|Review by mmh||posted 08-18-2010 07:09 AM||5668 views||1 time favorited||23 comments|
I have a medium sized female hand and I’ve been told I have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome in my right hand but I’m not ready for surgery. I don’t want to be out of commission that long and the pain is not constant or severe.
I’ve been using a 5” 4.8 lb. weight Ryobi and also an old Porter Cable and they both vibrate the heck out of my hand even with using two special shock absorbing gloves. I hold the sander with one hand to move around my cane handles and shafts so it is constantly being lifted and swirled around so not to make flat marks on my round surfaced project. Not exactly what the machine was designed for, but that’s how I use it.
I recently went to purchase the low profile Porter Cable orbital sander on sale ($115.) and found that the design was so awkward that you need the hands of a male gorilla to use it one handed. I immediately asked for a refund upon the demonstration when I went to pick it up from the store and inquired about the Festool orbital sander. The Festool is much lighter, about 2.4 lbs., and although still a little large in the neck I can hold it pretty easily with one hand. BUT, the real selling point here was that when it was plugged in and turned on, there is almost NO vibration. The sander doesn’t even feel like it’s on, so I opted to give in and invest in my physical well being so not to have to submit to surgery for the time being. For $170. I think I am ahead of the game for the lack of wear and tear on my hand and arm. I could have easily purchased another sander for $59.95 at HD and suffered for a few more years before finally getting the Festool, but why? If you’re hurting yourself while using your tools then the fun and safety involved will be replaced with frustation and pain.
My only gripes are that the neck of this sander is still a little large (and squarish) for my medium size ladies hand, but if I hold it from the front side I can get a decent grip on it to turn, lift and twist. The other gripe is that they made the vent holes so completely different that you can’t use any other brand of sanding discs than Festool. The eight holes are located on the outer rim so even if you wanted to cut your own holes from 5 hole or other brand 8 hole sanding discs, there’d be so many holes you’d have nothing to sand with. You could try and purchase no hole discs and cut your own, but you’ll probably save more time and money by just buying their brand. Just another stick-in-the-ribs marketing ploy one has to deal with.
I haven’t invested in the Festool filter system yet, someday soon, but meanwhile I can hook it up to my 4 gallon Craftsman wet/dry vac and still have some dust collection, be it whimpy, but cheap. There is a graduated rubber attachment that can be cut to fit the 1.5” diameter vac hose to the Festool sander for about $6. I purchased this and the sander through my local Woodworkers Club, Woodcraft store and they were most accomodating.
UPDATE: I have recently invested in the Festool Dust Extractor CT26 and thus far have found it to be a quality machine worth investing in. It is much quieter than the cheap option as mentioned above (for 10 times the money, one should hope so). The powerful, relatively quiet motor is impressive. I’ve purchased the larger diameter hose to hook up to the spindle sander and with an extra nozzel attachment this works quite well even if the nozzel is not a tight fit. There is still some noise with this set up because the suction is creating a slight whistling noise, but it’s still half the decible of the Craftsman.
The hose is quite sturdy and flexible, but being heavier it creates somewhat pf a python of a wrestling match to coil in a small work area. The unit is somewhat compact and the dust bags I’m told can be reused if carefully emptied. The HEPA filters may not be readily noticed, but are one of the reasons I purchased this unit instead of the orange competitor. After speaking with a technician who’s company sold several brands of similar tools, he highly recommended Festool for their quality and self implemented units adheaing to HEPA standards. In other words, they have raised the bar themselves to include HEPA standards in their units before any regulatory steps have made it mandatory by law.
I hope to buy a good machine once, not a crappy one twice.
-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe