MFT top making - standard or isometric ?

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5 Oct 2014
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Sunny Glasgow
Got my fancy mk2 parf system jig in, and I suppose I'll have to build a bench now.

So, I am reading the instructions and it appears i have a choice as to what layout of holes I can have in it. Standard pattern, or isometric. The instruction book shows how to do it, but doesn't explain why or what the reasons for the difference is.
Anyone know the difference ?

ADDED BIT - Not really relevant to the above question, but relevant to making sure accuracy is correct when the board you are using is outwith the standard dimensions as shown in the instruction booklet - ie a 6' or 8' board 600mm deep
I posted a vid a bit back on someone making the top, which had accuracy problems, but easily solvable ones and from reading the instructions i can see how he went slightly askew.(over the length of 8' he, from one end to the other, was out by maybe 1/2mm)
Instead of, for example on an 8' long top you start at one end then extend the holes right across it appears that you start in the middle, do the middle section, then extend outwards each side to lengthen the pattern.

The instruction booklet is quite different from the you tube vids, which show how to start off in an easy manner. Create the first line of holes, then the right angled holes and fill in the pattern from there. Thats probably the way i would have made my start. But it looks like to do it best, you follow the instruction book, make your pattern in the center of the board, then extend outwards if its longer than the standard size of the rulers.

The only criticism of the instruction is it shows how to do it, but doesn't really explain why you do things int he order as set out. For example here it shows how to do a few offset holes once the pattern is complete, but fails to tell you what you do offset holes for.
I think there might be a bit of trial and error in starting off, till i/we get the idea of it all in our heads.
If I remember correctly, Peter Parfitt (the inventor of the Parf system) made and posted up a video on his YouTube channel (The New Brit Workshop) showing the procedure he recommends....Perhaps taking a look at that may help you out?

Edit. Here is a link to the first of two videos he made.....

And a link to his video on the Isometric MFT top.....

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I have had a MFT for a couple of months. I am not an experienced wood worker.

I think that an isometric layout may give you different clamping options. If the the stock covers a column of holes then a clamp may not reach easily from the next column. With alternate rows at half the distance you should be able to reach without clamping on scrap to hold the stock.

I have not used my MFT for assembly but would assume that with a greater distance between rows that are square that there maybe more problems with smaller items.
I recently made a tracksaw cutting station, using the supplied plans. I had to adapt it a little, as I needed to be able to manhandle it easily, and I have a dodgy arm.
To utilise the ability to make longer cuts, I added a transverse cut zone, by removing a row of holes. The straight cutting zones are the red lines.
This top fits on my new BORA leg thingy just a treat, and locks on because I added a collar of 20mm timber below the top.


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