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If you were only going to own one sander, this is it!

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Review by Chris posted 06-21-2008 02:19 AM 2767 views 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
If you were only going to own one sander, this is it! If you were only going to own one sander, this is it! If you were only going to own one sander, this is it! Click the pictures to enlarge them

Over the last couple of months both my palm sander and ROS have bit the dust; of course they were about 8 or nine years old. I received this as a fathers day gift and boy am I glad I did. I decided to try out the claims I’ve heard regarding the efficient dust collection and life of the paper, not to mention the speed that it smooths a rough surface.

A couple of months back I picked up a Big Leaf Maple slab and had done nothing with it; You can see the rough saw marks in the first picture. I started with 36 grit and worked my way up to 400 grit. All in all it took about 15 minutes to get to the stage were I applied a little Waterlox and took the final picture. The majority of the time was spent with the 36 grit; As you can see in the second picture it’s hard to tell I even used it. That’s impressive in my book!

A Couple of Observations:
1) When in the aggressive or Rotex mode it can be a little hard to handle
2) You can’t use this without the dust extractor! I did this while wearing black dress slacks. No dust what so ever!
3) The paper life is phenomenal. I used that same 36 grit paper on some rough Red Oak and a 72” long 18” wide rough Pauduck slab and it still looks new.

If you could only own one sander, this is it! It is a little pricey (thus the 4 star rating), however with the extended life of the consumables, total control of dust, and a 3 year warranty I think it’s hard to beat.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein




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Chris

1867 posts in 2738 days



14 comments so far

View FloridaUFGator's profile

FloridaUFGator

39 posts in 2760 days


#1 posted 06-21-2008 03:34 AM

Chris, I strongly concur. I too own this sander and your title states it perfectly. This was my first Festool purchase and because of the quality I haven’t turned back. The dust collection is a little too bizarre for my tastes :-) As you are using it you wonder where all the dust is going. I also own the ETS 125. If you are in the market for a smaller , finer sander don’t look any further. The 150 is great but a little too big for some situations. The 125 takes over from there.

-- ...and remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these — safety glasses - Norm Abram

View Doug S.'s profile

Doug S.

295 posts in 2455 days


#2 posted 06-21-2008 03:45 AM

Ditto. The DC is so good I was able to do a lot of the work on my bench INSIDE the house this last winter vs an unheated garage shop where glue and finish wouldn’t set up. I wouldn’t hesistate to use one indoors again. The hard-to-handle aspect of the agressive mode is especially noticable on the coarse grit discs but tends to get get easier once you’re using 100+ grits. Yet even then it’s still easier on the hand than the almost painful vibration of my previous ROS (a DW) where even a padded glove didn’t help and your hands were sore for days afterward.

-- Use the fence Luke

View daltxguy's profile

daltxguy

1373 posts in 2661 days


#3 posted 06-21-2008 03:43 PM

I don’t get it. So the sandpaper is good or the vacuum is good or both – does that make the sander really good? I’ve got a Makita palm sander and Makita belt sander. Both are now over 20 years old. I call that quality…and I probably paid $100 total for both of them (ok, I bought one of them used) but I call that value. I can get the sandpaper that clean with a quick pass with the gum sole of an old shoe. So, I have to stop once in a while.

Can there be justification for a $500 sander? How much of that is quality tool and how much is marketing?

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View teenagewoodworker's profile

teenagewoodworker

2727 posts in 2515 days


#4 posted 06-21-2008 04:58 PM

looks nice. i think when my current sander bites the dust i’ll go for this one. thanks for the post!

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7822 posts in 2395 days


#5 posted 06-22-2008 06:14 AM

This sander makes a dust mask unnecessary. It’s a good
sander. I’m not blown away by the speed but I guess
it’s faster than 5” sanders. The rotex mode takes a bit
of getting used to… you have to be careful when working
with the coarser papers because in Rotex it can leave
pronounced sanding marks that are hard to get out.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8791 posts in 2846 days


#6 posted 06-23-2008 10:16 PM

I have not been unhappy with any of my Festool. Pricey? Well, you pay more upfront but it returns big dividends as a pro.

