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Old 10-15-2009, 12:09 AM
Ken Ken is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 417

Power Bench VS. MFT The Showdown Part 2

A Little History: My first use of a guide was when I was a kid 30 years ago. I used a circular saw with a straight piece of wood as a guide. Eventually I got an aluminum guide similar to the cheap ones they sell in the Borgs today, but of a much better quality. In my late teens the circular saw fell by the wayside in favor of the table saw for any thing other then construction work. I pretty much stuck with the table saw until a few years ago when at first I just wanted a better way to break down sheet goods. It was never any fun to rip and then cross cut sheets by myself especially without proper support. I do not consider roller stands proper support. I have had them tip over at the worst time and the roller can pull the materials off course, the Rigid flip stands are better but still anything less then a fixed outfeed table is not a good option for heavy work on the table saw.

My first change a few years ago was to go back to the circular saw and plywood straight edges. I could get good results but it was far from ideal. Next I gave the All-In-One guide a try. They made a base for the circular saw that rode on the guide. There were a few nagging things that lingered on. Zero clearance was not provided so the cut quality suffered, no square, and the need to always figure the offset. I did make a zero clearance base and that gave me the cut quality that I was looking for but I still wanted something better, a complete system, I just did not know at the time that such a thing existed.

Even though I could improvise and always do good work with whatever was on hand I still had the desire to work with tools that made things easier and most of all safe. I had made a nice set of “bookcase” type storage up a flight of stairs that started in our kitchen so that my wife could have some pantry type storage. I did this with the All-In-One guide, a circular saw, and a router the results were great. I felt that my many years of a perfect safety record on the table saw were bound to come to an end at some point. Then I stumbled upon Festool while searching the web for something better then what I had. They do make amazing products and I bought a OF1010 router, TS55 saw, and a few assorted rails. Things went great and I was happy with the results on sheet goods. Thats when I realized that I was having much more fun woodworking without having to run to the table saw all the time.

After a while I wanted to move my hard wood cutting off of the table saw to. This is where I started running into problems. I thought along with all the propaganda that the MFT would be the answer so I bit the bullet and bought an MFT3. It did have it's merits and is an excellent cutting and clamping table with enough capacity for cabinet construction. It is when you get to the smaller hardwood pieces that the trouble begins like I previously stated with the flex in the rails and the hinge. It became clear that even though it was close things still could be better. It was only a few months after getting the MFT3 that I discovered the EZ Smart. I was on the FOG forum and followed a link to SMC where I found the EZ forum. I followed it and learned as much as I could about the products and what could be done with them. I also did a lot of thinking about ways that I could use them and customize them for my needs so that they would work like I do. I like the fact that the system is modular, extendable, and able to be re-purposed for specific needs. Customizing my own tool to the task at hand is something that has a very strong appeal to me. So I made the switch from Festool to EZ and have not looked back. As a side note eBay is great and I lost no money at all in the switch.
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