|Review by ShannonRogers||posted 01-21-2008 05:43 AM||5419 views||1 time favorited||5 comments|
I just bought Festool’s new 6” sander and it is truly everything as advertised. This is my first foray into Festool so I bought the package with the CT 33E dust extractor. Their dust extractors have been reviewed already on LJ so I will try to stay away from the extractor and focus on the tool. That being said, I a lot of my 5 star rating is influenced by the phenomenal dust extraction. Anybody who has done even 1 minute of sanding knows that the dust is what makes it so terrible. The RO 150 actually makes sanding enjoyable! If you had asked me if would ever say that a few days ago, I would have laughed at you.
So if you are new to the Festool line, then I have to tell you that you must get one of their extractor in order to truly appreciate the beauty. Now on to the tool.
It is a complete package right out of the box with everything you need to get started. The Festool line of sandpaper can be confusing at first, but with a little reading you can understand what they are doing because it is more than just grits. Festool gives proper names (Rubin, Cristal, Brilliant, etc) as well that define the paper for specific uses whether it be rough sanding, paint, or metal. For woodworkers the Cristal, Rubin, and Brilliant styles are what we should be concerned with. Those styles are the rough, medium, and fine (thanks Chris Matthews) for woodworking. The package comes with a sampling of styles and grits that will help you to decide how they perform as well as what you will need for your work. There are many accessories that Festool sell and for a good idea of these and what they offer, I would suggest checking out Festool’s video on the RO150 at their website. It is a good overview. Rather than run through all the features, I wanted to relate an anecdote.
Last year, I built some base cabinets and built a solid wood top to double as a workbench. (see the first photo) In a typical rookie mistake, I didn’t really check the moisture content of the wood and now a year later, it has warped out of shape. While I would probably flatten this starting with a jointer plane, I figured it would be a good project to put the RO 150 to the test. Starting with a 60 grit pad, I was able to strip the poly, hardened CA glue drops, etc within seconds. I then dropped back to a 24 grit pad and a straight edge and leveled the 60” top in about 15 minutes of sanding. Then switching from rotary to orbital mode, I worked my way up through the grits all the way to 220 (just for fun) for an excellent feel. To top that off, there was no dust to clean up. I even turned on a bench light and moved it into a raking position during sanding and never saw anything in the air! That did it for me and I am sold for good on this sander.
As far as creature comforts go I am also very satisfied. The systainer that the sander comes in is roomy with plenty of room for accessories and a dedicated well for the sanding disks. All of my other portable power tools have no room in the case for anything and require you to perfectly pack the tool away in order to close it. Not so with the systainer system. Also another small thing that made a differnce for me was that the screw on auxilary arm can be attached on either side of the tool and for those lefties like me that is a big deal.
Ultimately, the genious is that all the Festool products can be integrated with one another for a powerfull offering, but if you buy anything, I would buy this sander.
-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at www.renaissancewoodworker.com