sized and flush trim them with a router. This will be a little slower and potentially more messy, but dead accurate.
As stated before though, this level of precision is not necessarily required for upper cabinet carcasses. They really only need to meet/match/flush on the front edges. The variance would be forced to the back, where it will never be seen.

The point is to put your effort to the places where it matters most. This usually means the most visible or the fit of parts that are structural.
As most of the more regular members here know, I build very large reception desks and similar items in a large cabinet shop. In that work, there are things that must be very precise and other that don't really matter at all. We jokingly refer to those things as "builder's choice".  Details like the interior access panels are shown on the shop drawings in what amounts to a "suggestion". They are there, but no dimensions are given. No one really cares, they just need to be there to be able to attach the sections to the floor and provide access for wiring.
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ETS EC 125
RAS115
ETS 125 (2)
TS75
Shaper Origin/Workstation
MFT clamps set

Offline Mini Me

  • Posts: 252
Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2022, 10:15 PM »
I would get the supplier to cut the panels and edge band them as needed, it saves handling, transporting, storing and trying to get accurate cuts and sometimes failing. 

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3865
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2022, 06:20 AM »
I get perfect (within any measurement system I own) using the MFT, 2 dogs, TS55, and the Woodpecker framing square.

I use two dogs across the top of the MFT, butt the square against the two dogs, drop the rail, and ensure the rail is square against the rail. It always seems to be. Remove the square and raise the rail.

I butt the wood against the two dogs, drop the rail, check using the square, and cut. If the board is very long, I will use more dogs.

Of course, this method only works with straight material.

I've never used the MFT protractor or any of the other MFT pieces except for the drop down rail.  I did install the little SlopStop gadget to better stabilize the rail.


Birdhunter

Offline ferntree

  • Posts: 16
Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2022, 11:49 PM »
Ferntree,

Just going back to basics. When you mentioned your MFT, you said the "compass" wouldn't hold zero. It was never meant to do so by itself. There's a black plastic clamp that fits into the back of the back fence and the top of the table edge extrusion. It has to be locked down in addition to the lock on the protractor to keep the back fence stationary. That is always my last step in setting up the MFT. I set the guide rail straight across the table, place a square between the guide rail and the back fence. Get them close and lock the protractor. Verify that everything is where it is supposed to be and then lock the end clamp. The only time I have ever experienced a problem with out of square cuts is when I tried to rush a job and skip the end clamp. Once was enough.

I know what you mean but I would tap my mft assembly square against the rail and slide it down to the fence and check with a .001” feeler gauge. If a very gentle tap causes that much deflection something is amiss.

I experimented with where I put the compass on the fence to minimize the deflection on the far end. I think I had it too far in the middle allowing deflection in both directions instead of the one direction that is counteracted by the deflection stop.

I like the idea of flush cutting with the router. I might try that to increase my router skills. This is a new hobby for me so saving time isn’t an issue. But after making and hanging my first two wall cabinets, I see how the squareness doesn’t contribute to how it looks when you get the faces butted next to each other (thank you domino tight front and loose rear setting.)

So far using the GRS gets me acceptable cuts. I haven’t had much luck with the dogs as a fence, fence dogs attached to the Festool fence or the benchdogsuk fence, or the OEM MFT3 components. I received my dashboard hinges and will try to get some 5 cut numbers this weekend.  Next project is bedroom closet system.



Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 9880
Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2022, 12:29 AM »
So far using the GRS gets me acceptable cuts. I haven’t had much luck with the dogs as a fence, fence dogs attached to the Festool fence or the bench dog suk fence, or the OEM MFT3 components.

The GRS works well for me, it's my go-to rail guide. Relying on using dogs and standard dog holes is a junk shoot if you're trying to cut precisely. When Woodpeckers released their MFT Template back in 2017, I had some serious issues with using the template and I was consequently put in touch with their engineer that designed the MFT Template. He categorically stated that Woodpeckers took 6 different Festool MFT surfaces and measured them with their in-house vision system. He said the center line dimensions between the dog holes was not uniform and that the diameter of the dog holes was not consistent on all of the MFT surfaces he measured.

