Confused, or Impressed?

Either way, I think I’d want one, but I have no idea why, or even the minor point that I don’t typically work with material that needs edgebanding!

A Festool workshop- shame we can’t buy one of these off the shelf!


If you are away from the workshop, perhaps this systainer would get you out of trouble

So much Festool, so little time!


Urgent trophy job

One of the family friends does woodcarving on the side, and had a job dropped onto him at the last minute.

So we decided to get the CNC Shark to do some of the heavy lifting.

6 shields, by tomorrow! Not a problem.

2 hours later and they were done.

I suggested that he follow Dennis’ lead, and use a resin filler – makes the designs really pop.

Anyway, it was a bit of a distraction, but at least sawdust was being made (and even the Festool ETS 150/5 made an appearance).  Slowly a sense of normalcy is returning to the shed space.

Festool Workshop

This is what I am aspiring to.  Got a lot of sawdust to generate to get there!


100 bottles of beer on the wall

26 crates of tools in the shed
26 crates of tools
And when one of those crates gets unpacked
There’ll be 25 crates of tools in the shed.

Still slowly working through the boxes and crates of tools packed over a year ago, finding them new homes, or at least placing them where their home should be so I get an idea of just what storage options I still need.  Getting to the point that I will need to start making some, which will be good. I’m also looking at some other options to complement some cupboards, such as a collection of Festool systainers on roll boards stored under the TWC for all the miscellaneous items (abrasives, glues, various handtools etc).  Have to have a chat with my local Festool dealer (and yes, I mean that in the drug-dealer way – damned addiction that it is :) ).

I am still finding items that will no longer be required, and so the sales pile is slowly growing.  Latest items include a Makita 3612 router, a Triton 184mm circular saw, a Triton Router table and stand, a scrollsaw, and a Dewalt radial arm saw.  This is also related to the Festool drug – as I look to upgrade tools, my current ones go on a hit list.  Still looking for expressions of interest (or preferably, offers to buy!) on the Torque Router Master, and the TS10L 52″ 3HP cast iron tablesaw.

On the mezzanine front, I decided the best option was a small crane arrangement from Hare & Forbes.  Costs only $209, so quite reasonable for what it is.


I will work out the best method to securely fix it to one of the main support beams, and add additional reinforcement to counteract the bending moment it will create for the beam.  It will still use a chain hoist to lift I expect, given its operational range is less than the height of the mezzanine, but that will be a bit of suck and see when I get it installed.  2200mm of operating height isn’t too bad, given the mezzanine floor is at something like 2800.  It might just mean something that needs lifting only needs to start from about the height of a workbench, which is an interesting proposition (but I still can’t see it working without a chain hoist being involved).

Irrespective, once the item is lifted above the mezzanine floor, the crane rotates easily allowing the load to be deposited onto the floor, rather than having to be collected from above the hole.  Still need to sort out some balustrading around each of the openings.

Protool becomes Festool

This is old news for some I am sure, but Protool and Festool have combined, and the Protool brand has been absorbed.  In one way, this is kind of confusing, seeing as the two brands were really one anyway under the Tooltechnic banner – at least from an outsiders perspective!

The company used the Festool brand for more woodworking type applications, and Protool for other contractor tools (concrete cutters and grinders, heavy-duty drills and other heavier duty products).  They have decided to combine these under the single Festool brand banner.  It means the Protool tools will receive a makeover, becoming the classic Festool dark blue and green, and it won’t be possible to say definitively that all Festool is made in Germany (a few of the Protool range are not), but it will end the “when is a Festool not a Festool” question (as in “when it is a Protool”).  So what does this all really mean?  Not a lot to be honest, just means if you are a fan of Festool (or have been sorely tempted by their range), as far as the Festool branding (and green/blue coloured tools), that range is getting bigger.


One of the early cab-off-the-ranks is the SwordSaw



And many other products in the Protool range will be receiving the same treatment.

I know not everyone is into Festool products- to each his own.  What I can I say – quality is addictive!




Brushed vs Brushless

We’ve been hearing this term more and more with power tools, particularly drills, impact drivers (and pretty much anything Festool handheld).

We know brushless is meant to be better – same power with a lower voltage battery, and/or longer run time, longer durability of the motor.  But why?  What makes a brushless motor so ‘special’?  And if it is so great, why do we have brushed motors in the first place?  This will be a pretty simplistic look at the concept – there is plenty of info out there if you want greater detail!

Let’s start with the last point.

