Festool sanders

Does anybody have any experience with the Festool Rotex sanders?  I am very interested in upgrading sanders, and am leaning towards a Rotex, but I am not sure how well the do as a finish sander.  I will be purchasing a vac also, and plan on getting a demo CT26, that is the previous model, with a HEPA filter but doesn't have the EPA approval foe Lead Paint Mitigation.

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RE: Festool sanders

Here's a post I did several months ago. It include Festool - I like a lot!!

Post is here: http://www.clcboats.com/forum/clcforum/thread/7039.html

There's some follow up in the same post. 



Wood dust is toxic and everyone reacts differently to it and can vary w the type of wood. I've one woodworking friend that no longer works w walnut due to an allergic reaction he develops every time he worked with it. It was just a slight itch in his arms. Here's a link to a good article on the toxicity of working around wood and precautions. It's from fine woodworking, a reputable org. http://www.finewoodworking.com/Workshop/WorkshopPDF.aspx?id=2013

15 years ago, I got serious about wood dust and outfitted my very small but high quality shop w an Onieda  dust collector. It had three immediate impacts: the shop is not covered in a thick layer of dust ( do u know that wood dust is explosive? I didn't for a long time.); the air quality is better; and I feel safer working in the shop. Further, unless working on a machine, I work outside - quite viable on the central coast of California. Even outside, sanding creates a lot of dust in the air which lands on your skin and in your lungs.

Sanders and routers are the messiest. I now use a vaccum on all my portable tools as well. A few years ago, I decided to move up from a 5" orbital sander to a 6" - it has 44% more sanding  area so cuts down the sanding time by about 30%. I usually sand to 4000 grit going from 80. 120, 180, 220, 320, 400, 1000, 2000, 4000, the two levels of polishing compound and finally wax - 12 levels. The finish on hardwood is unparalleled. Using a 6" sander made a diff. My point however is that I bought a sander with an integrated vacuum system and it has made an incredible reduction in airborne dust, even outside. The sander motor is designed to blow air out a hole in the middle of the paper which pushes the sanding dust to the outside of the paper and the vacuum picks it up thru 8 holes on the outside edge of the paper. It works extraordinarily well. I see almost no dust in the air. The paper never clogs either.  Also, I keep the sander in small room and just bring the long hose out to the work. The HEPA filters work very well and I don't see dust exhaust in the room. 

All This comes at a cost. The sander, vacuum, and gobs of paper cost ~$900. I know it's a lot of money but it sounds like u are a serious boatbuilder. Working w wood, especially over the long term, can be hazardous. I decided the money was less important than my health and woodworking as an avocation for the rest of my life was important to me so I took action. 

Here's a link to the sander and vac I got. I've no connection with any party. There are other companies that sell Festool and Fein is another company that sells sander/vac systems. I have to say that I'm very satisfied w the Festool sander. Occationally, someone has them on sale. If I remember right, I got mine from festooljunky.com. 


If you've built 4 boats, you'll likely build more. Take action to protect yourself along the way. 

Btw, another protective piece of protective gear I wear is a Trend Airshield Pro. It's a full face shield that blows HEPA-filtered fresh air across your face and keeps any wood that may get thrown at u from a machine from hitting your face. Also u can easily wear glasses under it. 

I a have been woodworking for 40+ years and it took a long time to work all this into my regimen so I thought I'd pass it on for those that are serious about the craft. 



For those interested: www.michaelreadywoodworking.com

Im a serious amateur, not a working pro. I have day job but working in wood since I was 16. 



RE: Festool sanders

These are my feeling exactly.  That's why I am going today to purchase a sander and vac system from Festool.  The question is about the Rotex sander which is dual mode, fast removal and finish mode. My problem is most tools that do multiple functions, ususally don't do any really well.  However, the two Festool tools I have are extraodinary to work with, within the design functions.  I purchased their jigsaw to cut the hatches on my build, rather than use my well used and abused Bosch.  (25yrs old?).  What a difference in quality of cut.  I have a job coming up where I need to contain dust, so I can justify part of the expense.  I too am tired of breathing sanding dust.

RE: Festool sanders

I'm a professional woodworker, and I own a bunch of Festool stuff -routers, vacuums, sanders, saws, etc. I have the Rotex 150. It's a beast of a sander, and is appropriate for heavy duty sanding. I would never use it as a finishing sander. I previously owned one of their finish sanders, an ETS 125, but I did not like it - too skittish and left swirl marks. My favorite day-to-day finish sander is a DeWalt 5" variable speed unit that I got from Home Depot for $65. Works fine with the Festool vac, uses readily available discs, and is more than aggressive enough for sanding soft cedar or plywood on a kayak.



RE: Festool sanders

There's a pretty lively real-world review of sanders here.

CLC's review of the Festool and others

RE: Festool sanders

I did purchase the 5" Festool Rotex sander, after attending a Festool Demo at my local tool seller.  I was able to buy his demo vac at a good price.  Today, I sanded the deck and hull sides, prepping for the last coat of epoxy.  By not running at full speed, I found the sander very easy to use.  A different grip than the PC sanders I have.  To feather the overlapping glass cloth from the deck install, I used the rotary action, slower speed, 120 grit paper.  I had to pay attention, but it was very easy to feather it to blend in.  On random orbital, it was very controlable.  Of course you are not conderned about swirl marks in the epoxy, but, it appeared to not leave any.  Their paper seems to last longer than th PC paper, or the Sait brand that I use.  The price of paper is close to the PC paper, but seems to last longer.

I am a newly retired professional Home Builder, GC, and the last couple years, doing kitchens, including building the cabinets, and doing some boat interior repairs.  I am a festool convert, these being hopefully the last tools I will be buying.  I am going to have a shop sale in the near future, to thin out the accumulation of tools.  Probably 6 extra sanders, my original CAST IRON Makita miter box, extra nail guns, sawzalls, battery tools, etc.  Hopefully this will equal what I just spent on the sander, vac and paper.  I previously purchased their jig saw, my 25 year old Bosch had to much play to cut out the hatch in the stripped deck, and that is a great tool.  As I sort through my tools, it is interesting the decline in quality over the years in the most popular brands of tools.  That may be why I have been drawn to Festool.  It is just nice to use a quality tool.

I guess after the SW Sport, I will have to build the Petrel, just to justify the expenditures.

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