The Festool MFS Multi-RoutingTemplate SystemContentsIntroduction . 2Connecting the MFS profiles. . 10Template Routing with the MFS System . 17Inlays . 27Jack Miters, Stair Stringers, and Circle Cutting . 41Cutting Applications . 58Using the MFS As A Clamping Aid . 71Miscellaneous Uses For the MFS . 74Closing Thoughts . 78 2008 Brice BurrellPage 1

IntroductionHere is a look at the Festool MFS 400 and MFS 700, multi-routing template system.While these tools excel as routing templates they are capable of far more. Routingoperations like open-field inlays, borders, cutouts, mortises, routing circles, curves andarcs are just part of what the MFS system can do. Use the MFS with your Multi FunctionTable to help square the guide rail with the table, or as a cutting fence. I've even usedthe profiles as a temple to make cuts with my jigsaw! To understand the full value of thisaccessory, don't think of it as a "Routing Template". Envision profiles that formtemplates, squares, fences, stops, story sticks and jigs of every kind, a "Multi-FunctionProfile" system.The first thing I'd like to do is credit Jerry Work, Ned Young and John Lucas for the workthat they have already done to help us get the most out of the MFS and the Festoolsystem. Some of the methods, techniques and ideas you will see here have come fromtheir writings. So, thank you gentlemen.Here is a link to Jerry Work's MFS manual. Jerry Work designs and hand crafts finefurniture in Kerby, OR. Check out his site, The Dovetail Joint.Ned Young started a thread on the Festool Owners Group forum, Notes on the MFS.John Lucas has shared a lot of great ideas on his site, WoodShopDemos. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 2

The components of the MFS 400 and MFS 700.To get started let’s take a look at the components that make up the MFS templatesystem. Knowing what the parts are and what they do from the beginning will helpyou understand the functions and methods later on in this review.In this photo you see what is included with the MFS 400 set: two 400 mm and two200 mm profiles, two angle stops, anti-tilting insert, circle-cutting insert and pivot, 3 mmball head Allen driver, connecting hardware and an instruction manual.The MFS 700 set (not pictured above) includes all of the same components, except itsprofiles are 400 mm and 700 mm. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 3

The MFS profiles are aluminum extrusions with graduated metric scales printed onthem. Profiles are 80 mm wide and 16 mm thick with a series of "Joiner" or "V" slots and"Clamp" slots. The Joiner or V slots are for the connecting hardware, circle-cutting insertand pivot and the coupling hardware (not included with the sets) for joining profileslength-wise. I'll go into detail on how to join the profiles in its own section in this review. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 4

The Festool FSZ 120, FSZ 300 and FS-HZ clamps fit in the clamp slots, as do the guiderail connectors. The guide connectors can also be used to join the profiles in length.Also, 1/4" square and hex nuts fit the slots if you want to add a fixture to the profiles ormount them to jig or table with your own (imperial or “inch” style) hardware. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 5

The 3 mm ball head driver is used on almost all of the MFS hardware. The ball headallows the driver to be used on an angle as shown in this photo.The angle stops mount into the V slots and are used to help position the MFS . 2008 Brice BurrellPage 6

Here the angle stops are mounted on the bottom of the MFS to precisely locate the MFS for aninlay.This is the anti-tilting insert. It is used to prevent the router from tipping or tilting during routingoperations. If the router is tilted the work piece can be ruined. Copying rings fit into the antitilting insert, this allows it to travel with the router. The insert can fit 24, 27, 30 and 40 mmcopying rings. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 7

Here you can see the insert in place under the router. The insert is only needed whenthe profiles are spread too far apart for the router's base to be fully supported by theprofiles themselves. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 8

This is the circle-cutting insert and pivot. I'll go into more detail about how to use theMFS to rout circles, curves and arcs later in this review.Festool offers some other accessories not shown in this review. Longer profiles areavailable, 1000 mm profiles and 2000 mm profiles to extend the MFS template system.You can use the Routing Slide with the MFS to support the router when routing outlarge areas, for example open field inlays.Also offered, as spare parts, are a set of 4 MFS "Joiners" (part # 493235) that fit into theV slots to connect profiles length-wise. You'll need to call Festool's service departmentto order the joiners. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 9

Connecting the MFS profiles.In this section I'm going to you show how to connect the profiles into rectangles andend-to-end.The MFS profiles have male and female ends, as shown here. The male ends have twosmall studs or indexing pins to align the profiles. Also the male ends have theconnecting hardware, notice the "V" nut with a ball detent. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 10

The male end fits into the female end to align the profiles end-to-end. A guide railconnector or the MFS joiner can be used to secure the connection. Guide railconnectors (fitted into the clamp slot) are used in the photo above.The V nut on the male end of the profile fits into the V slot in the edge of another profile.The male's indexing pins also fit into the edge V slots to ensure perfect alignment. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 11

This shot is a close-up of two profiles connected.To make a rectangle, connect two profiles, a short and long one, to form a "L"with the scales on the inside. Use the Allen driver to secure the joint. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 12

You can see from this picture that the scales are on the inside of the "L". The scales arean important feature of the MFS. They allow the template to be quickly set to size.Once you have two "L" shapes formed, connect the two to make a rectangle. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 13

