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Author Topic: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs  (Read 3965 times)

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Offline fp1337

  • Posts: 53
MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« on: July 21, 2021, 04:23 PM »
I recently got an MFT/3 and a bunch of dogs and accessories from Axminster/UJK. The dogs are excellent and accurate. The MFT/3 top... Not so much. My cuts weren't exactly square, so I checked whether the hole pattern was actually straight and square, and it's not. I put a bunch of dogs in 8 consecutive holes and set my Starrett straight edge against them, a few of the holes are out of line by at least 1/2mm or more. Then I set up the guide rail perpendicular to that line using 2 Parf super dogs and UJK guide clips. Took my trusty square to this setup and it's not square by 2mm due to adding up all these little errors. I have 2 more, brand new MFT/3 tops (Official Festool parts), all have the same problem.

I know these holes are just for clamping. I was sold on the fact that these tops are CNC machined and super accurate, so I got into the dog craze, but now I'm realizing this might not be the case. Any other dog user has noticed the issue?
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 06:05 PM by fp1337 »

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Offline squall_line

  • Posts: 776
Re: MFT/3 holes not lined up enough for dogs
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2021, 04:44 PM »
Just trying to make sure we're parsing the post correctly...

"I recently got an MFT/3 and a bunch of dogs and accessories from Axminster/UJK."

"I have 2 more brand new MFT/3 tops"

Does that mean you purchased an MFT/3 and 2 tops from Axminster?  Are they 3rd party tops, or are they Festool?

There are a number of accessories out there (such as the Dashboard PWS) that use the holes to register a rail for squareness; it would be useless if the holes were out of square from one another, so this is definitely concerning.

Offline fp1337

  • Posts: 53
Re: MFT/3 holes not lined up enough for dogs
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2021, 05:07 PM »
Long story about having 3 tops, it was the result of an ordering snafu. But yes they are official tops. The dogs are from Axminster.

I would say that yes it's concerning if absolute accuracy is required, for example when cutting square.

I've just checked the entire top and I believe the variation exists across the long edge but not the short edge. This indicates that Festool probably has a fixed jig cutting an entire row of 7 holes at once, then the jig moves over to the next row of 7 about 96mm away, but that movement isn't extremely straight, resulting in variation in placement from the previous row of 7. Hard to explain better without a pic.

I'm not expecting much sympathy from this forum because I'm criticizing Festool, but at the end of the day they never made a claim to accuracy of the hole pattern, so this is more a reflection of what many people think the MFT is, not necessarily what Festool says the MFT is...

The point of my post is to confirm my finding with others that may have noticed this. I wonder whether @Peter Parfitt has thoughts to share on this? I may try his hole cutting system next.... If it's accurate enough...
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 05:19 PM by fp1337 »

Offline afish

  • Posts: 601
Re: MFT/3 holes not lined up enough for dogs
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2021, 05:21 PM »
Im pretty sure Festool makes no guarantee of squareness. I will also say, I have never had good luck with getting good, repeatable, square cuts with dogs.  Im sure some will disagree with me but its a good system for field work where things dont need to be super accurate. If you are planning on building an entire kitchen then I would not be cutting with dogs.  Errors are cumulative and if you start of out of square the problems only compound as you go.  If you want the best mft type cutting system is with a fence and dashboard rail bracket. This allows you to set up a good known square cutting table. My work flow was first I would to rip everything on the tablesaw and crosscut on a DIY 4x8 MFT with a rail hinge and fence.  I started with Parf guide MKII and dogs and never got great results. Good, yes but not great until I went with a fence and rail bracket and (NOT the Festool Rail bracket) that thing has a whole list of issues. If you are going to buy a rail hinge you want the Dashboard unit.  I have not seen a single complaint from anyone who has purchased one.   

A lot of people have the notion that just because something is cut on a CNC its perfect or close to it.  Coming from someone who owns and operates a CNC this can be a pretty big misconception.  There is a large difference between machines, operators and setups.  CNC's require maintenance and tuning, a CNC will only cut as good as the the guy who set it up.  Dont just assume because someone says CNC its going to be perfect.  I have seen CNC's cut grossly out of square.  Plus even IF the top is square and there is no slop in the hole if the dog isnt perfectly perpendicular to the top can cause issues to. There are just to many variables for me especially when materials are as expensive as they are these days I dont want to worry if my cuts are going to be square I just want to toss my materials on there and cut without worries or issues. 