Thanks for the review!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View FloridaUFGator's profile

FloridaUFGator

39 posts in 2760 days


#7 posted 06-24-2008 01:28 AM

Daltxguy – think of it as not just a $500 sander but more of a sanding ‘system’. I agree that if you use this just as a sander (with little or no dust collection) it becomes a very expensive Makita. However, when you hook it up to one of the Festool dust collectors it really shines. I’ve managed to replace my Craftsman palm sander, Ridgid orbital sander and Porter Cable belt sander with this thing. You can also buy other ‘pads’ for it that make it very useful for waxing and buffing your vehicles. There goes another tool it replaces (my Dewalt buffer / polisher). That is 4 tools that I purchased (for just under $500) that thing easily outshines. With regard to the sandpaper, the Festool sandpaper is very good. I’ved used others on it but they don’t hold up nearly as long.

Also, I would be willing to bet that any Makita tool you purchase today won’t last you another 20 years (unless they sit in a box). I love Makita tools (the older ones) and have a few. I won’t give them up. However, I won’t buy any more of them. However, I feel very confident in the manufacturing and quality of the Festool products. They are VERY well made and VERY solid.

-- ...and remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these — safety glasses - Norm Abram

View JasonK's profile

JasonK

55 posts in 2542 days


#8 posted 06-25-2008 02:28 PM

Chris,
I couldn’t agree more. I just got an RO125 and love it. Though is can be a little jumpy in the Rotex mode, I’m sure that this thing is going to seriously reduce my sanding time and effort.

-- Measure once; Cut Twice, Three Times, Four Times...

View Chris 's profile

Chris

1867 posts in 2738 days


#9 posted 06-25-2008 03:43 PM

I spoke with a Festool rep and he informed me that adjusting the speed on the dust extractor can help with the “jumpiness” when in the Rotex mode.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View daltxguy's profile

daltxguy

1373 posts in 2661 days


#10 posted 06-28-2008 12:44 AM

OK, I checked. Here in NZ, this same tool sells for $950. Keep in mind that salaries in NZ are about 2/3 that in the US ( in terms of USD), so compare this to whether you would pay the equivalent of $1500 for this tool. Still worth it?

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View Chris 's profile

Chris

1867 posts in 2738 days


#11 posted 06-28-2008 03:54 AM

Steve,

Would I spend $1500 for a sander? It would depend (non-committal answer, I know), you see I am the sort of guy that will save his pennies for ever in order to buy the better quality item instead of buying and replacing a few times.

If I were doing this for a living; I would not hesitate. As a hobby; time for a little introspection. I can tell you that I for one have seen way to many so called top-end brands that turned out to be mediocre. This one is most definitely not.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Grumpy's profile

Grumpy

19693 posts in 2598 days


#12 posted 06-28-2008 10:20 AM

Chris, looks like Festool lives up to it’s reputation.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7822 posts in 2395 days


#13 posted 06-29-2008 06:57 AM

Makita makes a sander that is similar and apparently
works just as well. These are used in the boat-stripping
industry by workers sanding hulls.

Festool stuff is good but in some countries the prices
are just insane. I wouldn’t pay 9 or 1500 for this sander.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Ecocandle's profile

Ecocandle

1013 posts in 1813 days


#14 posted 02-26-2010 08:34 AM

I don’t have the 150, but I got to play with it at a demo the last two days. The rep showed me how to hold it, to avoid chatter. I started with a rough cut piece of walnut and in very short time, worked it to a polished glass surface.

He also gave me specific instructions on using the orbital mode and the rotary mode. It is possible that some of the chatter issues you folks are having are fixable. I can’t explain it very well, but my light girp on the back part of the sander and a firmer, but not too tight grip on the front handle, made it very smooth.

I am pretty new to woodworking, so I didn’t really know how to use a sander like that, and he said that some people, who are use to other models, try to use it the same way, and that produces the chatter.

I don’t know if I will buy the 150, but I was impressed with their new version, which also eliminates the heat the builds up.

Great reveiw. Thanks.

-- Brian Meeks, http://extremelyaverage.com

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