Getting the Festool Lowdown

Went along to a Festool evening recently at Total Tools, to see what the latest offerings from Festool were all about.

The C18 driver was shown, although I already have the T18, so they seemed pretty similar.

What was particularly interesting was the new circular saw.  This isn’t a plunge saw as is the norm for Festool, but a much more stock standard CS design.  Of course there are still the typical mods that Festool are known for.  It is driven by an 18V battery for one.

It is the HKC55 160mm cordless circular saw.

Photo 15-10-2015 17 25 43A quick flick of one latch, and the saw still works as a plunge saw.

What really seemed to set this saw apart though is the guide rail.  This is not your grandmother’s guide rail.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 1.53.46 amThis one locks to the bottom of the HKC55, and effectively becomes a part of the saw.  A ‘bungee cord’ mechanism engages with the saw and returns the saw to the start of the rail after a cut.

Photo 15-10-2015 17 17 49

An easy-to-use angle-setting system on the side of the rail makes it very easy to set up for angled cuts, and by angling the saw over, it effectively becomes a portable SCMS, with a long travel distance.

Photo 15-10-2015 17 18 01

Bit hard to show with a few photos. Found this video on Festool UK.  Probably better watched with the sound muted!

So an interesting evening, getting to look at a couple of the new products from Festool.  Interesting too, seeing it with people in the trades, who are quite vocal in expressing what they need to see, and what they don’t in a demo.  If it is not a tool they specifically need to use for their job, they have no interest whatsoever, and are quite prepared to express that fact.

Came away with a showbag which is always a bit of fun.  Sadly, I didn’t find a HKC 55 in the bag, but I did get a few Festool-branded items – cap, travel mug, stubby holder, carpenter’s pencil, and a Festool carpenter’s rule.  Seeing as that normally sells for $15, I’m not complaining :)

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 2.51.20 am

What the….?!


If you actually know what this is, don’t give it away.  Google is cheating!

For anyone else, what do you think this is?  It has a hose connection (and the green ring can move to open up a small vent).  There is a rubber seal around the bottom of the tear-drop shape.  The individual fins are movable – able to be rotated around the vac port (but are very stiff).  The fins are independent of one another – there is a bit of an air gap between them.

I know what it is now, but I had to ask.  Even the first person wearing Festool that I asked wasn’t sure.  Any guesses (or wild suggestions)?  I’ll answer any questions as well as I can (without directly giving away the answer).  Even now I know what it is, I still look at it a bit sideways, and think – that’s just a bit weird.  Probably works a treat, but weird.  Costs over $80 too.  Festool green plastic must be a very expensive colour!  Think I could 3D print one a bit cheaper. :)

Catching up on Festool

Seems that a few things have come out from Festool recently that I haven’t been across.

First is a high speed oscillating tool, the Vecturo, akin to the Fein Supercut.  It also has a Festool style price tag, but also includes some interesting developments as well, depth stops and blade stabilising.  I haven’t looked into it too far as yet, particularly any side-by-side comparisons with the Fein.

down_os_vecturoos400_563000_p_01a-setdown_os_vecturoos400_563000_a__10aOne of the interesting things in the photo above, is the plate that the blade is resting against is actually magnetic, keeping the blade from vibrating perpendicularly to the cutting oscillations, helping establish a cleaner entry slot.  This also is a depth stop for the blade.  There is another depth stop for circular type blades.

down_os_vecturoos400_563000_a__11aThese can all be removed if you want a more traditional oscillating tool setup.

The next is a redesign to the ETS 150/3 and 150/5, now the ETS EC 150/3 and 150/5

down_se_ets1503a_571870_p_07b-with-systainerThe EC refers to the EC-TEC brushless motor, so it has even more power and runs quieter. At least that would be my expectation if I get to play with one.