Brushless motors require electronic control, so it is only with the inclusion of a modern microprocessor has it been possible to build such a motor.  Still, they have been around since the early ’60s, so perhaps a little strange they are not more common (cost does play a factor).  They have only been becoming reasonably common in some tools in the past 5 years or so.  Perhaps why they are so good is still not really appreciated.

In simple terms, a canned motor (or brushed) has a rotor at the centre which is an electromagnet.  Power has to get to that electromagnet, which is done via ‘brushes’ that brush against contacts on the rotating body.  Around the outside is the stator, made up of permanent magnets.  (Stator => Static/stationary is how I remember it.  Rotor => rotating)

Brushed Motor

Brushed Motor

The brushes are rubbing continuously on the core (the rotor) (at a point called the commutator fwiw).  Brushes wear, there is friction, heat.  A typical brushed motor is around 50% efficient, even down to 30% on smaller motors.  That means an 18V brushed motor power tool (if looking at cordless versions for a sec) is getting 9V worth of power from the motor. (Even as low as 5.5V)

Triton Router Brush

Triton Router Brush

Triton Rotor (image from

Triton Stator (image from - static electromagnets typically replace the permanent magnets in AC motors

Triton Stator (image from – static electromagnets typically replace the permanent magnets in AC motors

A brushless motor swaps the operation of the rotor and stator.  The rotor is now a permanent magnet, and the stator is the electromagnet.  As it is not rotating, getting electricity to it is easy – no brushes required.

Brushless Motor

Brushless Motor

Electronics control the switching on and off of each electromagnet around the stator, causing the rotor to, well, rotate.

A brushless motor is around 70% efficient, so in the same cordless scenario above, a 13V tool as a cordless model is about the same power as a good 18V brushed motor one.   So, for example, you take my 14.4V Festool brushless impact driver that I got from Ideal Tools recently, and put it up against an 18V cordless model (with a brushed motor (Hitachi, Milwaukee etc etc)), and the Festool is going to kick its butt :)  Not that Festool are the only brand with brushless motors, both the aforementioned brands also have brushless versions – but it is definitely worth making sure that the tool you are buying does. And the brushless aspect makes a lot more difference than the battery voltage as you can see.  Once you have electronic control in the tool, you can do all sorts of other smart things, like Festool’s ECS controls not only the motor’s speed, but also provides overload protection and controls the electronic clutch to boot.

Even in a corded model, you are looking at less wear, a lighter tool (for the same power), a quieter motor, and electronic controls of other functions.

Brushless vs Brushed

Brushless vs Brushed

One is spinning as freely as possible, (you still have bearings etc in both types of course).  The other is like driving with the handbrake on.

How would you like to kickstart your Festool Collection?

Ideal Tools has a few ex-demo tools available, including the following collection, being sold as a package for $6600 (saving $2400)

(Of course, if you had $9000, you could either buy the same package new, or buy this one and my TS10L!!!!)

CMS Stand
TS-55-R Saw Module
TS-55-R Plunge-Saw
1400mm Guide Rail
OF Router Module

OF-2200 Router

OF-2200 Accessories Systainer
CMS BS 120 Belt sander Module

CMS-VB Extension Table

2 x CMS-VL Extension Table
CMS-ST Sliding Table

CMS-LA Rip Fence

Saw Garage and Y-Extraction-Hose

Check out the details of the package on offer here

There are other ex-demo tools also available, including some Centrotec bit sets – something I am somewhat interested in as well, particularly for my Ti15 (I’m finding using non Centrotec bits becoming very frustrating, as they don’t stay locked in the driver).

The Mezzanine

Took the opportunity (and the willing participation of my FIL), to make some progress on the mezzanine floor.

Dennis (one of the site regulars) and I tried a few combinations with the attic stairs yesterday, unfortunately finding it a little trickier than expected, and took them down again.

So last night I used some 90x45s to box around the outside of the stairs’ frame, then took down the two flooring beams that the stairs will attach to, and reversed the process, attaching the beams to the stairs on the ground, rather than in situ.  A few bugle-headed hex bolts today to really lock the whole structure together, and we raised it all up back into position, and screwed it all down in place.

Much easier, and a really good outcome.  The stairs (almost) reach the ground – so much closer than I possibly expected, and it will only need a small step (about 50mm high) under the bottom of the ladder for the lower legs to rest on.

Photo 25-01-2014 17 44 08 Photo 25-01-2014 17 43 58

With the stairs in place, access to the mezzanine becomes significantly easier.  We then started on the laying of the redtongue.  Rather than just going with the sheets simply going between the end beams (conveniently the same distance apart as the boards are long – 3600), we are instead maximising the floor area, and with some short vertical panels, separating the mezzanine from the lower section completely.

