MFT Table(s) Shop Project Proposal

I’m making an MFT Table on wheels for my home shop.

I’ve heard rumors of some folks wanting to build/buy one for the space. At the risk of stepping on other people’s toes I’d like to get started. I just got the Fusion 360/CNC Router table workflow figured out and made my MFT top. Building the table structure will be semi-trivial.

It would be nice to have a couple of these at the space as smaller, portable, and move your project to the tool you’re working-cart kind of work surface. Maybe even replace a couple of the larger 4x8 melamine tables for several smaller work surfaces if the concept proves valuable. One, for now, suffices to test the idea.

I’m looking for feedback and potential volunteers interested in the idea.

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Let’s talk. I was going to also use Match Fit dovetails along with dog holes, and put a vertical clamp face on one end. General discussion has been assuming that it would also be used for a track saw. That would dictate a rather long table.

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I’m with you on the vertical clamp board (doghole/dovetail or what have you). I would however like to maintain the ability to remove/swap the table top out once it gets too spoiled. That translates to not having a mitered joint, but more of a butt joint.

I was thinking that for a longer working surface, one could simply link two or more of these MFT tables together. Something like dog holes drilled into the table legs for alignment purposes to make the process easy.

Good idea on linking tables. I have the Match Fit router bit. And a replaceable top will work. What do you think about using exterior MDF?

I’ve never heard of it. I just did a search and a bunch of different name brands popped up. One of them saying it’s twice as strong. You can’t say no to that.

Especially if we’re gonna run a match fit groove through it. We might want to back 3/4” regardless of which recipe of MDF we go with. 1/2”+3/4”, 1-1/4” fastened with bolts maybe?

This guy tried the MFT/Matchfit Combo. Time will tell if he winds up with a saggy table. Maybe there’s also a risk in the table flexing up when applying abnormal amounts of pressure during glue-ups.

There are some good videos on the MatchFit system. It doesn’t bow the material. It is clamping another material over the pressure point, so it’s pinching the top of the grove. It’s different than a T track, which can pull the screws out of the base if there is a gap from the track to the material under pressure.

I’m thinking exterior MDF as much for surface preservation from moisture, glues, etc…

I was also thinking about using a modified Paulk table design. Not really a torsion box, but it does have support ribs.

Do you know where we can get some?

I’m not concerned about using the Matchfit clamps. It would really only affect clamps that leverage against the dogholes. The easy solution would be to not use these styles of clamps, and generally, just use the MFT holes for alignment.

MFT Leveraging Clamp:
https://www.amazon.com/Style-Woodworking-Benchtop-Clamps-Aluminum/dp/B09M3J85FY

I actually really like this design of a clamp that this youtube guy illustrated. They can be produced for real cheap, and they appear to be very effective. That being said would be concerned with the amount of leverage they produce as is - and the effects of that leverage on normal MDF. Let alone on a 1/4" MDF substrate (which is roughly what you have left after you route out the match-fit groove.

If you had a deep-reaching vice clamp you’re really increasing your doghole leverage by an order of magnitude.

Anyhow, I’m not arguing against the Matchfit grooves. I like the idea. Maybe we laminate a 1/2" piece of MDF to a 3/4" piece to maintain the original strength?

I called around and found some exterior grade MDF. Brazos carries EXTIRA. Looks like cool stuff.

https://packardforestproducts.com/products/wood-composites/110-2/

4’x8’ = $101.80
4’x6’ = $76.44

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Here’s a little update on the MFT’s.

I’ve gotten all the sub assemblies glued up. And @cfstaley has all the materials needed to wrap them up at the shop. I’m going to finish up the final glue ups here at home, and then take them into the shop for final assembly (w/ hardware and the tops)

@CLeininger I was wondering if you’d be able to spray the components (tops and the leg assemblies) with some shellac?


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Sure. When do you want to bring them to my shop?

I need to cut the tops and the sides. After that’s done I’ll coordinate with you. Probably early next week, if that works.

I know it’s a bit of work to spray that many parts, so I wanted to see if you were down before I fastened all the parts together.

Next week should be good.

The casters are in the ASMBLY office cube when you’re ready.

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I cut the tops. They’re at the shop. I’m going to trim the stretchers today and start some of the final glue up’s this weekend.

We could use one more sheet of MDF for the side/apron MFT. Normal MDF is fine.

I’m actually kind of in the fence on the exterior MDF, having milled it last night. It’s certainly more heavy. So I can believe that it’s more dense. But I feel like my normal MDF stops milled better. Either way, time will tell. I hope it’s as water resistant as it’s been billed.

I need 3-bags of these in order to affix the tops, sides, and casters:
1/4-20 Threaded Insert for Wood Hex Drive Threaded Wood Inserts 1/4 Wood Nuts 40 Pieces https://a.co/d/aPbCPoH

And I need 100count of these:
1/4-20 x 3/4" Button Head Socket Cap Bolts Screws, 304 Stainless Steel 18-8, Allen Hex Drive, Bright Finish, Fully Machine Thread, Pack of 50 https://a.co/d/ccQUuqZ

What do you mean for the side/ apron?

Interesting on the exterior MDF. I would expect it to mill similarly. Did it mill well enough? Or do you think that the CNC was part of the issue?

I’ll get the hardware on order.

It milled OK. Perhaps slightly worse, but that wasn’t really the problem. It feels a little more spongy (and the milling evidenced that) and you can see that it warped a lot more. It displayed an issue when trying to fasten the boards to the spoil surface, and during cleanup. It was more gummy on the tooling. Like it left visual residue on both the end mill and my chamfer bit. I had to clean the chamfer bit. I’m interested to see how it performs in terms of use, whether or not it holds up better vs. standard MDF.

Regardless, at this moment, having not used the table nor seen how it wears, I don’t see any advantage to the exteria. I’m hoping it shines over the course of its lifecycle. I just wanted to note that I saw no advantage in terms of production.

What I mean by side/apron.
I have these designed and ready to cut. Normal MDF will be fine. And I think we should definitely add the micro jig groves to these side pieces.

My original thought was to use 8/4 maple across one end, but 8-12 inches on the other dimension. We have some hardwood that was donated. We’re spending a lot on these tables, so I’d like to try and use materials that we have. I do like the look of those full side panels though.

I have some unfortunate news about the MFT tops/sides. It appears that the CNC Router isn’t cutting square. I’m not really sure if there’s a calibration process that we can do soon, but I’ll need to re-mill all the MDF parts after we get the new machine, or the existing one is calibrated. It’s off by a little over 1/16th over 24" so 1/8" over the entire top(s).


Is there a member with a 4x4’ router which we can use? Or another facility who can cut these guys out to expedite the process?

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