The days of the classic hardwood joiner's bench as a shop centerpiece are largely gone. But a modern shop still needs work surfaces, and  Festool responds with a versatile multi-functional worktable that offers new solutions to recurring shop challenges.

The  MFT/3 features an MDF top perforated with 20mm holes. The top is bounded by specially shaped aluminum channels, giving an overall size of about 2-1/2 feet wide and not quite 4 feet long. It all rests on four tubular folding metal legs with rubber feet, and one leg adjusts for level.

More than a table

Attachments include a guide rail and miter gauge that mount quickly and accurately to the aluminum channels on the sides of the table. That allows precision cutting with the Festool plunge-cut saws right on top of the table.

Those holes all over the top of the work surface provide almost unlimited clamping opportunities. Festool makes cam clamps that mount securely in the holes and make holding irregular work a breeze. I used this feature for caning a bentwood rocker seat and assembling an hourglass-shaped dulcimer, both projects that can be awkward.

There are also metal quick clamps and screw clamps that have bars shaped to either drop down into the holes on the top of the table or to slide into the aluminum tracks on the edges. I particularly like the quick clamps, which have powerful holding force and are easy to position without any twisting forces to move work.

Made to move

With folding legs, the table moves easily. But  Festool has also designed the table to function in its folded position. For job site work that may be more convenient to be done on the floor this provides a precise cutting station where you need it.

For those unfamiliar with the versatility and accuracy of the Festool plunge-cut saws, this table offers another reason to try them. Rather than carting a big miter saw, plus a workbench or a less-than-adequate benchtop table saw, the Festool saw and MFT/3 table are more versatile, easier to carry and more precise.

Of course, you pay for all of these features. The list price on the  Festool MFT/3 is $575, but that's still a lot less than those massive old joiner's workbenches, and try taking one of them to a job site! For more information about the MFT/3 work table and its accessories, visit www.festoolusa.com.

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