Experiencing a Green Router

On the second day of the Alternate Wood Show, I had an opportunity to use the Festool OF1400 for the handheld routing I was doing – cutting inlays using the Whiteside Inlay Kit. After a brief familiarisation (thanks btw!), I started experiencing why owners of the OF1400 like it so much. It was loaned by Ideal Tools, and they were lucky to get it back at the end of the day!

Festool OF1400

Festool OF1400

From the trigger on the handle that doesn’t require you to reposition your hand after turning the router on (and it can be locked in the on position), to the front knob that also locks the plunge height, the micro-adjustable plunge stop, the ratchet mechanism on the collet, the low centre of gravity, dust extraction and so forth.  It was a very pleasant router to use, particularly hand-held.

The Festool collet concept is rather interesting.  I can only describe it to be like using a ratchet drive for a socket set.  You engage the spindle lock whichever direction you want to operate (tighten or loosen), then operate the collet with a spanner, ratcheting back and forth.  Unlike the Triton, you don’t need to be at full extension to engage the spindle lock, but that does then require it to be a 2 handed operation, reaching under the table to do so (if the router was table mounted that is).  The bit change itself can be done above the table.  Shame that Festool don’t take it just a little further, and allow you to remotely operate the spindle lock.  It would then become ideal for use in a router lift.

The micro-adjustable plunge stop made for easy repeat operations.  Once I determined the height I wanted to bit to operate at, I was firstly able to fine-tune that height without starting the whole process over, and importantly, I could dial in and out a known height difference, which was particularly useful for the inlays.  When inlaying, the cavity, or recess needs to be as close as possible to the thickness of the inlay, whereas when routing the inlay you want additional plunge depth to ensure you are cutting all the way through and into the backing board.  With the micro-adjuster, I was dialing that difference in and out in no time, and accurately every single time.

Festool may be well known for having a high price-point, but you sure do get to see where that money has been invested.

One Response

  1. The Festool 1400 is a great hand held plunge router. I do not recommend it for table use. It is not designed for it and it is poorly supported by third party vendors.

    It is very powerful, light, has excellent dust extraction, great auto brake, speed control under load, and the smoothest plunge action I have ever experienced. It also carries the best warranty in the industry. The universal power cord is a plus and is nice and long. The systainers make dust free storage a breeze and when combined with their other tools, stack together nicely and securely. I love the ergonomics, especially as a left hander, and find it very easy to control. Cuts are clean and chatter free. It is also very quiet.

    I have owned several routers over the years and most could be considered Cadillacs of the industry. The Festool 1400 is the Rolls Royce of hand held plunge routers and worth every penny.

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