Offline afish

  • Posts: 601
Re: MFT/3 holes not lined up enough for dogs
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2021, 05:26 PM »


The point of my post is to confirm my finding with others that may have noticed this. I wonder whether @Peter Parfitt has thoughts to share on this? I may try his hole cutting system next.... If it's accurate enough...
[/quote]

Nothing against Peter but the money spent on a MKII is much better spent on a dashboard rail bracket.  I have NO affiliation with them but been down this road. 

Offline fp1337

  • Posts: 53
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2021, 05:33 PM »
@afish I appreciate your answer and agree 100%. And again I'm on board with what you said about Festool not making that claim for squareness of the holes. There is a whole dog industry that grew out of a misconception, I'm afraid. It sucks that I spent good coin on this system only to find that out.

Now I'm interested in your setup.... Mind sharing a link or 2?

Offline afish

  • Posts: 601
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2021, 06:07 PM »
Here is a link to the rail bracket.  If you do a search on the forums you should find plenty of reading material about the dashboard unit.  I no longer cut on an MFT "type" table except for the occasional non critical items.  I still have a mft top but its just used for fixturing and clamping these days. However when I did it was done on a 4x8 MFT type bench and a piece of 8020 as a fence with a rail bracket.  When you cut this way your rail is squared off the fence and is totally independent of the dog holes.  I know there are some others that use the dashboard 08g8 I think is a happy user.  He will probably chime in at some point too on his experience.   
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 06:10 PM by afish »

Offline afish

  • Posts: 601
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2021, 06:14 PM »
Here is another link to an old thread about getting square cuts

Offline fp1337

  • Posts: 53
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2021, 06:17 PM »
Here is a link to the rail bracket.  If you do a search on the forums you should find plenty of reading material about the dashboard unit.  I no longer cut on an MFT "type" table except for the occasional non critical items.  I still have a mft top but its just used for fixturing and clamping these days. However when I did it was done on a 4x8 MFT type bench and a piece of 8020 as a fence with a rail bracket.  When you cut this way your rail is squared off the fence and is totally independent of the dog holes.  I know there are some others that use the dashboard 08g8 I think is a happy user.  He will probably chime in at some point too on his experience.

Thanks for the links, will read.

Now I realize that I saw this system before, but passed based on the cost (makes Festool look cheap). I guess if I only got the bracket this could get me where I want to be? From the look of it, it looks similar in function to the MFT accessories (which I didn't purchase), albeit I assume without the problems reported everywhere. The video on the website shows the guy squaring his rail to the dog holes, so this has me a little concerned. I suppose I could always use a square...

Offline squall_line

  • Posts: 776
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2021, 06:38 PM »
Here is a link to the rail bracket.  If you do a search on the forums you should find plenty of reading material about the dashboard unit.  I no longer cut on an MFT "type" table except for the occasional non critical items.  I still have a mft top but its just used for fixturing and clamping these days. However when I did it was done on a 4x8 MFT type bench and a piece of 8020 as a fence with a rail bracket.  When you cut this way your rail is squared off the fence and is totally independent of the dog holes.  I know there are some others that use the dashboard 08g8 I think is a happy user.  He will probably chime in at some point too on his experience.

Thanks for the links, will read.

Now I realize that I saw this system before, but passed based on the cost (makes Festool look cheap). I guess if I only got the bracket this could get me where I want to be? From the look of it, it looks similar in function to the MFT accessories (which I didn't purchase), albeit I assume without the problems reported everywhere. The video on the website shows the guy squaring his rail to the dog holes, so this has me a little concerned. I suppose I could always use a square...

Festool's pricing is so random when it comes to the MFT/3 setup.  The standard table for USD 615 or the Set for USD 735 (extra $120), which includes the $195 CMS Miter Gauge, $110 FS 1080 rail, Rail deflector, flip stop, and clamp, along with the fairly useless rail bracket and swivel.

Granted, $259 just to get a square rail, without the rail itself, is definitely a spender, but you definitely get more for your money starting with the MFT/3 set overall.

This pricing scheme is one of a few reasons I still haven't pulled the trigger on an MFT/3 table.  I have a bunch of other reasons, too (many nebulous offers of potential used tables for sale), but the pricing of the tables is a big one.  I think I'd bite my tongue and pay USD 735 for a full setup, but the next USD 615 for a second table makes me want to hurl.  I think that's why the Dashboard table is as much as it is; almost the same as two MFT's, and much sturdier.  I'd still prefer two separate/separable tables compared to one large Dashboard table, though.