This requires every sheet being cut down in length, so it stops midway on one beam, and leaving 3 beams (including the half-beam) for a shorter section to finish off and sit fully stabilised across all 3.  These are alternating left and right.  It does mean I am short two sheets of redtongue now.  It also means I am making more use of the Triton Circular Saw freehand than I think I ever have before.  Heavy, powerful, good on the plunge cut.  Still, I’d prefer if I had a Festool circ saw and a rail.

The first section needed some significant tailoring to fit it in among the combination of posts, and electrical conduit.  With the first piece down (and the silver builders paper underneath), it did get easier, but still it took a lot longer than expected.  We only ended up 1/2 way across the floor before having to stop for the day.  Still, a good start.

Photo 25-01-2014 17 46 43 Photo 25-01-2014 18 18 20

The Festool Ti15 has been getting a good workout in all this – has been really beneficial.

I don’t have any of the Centrotec bits though, and it is obvious this is a ploy used by Festool, as normal bits are not positively retained and fall out often, which becomes frustrating.

Photo 25-01-2014 17 46 56

The first view out the mezzanine window.Photo 25-01-2014 17 44 27

And the workshop floor gets its first real taste of sawdust.

Weekend Progress Report

Had a fair amount to get on with today, getting ready for the electrician as much as anything (although I still haven’t planned the GPO layout yet – have to be tomorrow.)

After trying to work out the order things needed to be done in, I realised that one of the difficulties was having the SawStop still in its box, still on the pallet.  I didn’t have time to go through a full setup, but I did manage to:

1. Get the mobile base from under the previous tablesaw (that was a bit of a mission in itself, being over 200kg, and in restricted space in the garage).

2. Size it to fit the base of the SawStop

3. Set up, and film the first stage of the SawStop setup, up to the point that the saw is out of the box, upright and sitting on the mobile base.  I’ll continue the process when I have more time to dedicate to it.  At least the saw is now mobile, and it sure looks good – black is definitely the new black where it comes to workshop machinery!

Next, I decided removing a couple of purlins would make life a lot easier, so off they came.  The benefit of a steel structure, held together with heavy-duty screws.

I managed to get the sheets up there – bit of a combination of angles, rope, and brute force.  With the mezzanine at 2800, it was a bit of an effort even so.  The sheets are only 33kg each, just cumbersome.

At the moment they are only sitting up there – I will fix them down later once the final building permit is signed off, and then the attic stairs installed.  They look raw underneath, but I have a solution to that.

Photo 19-01-2014 16 53 21

This was the first chance to see what the shed looks like with the overall vertical view blocked, and it is fine – not too closed in.  Benefit of having a high ceiling.

Photo 19-01-2014 16 53 33

I still haven’t decided whether to run the floor right to the edges (which needs more than the 3600 length the redtongue comes in), or to stick with the current length and secure it down.  Decision for another day.

Photo 19-01-2014 16 53 53

This is what I’ve bought to lay down under the flooring, so it looks the business from the ground.  Has some minor insulating properties, but I got it because it looks like the existing insulation on the walls, and is a good reflector, maximising available light in the shed.

Photo 19-01-2014 17 08 54

Speaking of lights, this is how I am installing them on my own.  A MagSquare.  And specifically the 50mm.  It comfortably holds the light fitting in place until I can get the self-tappers in.

Photo 19-01-2014 18 24 39

With the main and rear sections done, it looks pretty good.  All in line, spacing about right.  Double tubes per fitting should make for plenty of light.  Each fitting has a standard 3 pin plug end (which is the flex you can see hanging down), so wiring them in will be easy.

Photo 19-01-2014 18 45 28

Not looking as wide as it will when fully assembled, but there is a real presence in the workshop…..

Photo 19-01-2014 18 45 35

Mmmm.  Shiny.

And so it begins-fitting out the shed

Perhaps no more than a symbolic gesture (too hot to consider doing more- day 2 of a 4 day heat wave above 40C), but still, moved the first few machines into the shed.

Because of the epoxy floor, it really does have a ‘new shed smell’.

First cab off the ranks, and it had to be the (still packaged) SawStop


followed closely behind by the Festool Kapex


The pallet jack is already proving its weight in gold. I’m using some trailer ramps to get up over the edge and through the roller door


Every tool that rolls in through those doors will continue to define the new workshop.

I even got to use the workshop tonight legitimately. Needed a couple of boards docked to length. With the Kapex already set up, it was a very satisfying thing being able to use the right tool for the job, rather than fudging it like I have been doing for the last 12 months!


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