This blog is about some of the electric tools that I use (I do most of my work with hand tools). I discovered the Festool brand from Germany many years ago through Lee Valley, Canada’s largest supplier of Festool products. Festool is a very good brand with high standards and well designed tools. They also have great warranties and stand by their products. I have now acquired 3 of their tools all of which get regular use in my workshop.
The first thing I purchased was the CT 26 Hepa Dust Extractor with an extra dust collection box and a vortex dust separator on top. This makes emptying the sawdust easy and almost no dust even goes into the actual vacuum bag in the CT 26. This is the perfect dust collection system for my small shop where I rarely use large power tools (table saw/drill press/planer) as I do most of my work by hand. This unit collects 99.97% of particulates down to 0.3 microns. Another thing I love is that it has a tool trigger setting (so you plug your tool into the unit and it comes on when you engage the tool).
I use this unit with both the other Festool tools I have, which are a Rotex RO125 5″ sander and a Domino Joiner (DF 700 EQ), plus with various tools (Makita planers) I already have which I have added adaptors so I can use them with the dust collector. The 5″ sander is dual mode, with both a gear driven aggresive mode and a random orbital mode for finishing. It is so good at collecting the dust that I rarely clean my shop! I like it because one sander can do the course sanding needed on hand split cedar to get it smooth, and also give it a nice finish, and act as a polisher for finishing table tops as well. Festool has a large variety of sanding disc’s available as well to meet all my needs, and they last very well compared to other sanding disc’s I have used in the past.
The Domino joining system is a whole new level of woodworking for me. I have been doing mortise and tenon joints by hand for 15 years. This suits me well as I am joining hand split cedar, so the wood is not straight or square to start with (so most tools are useless in this situation as they are all made for straight square wood). Most joints are between two pieces of wood that are curved or tapered, and don’t have flat faces matching each other. It has taken a while to get used to the idea that the domino can save me a lot of time and make tighter, cleaner mortises in my furniture, signs and frames. I don’t use it for everything, but where it works it is great. I basically have to match two pieces butted together and trace around them, marking out centres and sides to create a grid that I can draw on the edges that will butt together. I use the grid to show me where to drill the mortises on the pieces to be joined. Then clamp them so I can mount or hand hold the domino and drill the mortises. The tenons are hardwood, and essentially float in the mortises created in the two pieces being joined. This creates tight, solid joints that can be glued easily and assembled quickly.
Great stuff, these Festool tools! I hope to acquire more in the future as the needs arise… hope you find this a helpful bit of information if you are looking at new tools for your woodworking adventures.