Offline fp1337

  • Posts: 53
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2021, 06:44 PM »
Festool's pricing is so random when it comes to the MFT/3 setup.  The standard table for USD 615 or the Set for USD 735 (extra $120), which includes the $195 CMS Miter Gauge, $110 FS 1080 rail, Rail deflector, flip stop, and clamp, along with the fairly useless rail bracket and swivel.

Granted, $259 just to get a square rail, without the rail itself, is definitely a spender, but you definitely get more for your money starting with the MFT/3 set overall.

This pricing scheme is one of a few reasons I still haven't pulled the trigger on an MFT/3 table.  I have a bunch of other reasons, too (many nebulous offers of potential used tables for sale), but the pricing of the tables is a big one.  I think I'd bite my tongue and pay USD 735 for a full setup, but the next USD 615 for a second table makes me want to hurl.  I think that's why the Dashboard table is as much as it is; almost the same as two MFT's, and much sturdier.  I'd still prefer two separate/separable tables compared to one large Dashboard table, though.

I went through the same thing but went with the naked table since I figured the crappy accessories were going to gather dust and take up space. I already have all lengths of rails... And I thought I would spend the difference on dogs and such. Which I MORE than did....  [eek] With pretty lame results. I like that I can space up 2 tables if needed for super large stuff.

Offline 08G8V8

  • Posts: 146
MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2021, 06:49 PM »
I built a MFT style table from 8020 material, 3’ wide x 5’ long, and drilled the top using the Parf system. I had a fence along the long edge and used dogs to hold the guide rail. I assumed I did a good job and had a square pattern of holes, but after a bunch of test cuts and 5 cut tests, I found out it wasn’t. I needed to shim the guide rail I think it was .035/.040” at the dog at the start of the cut to get it square to the fence.




I have since bought the Dashboard Guide Rail Bracket and easily square it to the fence using a TSO Precision Triangle. It works great and is very well made.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

Offline fp1337

  • Posts: 53
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2021, 06:53 PM »
I built a MFT style table from 8020 material, 3’ wide x 5’ long, and drilled the top using the Parf system. I had a fence along the long edge and used dogs to hold the guide rail. I assumed I did a good job and had a square pattern of holes, but after a bunch of test cuts and 5 cut tests, I found out it wasn’t. I needed to shim the guide rail I think it was .035/.040” and the dog at he start of the cut to get it square to the fence.

I have since bought the Dashboard Guide Rail Bracket and easily square it to the fence using a TSO Precision Triangle. It works great and is very well made.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

Thank you for the feedback, and I was just reading your posts on the other thread. I will say that apparently, You did as good a job as Festool with your holes...  [big grin]

What are the various parts I need to order from Dashboard, coming from a naked MFT table? I don't have a fence at all.

BTW I also noticed that the MFT extrusions are bowed (all 4 of them).
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 07:06 PM by fp1337 »

Offline 08G8V8

  • Posts: 146
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2021, 06:59 PM »
You just need the GuidE Rail Bracket and choose the type of guide rail you are using, and the type of table you are installing it on.

You can use any fence.  I am using an Incra fence now, but you can use a section of 8020, but the Incra fences are not very much money.

There is adjustability in the Dashboard Bracket, so I would think you could overcome the bowing rail…..but that really sucks hey aren’t straight. 


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Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 8903
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2021, 07:03 PM »
I had an issue with a Woodpeckers product several years ago and I got a hold of the Engineer that designed it. During that conversation he mentioned that he had taken 6 Festool MFT tops and placed them on Woodpeckers’s vision system for measuring. He wouldn’t tell me the exact results but he did confirm that none of the 6 were square or even close to square.

Offline afish

  • Posts: 601
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2021, 07:04 PM »
The only reason I would use a MFT/3 is if I needed it to be portable or breakdown but even then I would get a different option.  Im fortunate enough to not have needed to do that and built a 4x8 MFT which doubled as my outfeed table for my tablesaw.  IF you or the significant other needs to park in the garage then I get it.  If not a more permanent type is way better.  For knock down type MFT I have always liked the chestnut folding MFT.  I dont think its being offered any longer.  Its unfortunate the originator didnt offer plans and only wanted to sell completed units but its a simple enough design anyone doing woodworking for more than a year should be able to make a reasonable copy based on the video.  If I was going to make some I would make 2 that where approx. 49x32 so you could make two benches that attached or tied the 2 together 32 inches appart via some spreaders and accepted a 3rd top in the middle to make a full 4x8 table if needed.


Offline fp1337

  • Posts: 53
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2021, 07:08 PM »
You just need the GuidE Rail Bracket and choose the type of guide rail you are using, and the type of table you are installing it on.

