Steve Olson owns Rise Construction, a San-Francisco remodeling company that focuses on residential work. For more on the bench or to purchase plans see Olson’s website.

Multi-Function Slab bench top and shelf being used on site.
Steve Olson Multi-Function Slab bench top and shelf being used on site.

MFS being used in the shop--note the slot for holding the hose.
Grant Peterson of Amos Approved Wood Furniture MFS being used in the shop--note the slot for holding the hose.

Steve Olson enjoys working in a shop environment because tools and power are close at hand and there plenty of work tables—conditions that can’t always be met on the jobsite. But as a remodeler, most of his work takes place on site and the success of his business depends on being efficient wherever he is. To that end he designed the Multi-Function Slab (MFS), a dog-holed worktop inspired by Festool’s Multi-Function Table (MFT).

Olson based his design on the MFT because he’s used one for years and likes the way it allows him to clamp anywhere on the surface. What he doesn’t like about the MFT is the cost ($460 for the smallest least expensive model) and how difficult it can be to store and transport (the legs fold but it’s still kind of bulky). Olson’s design addresses these shortcomings. The MFS is a bench top you can work on and clamp to in many different ways—more ways than you can with an MFT. It has a tool storage shelf, is easy to store and transport, and is inexpensive enough to leave on the jobsite without being afraid of what might happen to it.

CAD drawing for MFS top.
Steve Olson CAD drawing for MFS top.

CAD drawing for MFS shelf.
Steve Olson CAD drawing for MFS shelf.

The MFS is made from 1-inch thick MDF and can be supported by your favorite sawhorses—Olson uses manufactured plastic horses because they’re light and fold flat for transport. He could have made the top himself; instead, he drew the plan on CAD, took it and two sheets of MDF ($50 each) to a shop with a CNC machine, and paid them $150 to do the machining. For a total cost of $250 he got two tops plus the tool storage shelves that go beneath them.

This top could made by hand, but with all those holes and slots it’s more easily made with a CNC machine. You can download a CAD plan of the top from Olson’s website for $18, email it to a local shop with a CNC, and have them do the cutting. After picking the parts up you’d have to route the screw holding troughs, round over some edges, pair it with some horses—and you’d be ready to go.

See below for photos and video of the features of the MFS.

The bench top is designed with the same size holes (20mm) and pattern as the MFT so it can be used with all of Festool’s amazing clamps and accessories. The top could easily be adapted to other brands/types of accessories but might require slightly different size holes—as not every dog or clamp is designed for 20mm holes.
Steve Olson The bench top is designed with the same size holes (20mm) and pattern as the MFT so it can be used with all of Festool’s amazing clamps and accessories. The top could easily be adapted to other brands/types of accessories but might require slightly different size holes—as not every dog or clamp is designed for 20mm holes.
Part of the reason for this design was to provide a shelf on which to store the tools you are using—nearby but out of the way. The shelf rests on the lower part of the horses.
Steve Olson Part of the reason for this design was to provide a shelf on which to store the tools you are using—nearby but out of the way. The shelf rests on the lower part of the horses.
The long slots are for clamping material to the sides and ends of the top. They also function as carry handles, though there are two diagonally placed slots for that. The carry slots in the top align with those in the shelf so the parts can be stacked and carried together.
Steve Olson The long slots are for clamping material to the sides and ends of the top. They also function as carry handles, though there are two diagonally placed slots for that. The carry slots in the top align with those in the shelf so the parts can be stacked and carried together.
Recesses along one edge of the top can be used to hold screws, bits, and other items that might otherwise roll off. Olson routed these himself with a cope bit and did all of his own edge-easing and round over work.—presumably because changing bits in the CNC would have added to the cost of machining
Steve Olson Recesses along one edge of the top can be used to hold screws, bits, and other items that might otherwise roll off. Olson routed these himself with a cope bit and did all of his own edge-easing and round over work.—presumably because changing bits in the CNC would have added to the cost of machining

Those of you who use dust collecting vacs will like this feature—a slot in which to stick the hose when it’s off the tool so it doesn’t fall onto the floor. Not that it will hurt anything if it falls; but who wants to bend down to pick it up?
Grant Peterson of Amos Approved Wood Furniture Those of you who use dust collecting vacs will like this feature—a slot in which to stick the hose when it’s off the tool so it doesn’t fall onto the floor. Not that it will hurt anything if it falls; but who wants to bend down to pick it up?

Steve Olson owns Rise Construction, a San-Francisco remodeling company that focuses on residential work. For more on the bench or to purchase plans see Olson’s website.