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Finally built a fold-down MFT

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PerryGunn

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As I've a relatively small workshop - the main section is approx. 2.5m by 3.5m - space has always been at a premium and I've had to ensure that everything is stored neatly and put back in place at the end of a session or it would quickly turn into chaos.

In my latest effort to make best use of the available space, I've built a fold-down MFT-type bench with dog & fence storage. It hangs on the wall above my fold-up rough cut table.

MFT_01.JPG


MFT_02.JPG


It's constructed from a 1/3 sheet of 22mm Medite MR MDF - so 1220 x 810 - which I gave several coats of a shellac sanding sealer beforehand. The main framework is 4x2 PAR and the leg section is 3x2 PAR with a 9mm plywood backboard and 18mm ply shelf & dividers for the Benchdogs fence and mini-systainer. Virtually all joints are pocket holes. The framework is trimmed with 19mm PAR rounded over with biscuited oak corners to take the knocks.

As the centre of gravity is forward of the hinge line it can't remain in the 'up' position without assistance and it could injure someone if it folded down on them unexpectedly. To keep it upright there are a couple of Neodymium magnets that 'grab' inset steel washers in the front corners and hold it very firmly against the wall. I also repurposed a clamp to use as an additional mechanical restraint. An additional Neodymium magnet is used behind one of the legs to lock them back when folded.


MFT_04a.JPG


MFT_03.JPG



When it's down the fence, dogs and grips are all accessible

MFT_05.JPG



The MDF top is 3mm above the surround and has a chamfered edge. I routed the 20mm holes using the CNCDesign jig and then gave them a slight chamfer with my palm router. The sacrificial strip is 9mm MDF.
In the photo the rear hinges look close but they are actually about 25mm lower than the top of the MDF and the far enough back that the front of the saw touches the wall before the blade is anywhere near the hinge.

The simple plywood folding table to the right is for holding the saw between cuts.

MFT_06.JPG


I have enough space to use a 1400 rail if I need to but, for the vast majority of the time, I find that my 800 rail is adequate

MFT_07.JPG



MFT_08.JPG


When it warms up a bit, I'll dismantle most of it and add a coat or two of Osmo to the framework.

Overall, it's turned out a bit heavier than I expected which means that I have to put my back into it when folding it up/down but the weight has given it a decent amount of solidity.
 

pe2dave

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Neat setup, I do like the use of magnets. are you reliant on the position of the fence for a right angle cut? Track seems to be locked against it?
 

Rorschach

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I have considered a fold down bench for myself but know that if there is the space to fold it down, I don't need a folding bench, and if there isn't the space, then I don't have room for a folding bench! lol.
 

PerryGunn

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Neat setup, I do like the use of magnets. are you reliant on the position of the fence for a right angle cut? Track seems to be locked against it?
I just wanted to take a photo of the setup so in the photos the track is just plonked on top of the the ply - normally I'd either have it butted up against a couple of dogs or use the track dogs

With either in use the track is at right angles to the fence
 

PerryGunn

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I have considered a fold down bench for myself but know that if there is the space to fold it down, I don't need a folding bench, and if there isn't the space, then I don't have room for a folding bench! lol.
The idea of a fold down bench is that you can use the space for other things when it's not needed - when mine is down I have enough space to move around it and the fixed bench on the opposite side but I couldn't have it down all the time as I'd have no space for anything else.

I have a triangular storage area at the rear of the workshop that I wheel my bandsaw into when I need to fold down the table - when the table's not in use the bandsaw stands in front of it
 

Rorschach

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The idea of a fold down bench is that you can use the space for other things when it's not needed - when mine is down I have enough space to move around it and the fixed bench on the opposite side but I couldn't have it down all the time as I'd have no space for anything else.

I have a triangular storage area at the rear of the workshop that I wheel my bandsaw into when I need to fold down the table - when the table's not in use the bandsaw stands in front of it

In my workshop, tools breed to fill the void! lol
 

custard

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Congratulations on a tidy and ingenious job. One possible opportunity for improvement.

I see you use the BenchDogs fence, excellent isn't it? When used with a flag stop I find their short fence, the one that locates to the right of the cut line, invaluable for cross cuts shorter than about 200mm, but in order to install it you need two vacant dog holes to the right of the cut line. However, your design only delivers one. I've just made the same design error, not to worry, as always the next bench will be the perfect one!
 

PerryGunn

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Congratulations on a tidy and ingenious job. One possible opportunity for improvement.

I see you use the BenchDogs fence, excellent isn't it? When used with a flag stop I find their short fence, the one that locates to the right of the cut line, invaluable for cross cuts shorter than about 200mm, but in order to install it you need two vacant dog holes to the right of the cut line. However, your design only delivers one. I've just made the same design error, not to worry, as always the next bench will be the perfect one!
Thanks for the heads-up (y)

I don't have the right hand fence - I guess that should be qualified with 'at the moment'

If I end up with it, there are dog holes under the sacrificial strip so I could bring the relevant one up through the strip with a flush trim router bit and put in another/wider sacrificial strip if needed

Alternatively, I could flip the top over or replace the MDF - I bought a full sheet so I still have 2/3 left
 

stuartpaul

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What a neat solution. I'm going to be looking at a similar set up when I start converting my garage to a workshop, hopefully later this month.