You can use any fence.  I am using an Incra fence now, but you can use a section of 8020, but the Incra fences are not very much money.

There is adjustability in the Dashboard Bracket, so I would think you could overcome the bowing rail…..but that really sucks hey aren’t straight. 


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

How did you end up attaching the Incra extrusion to the top?

Offline fp1337

  • Posts: 53
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2021, 07:09 PM »
I had an issue with a Woodpeckers product several years ago and I got a hold of the Engineer that designed it. During that conversation he mentioned that he had taken 6 Festool MFT tops and placed them on Woodpeckers’s vision system for measuring. He wouldn’t tell me the exact results but he did confirm that none of the 6 were square or even close to square.

Very interesting and not surprising after experiencing that myself. Now, how some people are building an entire business out of the supposed accuracy of the MFT top, and no one is noticing, is even more interesting....  [eek]
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 07:12 PM by fp1337 »

Offline 08G8V8

  • Posts: 146
MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2021, 07:15 PM »
You just need the GuidE Rail Bracket and choose the type of guide rail you are using, and the type of table you are installing it on.

You can use any fence.  I am using an Incra fence now, but you can use a section of 8020, but the Incra fences are not very much money.

There is adjustability in the Dashboard Bracket, so I would think you could overcome the bowing rail…..but that really sucks hey aren’t straight. 


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

How did you end up attaching the Incra extrusion to the top?
In the thread afish linked above, in post #65 there is a few pictures of the dogs. There is info on the dogs in that post.  They also required a threaded insert to accept a smaller screw to allow the head to insert in the Incra extrusion profile.


I also modified the Incra fence similar to another post in that same thread on 8020 extrusion.



You can see one of the dogs in the hole near the cut line.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 07:17 PM by 08G8V8 »

Offline afish

  • Posts: 601
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2021, 07:19 PM »
As far as the bowed rails you might be able to get some of the bow out by unscrewing the top in the middle and clamping them straight then re screwing the top down.  Im not 100% on that since I never owned a MFT/3 Im just going off pictures I have seen.  Can you use the festool 30 day window and return?  Festool makes some really good stuff and some not so great stuff.  Unfortunatly the MFT falls into the NOT category for me. For what they charge for it, it should be a lot better.   

Offline squall_line

  • Posts: 776
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2021, 07:30 PM »
Can you use the festool 30 day window and return?

Despite being near the median price of the various tools that Festool sells, the MFT/3 may or may not be considered an accessory and may or may  not be subject to the 1/2/3 warranty or 30 day return policy.  Every time I search, I find a different answer to that question.

Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 351
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2021, 07:32 PM »
I had an issue with a Woodpeckers product several years ago and I got a hold of the Engineer that designed it. During that conversation he mentioned that he had taken 6 Festool MFT tops and placed them on Woodpeckers’s vision system for measuring. He wouldn’t tell me the exact results but he did confirm that none of the 6 were square or even close to square.

Not directed to @Cheese, but probably more towards @TSO Products and @Peter Parfitt, etc.: Why doesn't someone come up with an eccentric dog? You'd put in three dogs of any species in an L shape, and then add and adjust the eccentric one to whatever sort of square you want to use.

Offline afish

  • Posts: 601
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2021, 07:43 PM »
I had thought about this as well when I did my 8020 fence as a way to square/adjust my fence since the old sliding saw we had at work used a similar setup to adjust the fence.  It would work in that situation but just having a eccentric dog I could see it constantly rotating slightly when getting bumped around and possibly making things even more out of square and since every hole has the potential of being out by varying degrees it would be way to finicky and problematic for my taste.  I dont want to waste time or money making test cuts or twisting some dog around.  I just want to cut and go without worrying. 

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 693
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2021, 08:26 PM »
I have absolutely zero experience with the official MFT3 tops, but I do have an entire 4' x 8' table that I drilled with the Parfit system and a cross-cut station drilled the same way, just not all of the holes.
Both of them are dead-on square and straight. Actually tested with a straight edge and feeler gauges.
I got mine before the MK2 version and if I was looking to buy it again, I would definitely get that one.
The other thing I would suggest is that if you make one with MDF, put some kind of finish on the MDF before drilling. It is nearly impossible to do afterward without messing up the holes.
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Offline fp1337

  • Posts: 53
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2021, 08:51 PM »
I have absolutely zero experience with the official MFT3 tops, but I do have an entire 4' x 8' table that I drilled with the Parfit system and a cross-cut station drilled the same way, just not all of the holes.
Both of them are dead-on square and straight. Actually tested with a straight edge and feeler gauges.
I got mine before the MK2 version and if I was looking to buy it again, I would definitely get that one.
The other thing I would suggest is that if you make one with MDF, put some kind of finish on the MDF before drilling. It is nearly impossible to do afterward without messing up the holes.

