New, new tools

There are always new tools in the marketplace, vying for your hard-earned. However, so many of them are just a re-visualisation of an existing tool – a new type of spanner, a new power screwdriver, a new drill rather than a brand new invention.

Not that I am knocking new releases of previous inventions – given I have just ordered the brand new Festool CXS drill, I am hardly going to say that new versions of previously existing tools is a bad idea! But that is a story for another day (when the drill arrives from Ideal Tools – tomorrow hopefully!)

However, at the Brisbane Wood Show this year, Arbortech revealed their newest invention: the TURBOPlane.


This is very cool on a number of levels.

– A wood show being used to release a brand new product

– A brand new, Australian product

– And a cool tool in itself.

It fits to your standard angle grinder, and provides a surprising degree of control and finish, while still allowing rapid stock removal.

Fits a standard angle grinder

It fits any 100 or 115mm angle grinder with speeds up to 12000 RPM. Despite the speed the angle grinder runs, you have a significant sense of control over the process. It opens up the door to shapes that would otherwise be difficult to achieve, without moving over to handtools, or carbide abrasive discs which can cause deep scores in the timber (and lots of dust).

Carving into surfaces

The TURBOPlane can carve both convex and concave shapes, and because it does not have teeth on the outside edge does not need the same guarding as their Woodcarver, and is not as aggressive (the Pro-4 Woodcarver is effectively chainsaw-style teeth cut into a solid disc.) Whether you are shaping the seat of a chair, creating a tray, or carving bowls, wooden horses etc, the control from the TURBOPlane will quickly win you over. It can run right up to the edge of the object (or recess), as it will not cut on that edge.

Rapid stock removal

I haven’t had time for a long play with it yet, but first signs are good 🙂

In the meantime, here are a couple of videos from Arbortech on the blade in action.

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



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:



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.

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