Bananas on the Slope

Damn, but this Festool slope sure is slippery!

I was using my Triton ROS for some Xmas presents the other day (like just before Xmas obviously), and I was reminded just how much it vibrated – you come away with your hand tingling from the sensation.  If those fat-buster belts of the 60’s actually worked, my hand would be anorexic by now after the latest session.  That was enough for me – if it came to the point that I’d almost prefer not to sand because of the tool, then it is time for that tool to find a more sympathetic home.

It has been a bit of a debate, which sander to replace it with, and I sought advice on here back in November which gave me plenty to think about (thanks to all contributors).  There was obviously the Rotex, but it is significantly more money, and I couldn’t bring myself to go that route (and in part because I have the Festool Termite, so the orbital capabilities of the Rotex are duplicated in the Termite (which is also a Rotex fwiw)).

So it came down to the ETS sanders.  There is the 125 and 150mm diameter first, and in this case I decided a slightly larger diameter than what I have been using would not hurt.  With the 150s, there are 2 models – 150/3 and 150/5.  The /x number represents the amount of eccentricity the tool can achieve (either 3mm or 5mm), and again, decisions, decisions.

For the fact that I am looking for a bit more capability from one machine, I went with the 150/5, in a Systainer.  It comes with 50 free assorted abrasives, and I got another 100 for 1/2 price (a current Ideal Tools special), as well as a Cooltainer for $20 – after all, you can’t have too many beverages on ice eh!

Given the rapidly increasing stack of Systainers, I’ve also added the roller unit for the bottom so they can be moved around easily, and another Systainer to finally keep my abrasives all neat and sorted.

Finally, another bag of 4mm Dominos, as what I started with took a heavy hit with the recent Toy Kitchen construction.

Hmm – online shopping can be addictive – just keep ticking boxes 😉

The Ideal $20 Esky

More precisely, Ideal Tools are virtually giving away Festool Cooltainers with major purchases – check their website for more info.

Festool Cooltainer

Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with the contents!  It is a Systainer 4, normally worth around $150 with insulated walls, top and base.

If you decide a Domino is needed for Christmas, you also get to attend the Domino course (discussed earlier on Stu’s Shed) for free, and still get a Cooltainer for $20.

1001 Words

FesCool

FesCool!

Festool RAS115 – The Termite

Sometimes visiting the letterbox can be a pretty amazing experience!

A certain benefactor of Stu’s Shed decided (as quite an amazing gesture) to give me a Festool RAS115.  He wishes to remain anonymous, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be stoked even so!

The RAS115 is dubbed “The Termite” by Festool.  It is not a sander (although it does use hook & loop abrasive (aluminium oxide)), but a material removal tool.  It is more like the Arbortech than a sander for its stock removal.  It is an orbital sander, not a random orbital sander.  It is designed to use 36 grit sandpaper, not 600!  It even came in a systainer, so I finally have a second one to join up with my Cooltainer 🙂

Festool Systainer

Festool Systainer

RAS115

RAS115

Classic Festool packaging, keeping everything needed for the tool all in one place.  Must admit though – the manual leaves a lot to be desired.  Perhaps the translation from Deutsch missed out a bit…..

The Termite

The Termite

No fancy casing, colour schemes, addons, or lasers.  This is a tool designed for one thing.  Doing the job you bought it for.

Speaking of which…..

Quick bit of shaping

Quick bit of shaping

I haven’t had any real time to give it a good workout, but it sure cut through the timber without any trouble.  If you’ve ever used a belt sander and seen how quickly it can mistakenly mill into the surface, imagine a tool that gives you that stock removal capabilty with a significant sense of control.

Of course, there will never be RAS115 races….

This is a common event at the US Wood Shows, particularly the AWFS in Las Vegas.  Guess they don’t have the same strict regs (and doomsayers) as downunder.  Sadly, I was actually offered a Press Pass to the AWFS this year, but can’t afford to fund my own trip. Oh well, one day perhaps.

Back to the Festool:

Innovations

Innovations

I’m not up on all the innovative features built into this tool – there are certainly a few!  One that was interesting is this geared handle that rotates the chip collection system to optimise where the collection occurs from.

A second handle can be added (handle supplied) to provide even more control.

So an interesting tool, an amazing price, and a much appreciated addition to the shed.

Melbourne Woodshow Wrapup

Trying something new – polls are now available in my blogging software, so that’s very cool – will have some more interesting polls in future, but this is a good test one to get the ball rolling.

As to the show, I had a blast.  Feeling a little weary today, and my voice has gotten rather strange, but it was definitely fun!  It was also great getting to meet up with so many of the site’s readers – thanks for coming over to say hi.  I’m glad to hear people are still getting something out of this, and while you do, I’ll keep going 🙂

I got to play with a lot of cool toys (tools), and meet lots of people, both in the industry, and then a tonne of us who do what we do simply because we enjoy working with wood in our spare time (what is that anyway – having spare time seems a distant memory!)

So in no particular order, and with every chance of missing some out (I am pretty hazy today!) these are the sorts of things I got to play with at the show / industries (etc) I got to talk with:

Professional Woodworkers Supplies (obviously, seeing as I was demonstrating on the stand), but I did get to play with some Incra rules etc that I hadn’t had a chance to as yet.  That digital router height readout certainly looks interesting, and the simple upgrade for the drill press giving it a laser positioning is a must.  I could have used that just the other day with a forstner bit – working out where the centre of the hole was going to be.

MagSwitch (again obviously), and I’ll have a separate post about it, but I had arrive for Sat and Sun of the show the absolute latest products from MagSwitch, sent over to me directly from the States.  Had to give them back at the end though (but not before I took some photos for you)

Lidwig Clamps – some really interesting stuff there, and particularly a very easy cable hanger that is ideal for bandsaw blades.  I have one at home now, so will do a proper review soon (but will at least post some photos this week).  Am going to buy at least 3 more (and given they are only about $8, it isn’t going to break the bank!  Also have some of their clamps to try out, so that is also coming.

Actually, I have so much content to get through now, it will probably take till the next Melb Wood show to catch up, but I’m not complaining!

Festool, and I now have a Cooltainer (their esky Systainer) (thanks heaps to Ideal Tools!) to keep my drinks cold in the shed – perfect for what feels like is going to be a hot summer coming. Also got to play with a ProTools drill which was simply quality, and some incredible Festool forstner bits.

Brad’s Burls – we are working on a new Stu’s Shed feature called “Timber of-the-Month”, getting to look at the wide range of timbers out there, in both their raw and finished states and building a photo library here on Stu’s Shed to be a bit of a reference guide.  I’m very excited by this, as I really need to increase my knowledge of the range of timbers out there.  I also bought some pen blanks from them, and some Silky Oak planks that they had to quickly use to nail their bins shut for shipping down to the show.  I certainly wasn’t complaining!

Chris Vesper and his stunning hand-made tools – squares and marking knives particularly

SawStop / Gabbett Engineering – and I now have (as I mentioned) a couple of post-incident (aka- they met the sausage) blades for the shed wall.  I also got a video of one of the firings, so will get that into SS.TV as soon as I can.  Amazing stuff.

I’ve probably missed a whole heap (I certainly got to a lot more stands than the above list!), but that’s why I find the show great – so much to see, and talk about / find out about all in one space.

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