So, between the MFT hole location variances, the dog hole diametral variances and the dog diameter variances...good luck on the precision part of this equation.  [smile]

Offline jobsworth

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Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2022, 12:45 PM »
To the OP.

I think your over thinking it. Go to Festool Live on You Tube.

Sedge shows how to properly set up a MFT.

Then once set up you should be fine.

If you are using the GRS get the parallel guides for the GRS.

Once you calibrate the stops you should be in good shape.


Offline demographic

  • Posts: 752
Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2022, 04:13 PM »
Ive seen bigger variation in sizes of kitchen panels coming off dimension saws than a 32nd.
And using just a railsaw and bit of wood and a knife to mark the sizes to get repeatable sizes I've got five cuts out of a sheet of MDF with less than 1mm total variation so   0.2 of a mm each cut.

You can spraff hundreds of quid on woodpecker gear if you feel the need for shed decorations but for the most part you dont need it.

Offline ferntree

  • Posts: 16
Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2022, 03:08 PM »
So if my A is 17.68 and B is 17.70 and L is 534mm is my error .00000936mm over 534mm?

If so, thank you Dashboard hinges and fence dogs. Now I know my error I get is me and not my tools. My overall goal.

Offline dashboardpws

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Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2022, 06:32 PM »
So if my A is 17.68 and B is 17.70 and L is 534mm is my error .00000936mm over 534mm?

If so, thank you Dashboard hinges and fence dogs. Now I know my error I get is me and not my tools. My overall goal.

Happy to contribute.

Offline Ebuwan

  • Posts: 108
Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2022, 12:49 PM »
The Woodpecker MFT setup guide; you referring to the Penolic black triangle?

I attempted using it with the dog holes for aligning the gauge and the track on a brand new MFT; nothing but frustration.

I've sworn off every using the dog holes for accurate alignment ever.

It is a very good right angle device though, and laying flat, it's tall, so i used just the right angle edges of it, and align the track and compass that way, more like the traditional way Festool shows to do it using a big Woodpecker Tsquare. Like i said, i like the MFT layout triangle from Woodpeckers cuz it's thick/tall, making it a little easier IMO.


As far as panels being every so slightly off, I always always reference one edge for other parts of the cabinet build; I always use the front edge.

I reference the first domino with no play off the front, i register off the front for all LR32 holes etc; The LR32 holes being referenced all from the front is even more critical when doing holes for drawer slides.

Offline Big Taco

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Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2022, 12:56 PM »
Everything looks good from a fast horse.  [big grin]

Offline ferntree

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Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2022, 09:34 PM »
The Woodpecker MFT setup guide; you referring to the Penolic black triangle?

I attempted using it with the dog holes for aligning the gauge and the track on a brand new MFT; nothing but frustration.

I've sworn off every using the dog holes for accurate alignment ever.

It is a very good right angle device though, and laying flat, it's tall, so i used just the right angle edges of it, and align the track and compass that way, more like the traditional way Festool shows to do it using a big Woodpecker Tsquare. Like i said, i like the MFT layout triangle from Woodpeckers cuz it's thick/tall, making it a little easier IMO.


As far as panels being every so slightly off, I always always reference one edge for other parts of the cabinet build; I always use the front edge.

I reference the first domino with no play off the front, i register off the front for all LR32 holes etc; The LR32 holes being referenced all from the front is even more critical when doing holes for drawer slides.

I was just thinking how I want to set up a shimmed dog to get a repeatable stop to square the guide rail off of the dogholes instead of the phenolic triangle. Getting the rail square to a fence was a pain in the butt using a .001” feeler gauge. But now it’s a matter of pride cause I spent the money on it.

Offline dashboardpws

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Re: What’s my best option?
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2022, 10:49 PM »
Everything looks good from a fast horse.  [big grin]

Love that!