Festool Multi Function Table Review

 

Description
The 1080 Multi Function Table (MFT) is one of two work tables that are available from Festool, the tables are basically the same except in size, the 1080 is the larger unit. The 1080 MFT can be used simply as a work table but it also comes equipped with a Guide rail system and fence that allow it to be used in conjunction with Festool power tools as well. There isn't much assembly involved, it will probably take longer to get it out of the shipping box than it will to assemble it. The MFT comes with an instruction booklet written in 16 different languages; perhaps some future archeologist will discover this and use it to decipher the entire written record of our civilization; sort of a "Rosetta - MFT instruction booklet".
Festool 1080 Multi Function Table
The frame of the MFT is made of some heavy duty aluminum extrusions and cast brackets to which the legs are attached. The MFT can be used either with the legs folded underneath or deployed; one of the legs has an adjustable section to compensate for uneven surfaces.

At 73 pounds the 1080 model is no feather weight. The heft imparts a certain degree of stability to the unit when in use but it makes it too heavy to lug around by yourself for very long. With a table size of 28" x 45" it provides a very generous workspace; it may in fact compete in size with many traditional woodworking benches. The weight and width of the 1080 (even with the Guide brackets removed) will make it a little difficult to transport through doorways. The 800 model MFT is about half the table size and weight (28" x 23" & 44lb) of the 1080 so this model may be a better choice if transport is an issue. The Guide capacity is a little less on the 800; Festool does have an optional extension table accessory (VL700/MFT) to increase the table capacity.

Each frame member has a slot on each exposed side. These slots are used to attach the Guide brackets but can also be used to attach Festool brand clamps. These slots will also accept several different sizes of bolts and nuts as well should one need to attach some impromptu jig.

The table surface is 3/4" thick MDF with 20mm holes spaced about every 3.75". These holes allow a multitude of different clamps to be used including several unique ones made by Festool. These holes are also used to attach the miter fence assembly. The top is attached to the frame with four small screws and it can be turned over to expose a new surface. The top is replaceable, in fact you could replace the top with whatever you wish as long as it is the proper size. To use the miter fence and some clamps however would require the 20mm holes.

Aside from the clamping options, the most empowering feature of the MFT is the Guide system. This allows one to use the Festool saws and routers much like a radial saw but with more chip-free and precision positioning performance than a typical radial arm saw. You can effectively perform quite a few tablesaw and router table functions using this Guide system.

Guide System
The Guide itself is as simple as can be; the Guide brackets that are attached to the MFT are pretty simple as well. The system basically makes a draw-bridge out of the Guide. The Guide is attached to the pivoting side of the assembly which allows the Guide to swing up out of the way when desired.  The system will allow stock up to 3 5/8" thick to be placed under the guide. In order for the guides to function properly they must sit flat on the workpiece. The brackets allow the Guide to be height adjusted to accomplish this. This is easily and quickly done using the large cam "paddles". I couldn't detect any angular slop in the Guide system at all.

The Guide that comes with the MFT is designed to span the short side of the table. However the system will accept any of the Festool guides not just the one that is included in the package. For example, you can substitute the included Guide with the ones with the 32mm holes and you could even install a longer Guide and relocate the brackets so as to span the long side of the table if you wished.  The entire Guide system (comprised of two parts) can be removed and reinstalled in a flash. They are attached using the slots in the frame. On two opposing frame members are factory installed stops which allow the system to be reliably installed in the home position.

There is another part of the Guide system that is somewhat optional depending on the task at hand - the miter fence. Installed in the top using the 20mm holes is a low profile fence that would normally protrude partly under the Guide. Because the Guide is at a fixed angle, this fence system is used to set cut angles from 90 to 45 degrees by holding the stock at an angle relative to the guide. There are several detents in the miter fence and a spring loaded pin to engage the most used angles. With the fence installed using just the two 20mm holes I measured less than 0.2 degrees of free movement. You can however bump it out of position a great deal more. To prevent that, there is a third clamp on the outboard end that runs in a frame slot; this will hold the fence firmly in place with no movement. With the fence installed there is about 24 " (31" without) of crosscut capacity under the guide. The fence itself is 48" long and includes a flip-stop but no measurement scale.

Summary
The MFT is a heavy duty multi function worktable designed and made with typical Festool attention to detail; it is far more than just a table though. I believe the MFT is essentially the "enabler" that brings the clever Festool Guide systems into their full capability. Although the Guides are useful enough by themselves, the MFT makes them even more so by providing a stable platform for their use in addition to the improved positioning and clamping possibilities. Perhaps the system should be renamed Multi Function Tool instead of Table because when you marry the Festool power tools with it that is essentially what it becomes.

If the system needs to be moved frequently I think the 800 model MFT would be the preferred choice with the optional extension table if needed. The larger 1080 model is a very stable platform that would probably be suited to more static locations. I highly recommend at least two of the MFT-SP table clamps to use with the MFT and the Deflector FS-AW for use with the guide, this keeps the cord and vac hose from catching on the Guide.

In the interest of full disclosure Festool provided this product to facilitate this review.


Fence And Guide This is a close up view of the pivoting side of the Guide assembly and the miter fence.  The fence is shown in the low position here.  It can be reinstalled with the fence in the high position as well.

A spring loaded pin sets the miter angle and is easy to use.  A clamp on the outboard edge of the fence secures it very firmly.  The fence is mounted by the protractor section through the holes in the table by two large threaded knobs.

The Allen wrench seen here fits all the screws on the fence and those used to mount the Guide too.  It also fits the screw near the pin which sets the alignment.

This is an overview of the table shown with several different Festool brand clamps.  The two on the lower edge are of the type included with the Hole Guide System (also available separately).  The single clamp near the middle of the table is like these in that it fits into the MFT slots and the bottom of the Guides but it is a ratchet action; this is quite handy and I use this clamp all the time. 

The black clamps in the center are low profile types and they fit into the table holes; there are about 1" thick.  I've found these especially useful with the MFT.  In fact they are so useful I'm considering re-boring the 3/4" holes in my workbench to 20mm just so I can use these there as well.

Hopefully this picture shows the innumerable clamping opportunities that are possible with the MFT, I wish my workbench has as much to offer in this regard.  Festool does in fact sell the frame extrusions separately so if one wished, one could build a custom table or bench to take advantage of these systems.

Table With Clamps
Also note (in this view) that I've installed a Guide with the 32mm hole drilling pattern and that there are two stops on it as well.  Any of the Guides will fit onto the MFT.  The ones that come with the system and the one shown here will span the short side of the table.  With a longer Guide such as the one that comes with the circular saw packages one is able to span the long side of the 1080 MFT as well, this would give a 48 1/2" crosscut capacity.
Guide Clamp This a view from underneath the pivoting Guide bracket.  It is held in position on the frame by a knob that locks into the channel.   There is a stop placed in each side of the frame so that it can be installed in the same spot.  The large paddle is actually a cam which locks the height of the Guide above the table.