A new version of the dust hose, that includes a plug-it cable.  I have the older version, which I find keeps things neat when both powering the tool and extracting dust at the same time.  This version also has a material shroud for extra protection of the hose.  Interested to know if this helps with tool movement, where the external spiral of the hose can catch edges occasionally.  I’m sure the shroud wouldn’t help in the situation where I did damage a hose – doubt the shroud is designed to protect against a few hundred degrees of local heat when my hose got too close to a space heater!

down_s_d2722x35asgq_500269_z_01aFinally, although this isn’t new as such, it is an interesting storage for the various tools.  I keep dropping my sander onto the floor when I catch the hose, so the sander storage would be invaluable!

ae_ucr1000p_498966_a_04a ucr-1000And a small CT17 Cleantec, which would be quite handy connected to the Torque CNC (and overall quite a portable extractor).


There is another small driver, called the TXS, which is seemingly replacing the CXS.  There are always so many new drills and drivers I can’t keep up!

If you are looking for more info on any of the above, have a chat with Anthony over at Ideal Tools – he’s always right across the latest developments in the Festool camp.

Walko vs Festool

Been doing some handheld routing on the Festool MFT, the results of which you’ll be able to see in the next video.  I’ve been using the Festool surface clamps for much of the operation, but have been surprised to find that over time, the Walko surface clamps (which are 2/3rds the price) are actually doing a better job! (Festool $150 pair, Walko $99 pair)


Festool Surface Clamp


Walko Surface Clamp

Walko Surface Clamp

(Just did an image search for both – the top 4 images of the Walko clamp all came from Stu’s Shed!)

Granted that the Festool is probably a better design, I guess, with a longer reach, the ability to secure it to the table from underneath, and I am sure there are one or two other features over the Walko.

However there is one overriding difference.  The Festool jams when you try to release it.  The Walko doesn’t.  After a while, the Festool also doesn’t slide smoothly, whereas the Walkos I have, have been going and going for years without incident.

Looking closely at the shaft of the Festool, and it is pitted along its length, dented by the securing mechanism.  Sure, I can file these off (and already have a couple of times), but it is an inherent flaw.  The metal of the shaft of the Festool surface clamp is wrong – it is too soft.  Whereas the Walko clamp has got it just right.

Not often that something is able to out-perform Festool, but in this case, something has!

Template Inlays

I first came across the concept of template inlays back when I was working on a poker table concept, back in 2009.  This was a pretty basic form – a simple shape and a contrasting piece of timber.

What I have come across recently, lifts that basic concept into the stratosphere!  It is a similar concept to the multiple templates used with the 3D router carver

Over at Tarter Woodworking, the concept of template inlays has been taken to a logical conclusion – using multiple templates (and the use of different timbers) to create stunning inlay results.

Results like this Clownfish…


which happens to be one of the smaller templates, but is one of my favourites.  It is not painted on – it is multiple timbers routed and inlaid.

The templates are very reasonably priced – this clownfish template is a whole $US11.50


Bit of a confession however – I have a few templates here, begging to me to try them out and I haven’t (yet)!  I went to do so last weekend, then discovered a slight problem.  Having replaced my Triton handheld routers with a Festool, I didn’t have the adapter to fit the Porter Cable-style template guide rings!

That I rectified first thing Monday morning, so I am ready to go as soon as I find a couple of minutes to rub together.

Think I will probably tackle the clownfish first, but then, there is the Monarch butterfly to try.  That will take a good assortment of timbers to make the design come to life.

Monarch_full_with_stencil Monarch_Stencil_-_used MONARCH1

So looking forward to trying these out for myself – this weekend if all goes to plan (and I find my shed again under the mountain of mess and sawdust from last weekend’s rush build)!

Festool Vecturo OS400

Had to happen one day! Festool have entered the high speed oscillating tool arena with the Vecturo.

I find high speed oscillating tools exceptionally handy, but as mine have been at the budget end of the spectrum, they have developed issues (specifically around the retention bolt in each case- vibration will do that to you!)

Saw this on YouTube. Now on my “must get” list!

No idea if and when available down under- may be here already, may be 6 months away!

First footage using the Axis360

The panning slider has arrived, so have done a very quick test to see how it can work.  Smooth!  Going to be really interesting to incorporate it into the video equipment lineup.


(Video test only – no sound)


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