Modular compact router offers versatility

The latest entry to the growing compact router field is the Festool MFK 700, which capitalizes on a modular design to offer a huge range of uses well beyond laminate trimming.

Modular, tool-less design

The modular core of the router is the 720-watt motor unit. It incorporates a collet spindle lock, so you need only one wrench to tighten or loosen collets and change bits. Most other changes and accessories require no tools at all. Comfortable thumbscrews tighten down precision bases onto the motor unit. You precisely set depths an easily grasped rotating knob and lock the setting with a large hand knob that's also convenient for two-handed operation.

An edge guide includes a micro-adjusting knob. All bases include four-point centerlines for easy alignment and a larger footprint for increased stability.

How does it work?

Integrated dust collection is a Festool hallmark, and this tool is no exception. With a selection of port and shield options to fit the various configurations, this tool has effective dust extraction using a Festool dust extractor/vacuum.

One neat feature of this router is how it can be shifted from traditional vertical position to a horizontal mode by changing the base. Adding the sensor bearing guide, which comes with the horizontal base, gives extra stability and smoothness for edge work. The horizontal base has a built-in 1.5-degree offset designed to eliminate filing when used in applications such as trimming edgebanding.

The MFK 700 comes with both 1/4-inch and 8mm collets, so a wider selection of bits is available to fit it. You'll be tempted to try larger bits and heavier duty tasks because the unit has much more power than you might expect for its size, and the base arrangements make for very stable routing. Electronic variable speed control adds to the versatility.

Of course, as with all Festool tools, all of these features and abilities come with a price. The basic router with two bases and most of the accessories you need, plus the Systainer modular carrying case, will run you about $500. If you are thinking this is just a trim router, that may be hard to swallow, but treating it as a versatile small router solution that is built to last and can boost efficiency, makes the return on the investment much more obvious.

Learn more about the tool by circling 251 on the Reader Service Card in this issue or visit


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About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.