You can adjust the sizes of the MFS rectangles by movingthe sort of "L" shaped pairs to set the width and length. Atfirst, assembling the profiles can be kind of tough, but afterdoing it a few times you get the feel for it. I've sprayed myprofiles, including the hardware, with a dry lubricant. Thishelps reduce some of the friction while adjusting them. Asanother added benefit, it lets tools slide on them easily.By combining sets and/or the longer profiles, different shapes can be made. This willgreatly increase the usefulness of the system. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 14

It may be necessary to add the connecting hardware to both ends of some of theprofiles to join different shapes. The hardware can be removed from one profile andadded to another. The bolt and V nut have to be removed and the threaded insert canbe taken out. The insert has an Allen recess, the insert is reverse threaded, turnclockwise to remove, use a 4 mm Allen key. The insert can then be screwed intoanother profile, turning counter-clockwise (anti-clockwise), and it will self tap into thealuminum.I recommend exercising great care removing and installing the connectinghardware, it would not be hard to strip the aluminum, especially if you forgetabout the reverse threading. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 15

The angle stops have V nuts that slide into the V slots to mount the stops to the profiles.The stops can be mounted square or on an angle.Connecting the profiles can be tricky in the beginning as I've already mentioned,sometimes you wish you had another set of hands to line up all of the hardware. Thekey is to be patient when connecting and adjusting the MFS profiles. Taking the time toperfectly set the template will show in the end results you achieve with this system. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 16

Template Routing with the MFS SystemMoving on to using the MFS system, it's hard to know what to cover first. I think mostpeople imagine the MFS being used as a routing template, so why not start there.Routing inlays, borders, cutouts, mortises, circles, curves and arcs can be veryaccurately done with the MFS. I know my results are much better now that I'm usingthe MFS instead of the wooden jigs and fixtures I've used in the past. Templaterouting with the MFS is a fairly straightforward concept. However, there are a fewthings to keep in mind when deciding how to use and set up this system as a routingtemplate, I'll go over some of them in this section, as well as show you how I use theMFS for my routing projects.If you happen to be unfamiliar with what template routing is, I'll explain. It is using a jig,fixture or in this case, the MFS profiles to guide a router's travel. The router must have acopying ring (guide bushing) or a bit with a bearing to prevent the bit from cutting intothe template as it travels. When using a bit with a bearing, like a flush cut or pattern bit,the profiles can be set to the exact size needed, whether it is a cutout or mortise. Thisreally simplifies the setup.However, using a pattern bit is not without its risks. The issue is with the bit accidentallycutting into the template/profile. This can happen one of two ways. First, while plunging the bit into the work piece, before the bearing can engagethe template (with the bearing still above the profile) it can't stop the bit fromgoing astray and doing bad things to your profile. The second issue occurs if the bearing happens to land in the V slot in the edgeof the profile. You can run into this with smaller bits as they usually have smallbearings that can fall into the slot. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 17

The picture above shows the potential dangers of using a pattern bit with the MFS. I'mnot suggesting pattern bits can't be used, but, care must be taken when selecting theright bit. Bearing size, cutting length and diameter should all factor into the decision.When used in the right circumstances they can be a real asset.I use the MFS most often to rout for hardware like lock sets, strikes, latches andcatches, but, most of all hinges. I've made all kinds of jigs to rout hinges, all of them outof wood or MDF. While they do work, it is usually only a short time before they becomeinaccurate from relatively light use. If you have ever used a wooden jig you know what Imean. I've had to add very thin shims to my hinge templates to finish jobs, not wantingto make a new jig to rout one or two more hinges.That drove me nuts! Now, I use the MFS, it is so much faster, easier and far moreaccurate than the wooden jigs ever were. I can set up the MFS and make a test cut inabout five minutes or less. If it needs to be adjusted, that can usually be done in lessthan one minute. If a wooden jig is off, you're stuck shimming or remaking the entire jig.So let me show you how I use the MFS with a small pattern bit to rout hinges. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 18

The first step is to mark the setback for the hinge. I'll use this line to index the MFS.With the small pattern bit I use to rout my hinges I can set the MFS to the exact lengthof the hinge. The width is set wide enough so I can test fit the hinge without removingthe MFS. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 19

Once the MFS is set to size, I place it on the pencil line then set the angle stops andclamp the work piece/MFS down.Here is a close look at the bit I'll be using. It is the same type that I showed earlier, youcan see I've add a second bearing to solve the problem of the bearing falling into theV slot. It is a 1/2" diameter; this will match the 1/4" radius on the hinges. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 20

After installing the bit, the next step is to set the router's depth, plunge the router until itcomes into contact with the work piece. This is called zeroing the bit. Now, I use thehinge itself between one of the turret stops and the depth rod to set the exact depth.It's time to rout, with the profiles set to be wider than the hinge, this leaves an openspace for me to fully plunge the bit before contacting the work piece. I make systematicpasses removing small amounts per pass. Again with the MFS wider than the hinge, Ican test fit the hinge without removing the template. When I'm happy with the fit, Iremove the MFS, test the fit once more, and make adjustments as needed. 2008 Brice BurrellPage 21

I got a perfect fit on the first try, but remember to always make test cuts on scrap first.Let's now look at using copying rings or guide bushings with the MFS. The advantage ofusing copying rings is twofold: they are always in place while routing, greatly reducingthe chance of cutting into the profile; and they work with most bits used for templaterouting, regardless of the bit's cutting length. Unlike bearing-guided bits where thecutter's length is so important. Of course you do have to ac