MFT tops

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TRITON

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As im looking to build a mft bench set up I came across these at a fairly cheap price.
MTF tops. in moisture resistant mdf, plain mdf and ply, but the plain mdf is £55 inc postage.

I was considering buying the parf system which retails at £150, plus you need to buy a board, plus you need their 20mm drill bit(at another 46 quid) and then of course you've got the cost of the time and hassle of getting the top marked out and drilled, and while all that i suppose is satisfying to do, and you can make any number, just how many times realistically are you going to be producing a new mft top ?.

All in all £55 is a steal considering the time and expense you are saving, and while it isnt hdf, even the parf system show them doing it in plain mdf, and if its good enough for them.....

So if anyone is interested and doesnt fancy shelling out, then this might be a quick and fairly priced option.
 

MikeK

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I was considering buying the parf system which retails at £150, plus you need to buy a board, plus you need their 20mm drill bit(at another 46 quid) and then of course you've got the cost of the time and hassle of getting the top marked out and drilled, and while all that i suppose is satisfying to do, and you can make any number, just how many times realistically are you going to be producing a new mft top ?.

If you are referring to the original UJK Parf Guide System for £150, it comes with the 20mm cutter. However, this system has been replaced by the UJK Parf Mk II Guide System for £200. It also comes with the 20mm cutter (this is the system I have).

I do not think Festool guarantees the accuracy of the hole pattern or hole diameter in its MFT/3 tables. This could be the reason the guide rail brackets and fence attach and reference from the extruded side rails and not the holes in the top. If you are interested in a work surface with lots of 20mm holes for clamping and are not concerned about the accuracy, the MFT/3 top might be ideal.

Making your own top with the Parf guide does take time, but I am confident the 10x20 hole pattern in my 1x2-meter worktop is as accurate as any woodworker could need or want. I don't know when I will need to make another top, but the only expense will be the Valchromat. My lesson learned was to use a backer board when drilling the 20mm holes to reduce the likelihood of blowout from the large cutter as it exited the Valchromat top. Had I thought about this, I would be able to flip the top over when it became too abused (and I do abuse it). I could still use the top by flipping it over, but about one third of the 200 holes have rough edges.
 

petermillard

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There might just be a video out soon on a modestly popular YouTube channel that compares the UJK Parf Guide Mk2 with the Trend MFT/jig and the RSPro jig.

But every jig costs more than a basic MFT top from cncdesign.co.uk (aka Rick in Wrexham) who knocks out an MFT/3 replacement top for £38 + shipping. Great tops, I used one for my basic back garden MFT build. 👍
 
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Doug71

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I've bought 4 MFT tops from cnc design and have been happy with them, they do matching dogs at a fair price too.

Presume we are talking the same place, think Peter has an s on the end of design in the web address that shouldn't be there 🤔


 

Spectric

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What you lose with buying a ready made top is flexability, make it yourself and the size/ shape is down to you. The other question is how much use is it going to get because I class them as something that will not last forever and the more use it gets then the sooner it could need replacing. Then for me I do not find just having the 20mm holes makes for a complete setup for me so I also route in the dovetail slots for using microjig clamps and fitings which transforms the whole experience. Now apart from Parf and the RS template jig there is also the FC32 system from Frank which allows you to use your trim router to make the holes but as yet I have not figured out how it fully works. For me I would like to use the trim router and the Parf system, so no drill but instead a hole that would take a 30mm bush and now another level of hole drilling would be possible, no issues with tilting the drill as the router is all plunge.
 

TRITON

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Well I'll take that all on board and reconsider buying the parf system mk2.
I was watching the chap who designed the system's you tube on how to set it up and make your own boards.
It's nice to see the guy who actually developed the system explain it al out. and the vid doesnt make it look too tricky.
 

Bojam

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Well I'll take that all on board and reconsider buying the parf system mk2.
I was watching the chap who designed the system's you tube on how to set it up and make your own boards.
It's nice to see the guy who actually developed the system explain it al out. and the vid doesnt make it look too tricky.

The Parf system is actually really straightforward. A little tedious maybe but not as bad as I imagined and - as MikeK said - the accuracy is very impressive. Do follow the instructions though as there is a logic to the order of drilling.

The upfront investment is not trivial but once you have the jig you can use it to make as many MFT style tops as you want. And you can make them in whatever shape and size you need and can even create customised hole layouts including isometric patterns if required (see Peter Parfitt's videos for demos of this). The only consumables in the system are the drill bits. I bought a spare 20mm TCT boring bit for the future.
 

ian33a

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I have the Parf II system and rate it very highly.

I also own the dust hub that Peter actually built in one of his videos and had the pleasure of spending a few hours with Peter and his wife when I bought it from him. Peter is one of those people who is confident in what he does but what he designs and what he says makes perfect sense.

Parf II is not cheap but it's easy and very accurate provided you follow the instructions and take care. There's no messing about with shims or any of that stuff and even large surfaces remain accurate provided you start in the middle and work outwards.

I considered buying an off the shelf MFT board but I wanted something a little non standard and the Parf II allowed me to achieve that.
 

johna.clements

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I am newish to wood working, I have built a shed and extended the space under the stairs and put a door on it.

I have purchased a ready made MFT top.
£55 after deliver is obviously a lot less than £200 for the parf system plus the material. I would have to make five standard size tops before it would break even. If each top lasts a three or four years I will be in my mid seventies before it would be cheaper to make my own standard tops. I have no flexibility for the future but there is no room in my shed for anything bigger, the standard size is about the biggest that i can fit in the corner and walk around and I am small. If I moved house and had a bigger shed, a basement where I had scope for expansion maybe the parf system would be a better idea. Also as someone who is new to woodworking I do not know how much time I will end up using it.

I would assume that there is no reason why you can not take a saw to a top if say you wanted two small assembly tables.
 

bertterbo

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I think there is a market for someone on ebay (or ideally a simple website) to produce MFT tops that allow you to choose the hole layout.

Nothing complicated. Perhaps just a grid of the original holes with checkboxes so you can draw out the pattern you want.

Granted it would cost more as then each piece is custom made, so you can't benefit from building up a stock. But I would be quite happy to pay extra for it.
 

johna.clements

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I think there is a market for someone on ebay (or ideally a simple website) to produce MFT tops that allow you to choose the hole layout.

I see no reason why an order sheet could not be produced where you could add more rows, columns or or ask for a non standard "standard" arrangement. other holes could be entered as coordinates into the order form. You could also ask for different sized and shapped holes. Then the cnc machine just cuts the extra rows and holes at the coordinates that the customer typed in.

You would pay more for the material as there would be more waste. The individual handling of the board would also cost more.
 

PDW125

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If you went for standard board sizes (1200 x 600 for example) then you could set up that there was a drill pattern that could just include or exclude certain rows or columns. CNC machine time would be your only variable, or the additional wear cost on bits for each hole drilled. At that point you’re at say £15 material cost and then 25p/hole or something similar.
 

johnwalls26

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I bought the mft top shown on Amazon, but cheaper direct from Lasersmith. I mount it on trestles with wooden laths securing with inverted veritas platform saddles.
 
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