Leigh Super FMT proposed upgrade

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Forum topic by Joel_B posted 12-28-2016 05:02 AM 797 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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347 posts in 1529 days

12-28-2016 05:02 AM

I bought a used Leigh Super FMT a few years ago for a good price and it was barely used.
I have used it since but found the learning curve to be difficult and it suffers from some flaws that make it difficult to use. The problems have to do with the clamping plate that hold the wood that the plunge router goes into to make mortises and tenons. The clamps are difficult to use because to move them you have pull them out from the back side to put through a different hole in the plate. This slows things down and can be hard on my back, The other problem has to do with a right angle guide piece that you have to slide with your hand to locate the piece you are working to the correct left / right position. It is very difficult because you have to use one hand to move the guide and keep it at a right angle and the other hand to move the work piece. It is very difficult to locate the work piece precisely.
So my proposed upgrade would be to attach a piece of 5/8” MDF to the clamping plate. The MDF would have T Tracks in it which could be used for toggle clamps. This would make moving and operating the clamps much easier. T tracks could also be used for this micro-adjuster which would keep the work piece at a right angle and provide precise alignment to the router bit. I could also use this on my router table. I would loose 5/8” in depth but I don’t that will be a problem since it has about 2 inches right now. I don’t know if this has ever been done with a Leigh FMT jig, but I am not sure I would want to keep using it in its current state.

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

5 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5097 posts in 2641 days

#1 posted 12-28-2016 04:10 PM

I’m not sure if there is a question there, but I’m surprised by your problems with the FMT. I have the same jig and find it one of the easiest to use of several I have. Every time I pull out my D4, I also have to get the manual to brush up on it’s use, but with the FMT I can be up and working after getting it off it’s storage location. Granted the clamps are, well, unhandy…but I find they work just fine. Regardless, if you try your idea please let us know how it worked. It just might be an upgrade some of us (including me) want to do.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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347 posts in 1529 days

#2 posted 12-28-2016 04:24 PM

I was just looking for feedback on whether the idea made sense or if it wouldn’t work for some reason.
I am at a point where I am careful what I spend money on, but if this will make the jig faster, easier and more precise I am willing to spend the money since I have limited time to work in the shop.

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

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347 posts in 1529 days

#3 posted 12-29-2016 11:16 PM

I think I came up with a better idea, at least less expensive. I remembered I had an Incra fence I bought eons ago when they first came out and never used it much. I could mount it to the MDF to be the right angle guide and make fine adjustments. The fence is probably too long so I will need to cut it.

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2258 days

#4 posted 12-31-2016 01:12 AM

I am willing to spend the money since I have limited time to work in the shop.

Just a thought… spend the money on classes and quality skills, not special tools…

Most commercial jigs save time in repeated production applications, but still require setup, calibration, and time to actually perform the operation.

For most one-off furniture builds, learning how to cut joinery with standard tools, like a table saw and router, then hand fitting to perfection, will usually take less time than many special tools.

Exceptions may include the D4, if you’re building an entire kitchen or wall of drawers, or a Domino, which pretty much kicks ass overall if you don’t require traditional joinery… Even the D4 exception is debatable when we consider how many prebuilt quality drawer sources are out there.

Barry, who over the last 25+ years has owned and resold many of the devices sold in the back of magazines and at woodworking shows…

Burn the catalogs, take a class.

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347 posts in 1529 days

#5 posted 01-31-2017 03:49 AM

So I went ahead with the jig. Designed it in Sketchup and used the Incra fence that otherwise was collecting dust. Its pretty much done, waiting for some Bessey auto adjust toggle clamps I ordered and I am going to get a Starrett stick on measuring tape to make it more readable. One nice thing is I won’t need to mark my pieces and use the removable sight on the FMT which is a PIA. Will be taking it for a test drive soon.

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

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