Good to see that it may be more accurate than the real MFT... About finishing the top, I feel like the friction provided by the raw MDF is a plus to prevent the pieces from moving around.

Offline afish

  • Posts: 601
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2021, 08:52 PM »
why would you drill out an entire 4x8 by hand with all that fancy machinery around?  I would think the owner would be having the CNC dept. make MFT type benches as a standard shop table... When I made my first 4x8 I was like who cares I will just cut wherever I want and make a new one if needed... After making the second one and not putting any finish on it my daughter set a spray jug on it and it leaked all over it and made a huge pimple in the middle the first day [mad] I quickly became allergic to making them and drilling the almost 400 holes by hand... There's no way I would do all that work with the CNC equipment you have mere feet away. If you where able to drill all 400 holes by hand perfectly square and plumb by hand you are a better man than me. Your boss is lucky to have you.   

Offline fp1337

  • Posts: 53
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2021, 08:54 PM »
Not directed to @Cheese, but probably more towards @TSO Products and @Peter Parfitt, etc.: Why doesn't someone come up with an eccentric dog? You'd put in three dogs of any species in an L shape, and then add and adjust the eccentric one to whatever sort of square you want to use.

I also feel like this would cross the red line into trying to fit a square peg in a round hole... The dogs were supposed to make things faster, not that tedious. A better suggestion would be, how about someone makes an actual accurate top?

Offline TSO_Products

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Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2021, 09:09 PM »
I had an issue with a Woodpeckers product several years ago and I got a hold of the Engineer that designed it. During that conversation he mentioned that he had taken 6 Festool MFT tops and placed them on Woodpeckers’s vision system for measuring. He wouldn’t tell me the exact results but he did confirm that none of the 6 were square or even close to square.

Not directed to @Cheese, but probably more towards @TSO Products and @Peter Parfitt, etc.: Why doesn't someone come up with an eccentric dog? You'd put in three dogs of any species in an L shape, and then add and adjust the eccentric one to whatever sort of square you want to use.

@dicktill - thanks for the suggestion about eccentric Dog design. We could obviously produce such a Dog but you would end with something that replaces known fixturing with an adjustable stop defeating the objective that you start with an automatically square reference Dog pattern.

A better approach would be to use the Mark 2 Parf Guide and place an accurate hole pattern where you need it (with 3mm "Rescue Holes added for later) and you are set. There is a reason why there are so many satisfied user. We know because we sold most of the many Parf Systems in the US. Yes there were problems in the beginning but customer service issues have become a true exception,

Hans


Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 351
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2021, 09:18 PM »
I had an issue with a Woodpeckers product several years ago and I got a hold of the Engineer that designed it. During that conversation he mentioned that he had taken 6 Festool MFT tops and placed them on Woodpeckers’s vision system for measuring. He wouldn’t tell me the exact results but he did confirm that none of the 6 were square or even close to square.

Not directed to @Cheese, but probably more towards @TSO Products and @Peter Parfitt, etc.: Why doesn't someone come up with an eccentric dog? You'd put in three dogs of any species in an L shape, and then add and adjust the eccentric one to whatever sort of square you want to use.

@dicktill - thanks for the suggestion about eccentric Dog design. We could obviously produce such a Dog but you would end with something that replaces known fixturing with an adjustable stop defeating the objective that you start with an automatically square reference Dog pattern.

A better approach would be to use the Mark 2 Parf Guide and place an accurate hole pattern where you need it (with 3mm "Rescue Holes added for later) and you are set. There is a reason why there are so many satisfied user. We know because we sold most of the many Parf Systems in the US. Yes there were problems in the beginning but customer service issues have become a true exception,

Hans

Thanks Hans, but an adjustable (but lockable, to address @afish 's concerns) eccentric dog (perhaps called "Dawg") would be oh-so-handy for those many users that already have MFT/3 or similar tops that are not square.

Offline Dr. P. Venkman

  • Posts: 168
Re: MFT/3 holes not accurate enough for dogs
« Reply #29 on: July 21, 2021, 09:45 PM »
If I recall correctly, UJK made a parf fence that had to be pulled and redesigned because so many people were having problems using them on MFT/3’s that had out-of-alignment holes.