I like it when someone else has done the hard thinking for me!
 

Sandyn

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That looks a brilliant design and very well made. When are you going into production?? :)
 

PerryGunn

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I see you use the BenchDogs fence, excellent isn't it? When used with a flag stop I find their short fence, the one that locates to the right of the cut line, invaluable for cross cuts shorter than about 200mm, but in order to install it you need two vacant dog holes to the right of the cut line. However, your design only delivers one. I've just made the same design error, not to worry, as always the next bench will be the perfect one!
@custard you got me thinking and, if/when I get the right side fence, it looks like it might be possible to do something that will work

It would rely on using the Benchdogs Track Dogs when using the right-hand fence as they move the cut line over so rather than going through the centre a column of holes, the cut line lies between two columns.

Then it should be possible to use the holes circled in red for the right-hand fence and add a second sacrificial strip as shown below (not necessarily in exactly the right position) - this strip wouldn't affect the use of any of the holes and, as long as it was flush, would maintain the flat surface

AdditionalStrip.jpg


This might even have advantages as it gives a wider right-hand section of table to support the piece being cut
 

custard

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@custard you got me thinking and, if/when I get the right side fence, it looks like it might be possible to do something that will work

It would rely on using the Benchdogs Track Dogs when using the right-hand fence as they move the cut line over so rather than going through the centre a column of holes, the cut line lies between two columns.

Yes, that should sort it. Provided you've got room to the left of your bench (and it looks like you have) you could also just shunt the fence over to the left by a couple of dog holes if you found yourself needing to do the occasional short cross cut.

I do most of my sawing on a sliding table saw, and even though they're wonderful machines they do have one giant achilles heel, which is cross cutting short pieces. I've seen some American woodworkers go to the extent of building elaborate cross cut sleds that attach to their sliding table saws just to handle short cross cuts. For my uses the MFT with the BenchDogs short right hand fence is a good, practical fix for this problem.

Incidentally, if I ever get the time I keep meaning to do a post on the comparative accuracy of a £10k+ panel saw versus the relatively low cost track saw/MFT/BenchDogs alternative. There are of course plenty of swings and roundabouts to the discussion, but it's astonishing just how much precision for your pound you can squeeze out of this far cheaper option.
 

Tezza1

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As I've a relatively small workshop - the main section is approx. 2.5m by 3.5m - space has always been at a premium and I've had to ensure that everything is stored neatly and put back in place at the end of a session or it would quickly turn into chaos.

In my latest effort to make best use of the available space, I've built a fold-down MFT-type bench with dog & fence storage. It hangs on the wall above my fold-up rough cut table.

View attachment 100145

View attachment 100146

It's constructed from a 1/3 sheet of 22mm Medite MR MDF - so 1220 x 810 - which I gave several coats of a shellac sanding sealer beforehand. The main framework is 4x2 PAR and the leg section is 3x2 PAR with a 9mm plywood backboard and 18mm ply shelf & dividers for the Benchdogs fence and mini-systainer. Virtually all joints are pocket holes. The framework is trimmed with 19mm PAR rounded over with biscuited oak corners to take the knocks.

As the centre of gravity is forward of the hinge line it can't remain in the 'up' position without assistance and it could injure someone if it folded down on them unexpectedly. To keep it upright there are a couple of Neodymium magnets that 'grab' inset steel washers in the front corners and hold it very firmly against the wall. I also repurposed a clamp to use as an additional mechanical restraint. An additional Neodymium magnet is used behind one of the legs to lock them back when folded.


View attachment 100148

View attachment 100147


When it's down the fence, dogs and grips are all accessible

View attachment 100149


The MDF top is 3mm above the surround and has a chamfered edge. I routed the 20mm holes using the CNCDesign jig and then gave them a slight chamfer with my palm router. The sacrificial strip is 9mm MDF.
In the photo the rear hinges look close but they are actually about 25mm lower than the top of the MDF and the far enough back that the front of the saw touches the wall before the blade is anywhere near the hinge.

The simple plywood folding table to the right is for holding the saw between cuts.

View attachment 100150

I have enough space to use a 1400 rail if I need to but, for the vast majority of the time, I find that my 800 rail is adequate

View attachment 100151


View attachment 100152

When it warms up a bit, I'll dismantle most of it and add a coat or two of Osmo to the framework.

Overall, it's turned out a bit heavier than I expected which means that I have to put my back into it when folding it up/down but the weight has given it a decent amount of solidity.
 

Tezza1

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Hi There, Just joined up. Love your folding table. My workshop size is very similar to yours so I can relate to your issue regarding space.
Fortunately I have a single garage which I intend to kit out with a fold down MFT and yours seems ideal. Really impressed with your design, however I have a couple of questions which I hope you can answer. Could you possibly advise a little more detail of the hinge arrangement showing how any additional timber you added to the main 4 x 2 frame. Also I was a little concerned if the fold up leg needed any additional diagonal bracing. I noticed some marks on the top of the legs together with some possible indication of a fastener or bracket that may help to steady the legs when in the down position. Thankyou in advance.
 
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