DIY MFT style bench top with few holes - PARF/CNC template?

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5 Aug 2015
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I have a pair of old Beech 'lab' benches rescued in prehistoric times from a school closure. Heavy, solid and free they have been doing duty in my father's garage and my workshop for 40 years.

I want to turn one of them into a cutting station for my track saw. I envisage a semi fixed set-up with dog holes along the rear edge to secure a fence and a single or double row of dog holes across the bench for locating the track perpendicular to the fence. I DO NOT want to perforate the beech bench top like a tea bag! I will need to surface the upper face and straighten the edge - which I intend to do with a router for flattening duty.

I had thought similarly to the initial post in this thread and the Parf guide system looked ideal and thatsoeone might rent me one.

Alternatively I am aware of the CNC templates such as this one

However I am unsure how I would use either of these systems to cut just a small number of relatively sparsely spaced dog holes. Both systems require you to reference from an existing hole to locate the next hole, so I am unsure how suitable they would be to create the hole pattern I am envisioning. In fact I'm not sure the CNC template would work at all as the holes in the template are larger than the dog holes so you can ONLY use the two reference holes on the handle size for referencing the location, so it only owrks if you are putting in a full row of holes at either edge of a top?

Does anyone have experience of doing this with either of the two systems shown above?

My alternative is to use one of the systems to make a full scale, fully perforated template from MDF, then clamp this to the bench top and use it to only cut the specific pattern of holes i require.

Am I missing anything?
Doh! ... now why didn't I think of that? Spending too long trying to think of complex ways to do it!!

Rather embarrassed now...

Easy to do with Parf Guide system, just use the guides to drill the 3mm holes where you want them and then drill as many or as few dog holes as you need, no need to have them all over the top. I drilled the 3mm holes all over my top and only have dog holes on one section but can add more later if needed, in perfect alignment.
Yes, but I still need to drill the 3mm holes everywhere - and i didn't want to perforate the bench top. That's what I am trying to avoid. I agree that a 3mm hole is a lot less intrusive than a full pattern of dog holes, and you make a good point that with the 3mm holes already drilled, that adding full dog holes later becomes easier. I'd still need the PARF system to drill the 3mm grid of holes though...