Author Topic: Festool CMS Router Table?  (Read 1526 times)

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Offline Jimxavier

  • Posts: 37
Festool CMS Router Table?
« on: August 13, 2019, 02:32 PM »
It’ll be my first router table.

I have an MFT/3, TS75, Domino, ETS EC 150/5, and an OF1400.

A Dewalt jobsite saw for ripping narrow stock. No miter saw yet.

My garage is small, a small 1 car garage.

I think I’d benefit from a router table, but is the CMS the right table for me?

I like the size and compactness of it. I also like the dust collection, I’ve seen great videos on that topic.

If I were to go with the CMS, what are the pros and cons of the different variations (the one that slides, the one that connects to the MFT)?

Is this CMS table designed to complete all the tasks a full size router table can or was it designed for jobsite ?

I don’t want to sacrifice accuracy in terms of micro adjustability, lift quality etc

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Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2727
Re: Festool CMS Router Table?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2019, 02:50 PM »
I have the CMS and like it.  It has a couple of limitations you need to consider.

1 - there is no miter slot.  So you give up using jigs like Incra's finger joint jig or feather boards
2 - the fence micro adjustment is missing.  Some on the FOG have added the Woodpecker jig off the back to enable micro-adjustment.  But it makes the footprint of the table larger
3 - the CMS is being discontinued by Festool, so while you will get a nice router table, the potential of additional inserts is not there for the future, even in Europe where all the inserts have been available.  Forget about it in the US

What you get:
1 - I like the sliding table a lot.  Makes for more control of routing edges on long pieces in my view
2 - It does do a nice job on dust collection
3 - The 1400 or 2200 routers are excellent in the table.  While FT does not condone the 2200 in the US, quite a few use it, including me.  I really like the heft and slow speed you can run it to significantly reduce the noise from the router table.

I have the free-standing table.  Some on FOG have gone with the MFT-attached table and added Incra sliding fences, etc.  That's certainly an option, but I did not want to have them joined since I frequently will be doing different tasks on each in a build.

I have had saw-attached router tables, free standing units with commercial tops and I started with a piece of plywood hanging a router under it.  All have pros and cons.  The CMS is a nice table and adds an advantage of portability if you want to move it into a room for a project or even outside for more significant routing tasks.

I did add a Wixey digital readout to my table and find it to be very handy for calibration and very accurate depth control. 

Good luck in your decision -

Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 475
Re: Festool CMS Router Table?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2019, 03:07 PM »
I got it as my first a few months ago. It can be a bit intimidating to figure out but I've found during the project I bought it for it handled tasks I don't think other router tables would've been able to without some serious jig making. The sliding table is fantastic. One of the operations required chamfering the ends of boards. No matter what I did I couldn't get it even. The bit was bearing guided. The fence wasn't helping much. Then it dawned on me to setup a MFT fence stop on the sliding table so the boards would just kiss the bearing on the bit as I ran it across. That was a light bulb moment for me.

I've come to really appreciate its versatility and I think in use it can handle anything you can come up with.
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3884
Re: Festool CMS Router Table?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2019, 11:47 PM »
Speaking as someone who doesn't have the CMS, I tend to think of it as more of a mobile option, but there are plenty of people on the FOG who use it as their primary shop based router table.  Far be it from me to discourage anyone purchasing more Festools, but I think a more robust option where you don't sacrifice any mobility is to get a really nice metal router table stand, put it on casters, and then outfit it with a Triton router, which gives you above the table adjustment and bit changing (no need for expensive router lift).  This will give you a more powerful router than the 1400, and the router table can be outfitted with cabinetry for extra storage.  It obviously doesn't have the sliding table, nor does it fold up like the CMS, but the ability to wheel it around is almost as space-saving.  If money is a consideration, you can sleep easy that this setup will come in at less than half the price of the full CMS set, and you'll be able to keep your 1400 as a hand held router.
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6374
Re: Festool CMS Router Table?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2019, 12:32 AM »
I was with you Edward 100%. For the last several years I have been completely enamored with the Bench Dog cast iron router table. I also have the 3 1/4 HP Milwaukee router to drive the system. That combo was my future go-to router table setup.

And then I started to think about the future, I’m getting older and some of the projects that I just used to muscle through now need to be finessed instead. Consequently, some of the tasks are more easily performed outside the shop rather than inside the shop. ‘‘Tis easier to drag one router table outside than drag 20 2x4’s into the basement.

So I acquiesced and purchased the CMS system. The one word which comes to mind is stunning...I’ve been a complete naysayer of the system for the last 6-7 years but once you assemble it and just look at the workmanship, I totally get why they ask the price they do.

I haven’t had a chance to use it yet but I am way impressed with the set up. I think the most impressive piece will be the sliding table.

I think the big Milwaukee will need to find another home..

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2649
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Festool CMS Router Table?
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2019, 08:23 AM »
I’ve admired the CMS for years but built a big router table with an incredible fence and excellent dust collection. The CMS fence is a far cry from my present one and I just don’t want a fence I cannot dial in with great precision.

If the next CMS has a great fence and is a little sturdier and keeps the sliding table, I may buy one.
Birdhunter

Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 475
Re: Festool CMS Router Table?
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2019, 09:08 AM »
I believed all the 'the fence is junk' stuff but after I got and started using the CMS for routing I think it's great. I can really lock that thing down which is beneficial for using the Jessem CS guides among other things. For my usage most of the operations don't require micro adjust. I could see how if you needed micro adjust then it would be lacking.
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 5792
  • Festool Baby.....
Re: Festool CMS Router Table?
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2019, 10:20 AM »
I have both the GE (free standing unit) and the VL (one that attaches to the MFT).

Ive had nonfestool router tables to. For me the beauty of the CMS is it has all the attachments that are needed for routing. Sliding table, adj fence, can adj router height from the top accurately.

Although my 2 CMS's are mainly shop bound , I like the ability to be mobile as well.

 Thats the thing about festools. They are a mobile woodshop.

You can load them up take them to the site when and where needed and do excelent work.
Good example, recently (3 weeks ago), I loaded my truck up with my festools, drove 17 hrs one way to my friends house in Oregon, set up in his garage and built him a small built in bar that looks custom made in a shop. So nice I was turning down work as I dont ive in the area and I had to go home sometime. Cant overstay my welcome.

 but since I visit him once a year stay about 3 weeks and build him some things while Im there.

I have people waiting for me to return and do some work for them when I come back.

At that time I will load up my truck with different festools specific for that job to do that work when I return.

Another thing Ive said many times here is the flexability of the CMS. Sure we only have the router table available but you can get the other modules the jig saw/scroll saw and TS 55/75 modules. Though not sold in the USA/NA markets they are accessible for cleaver individuals. Ive made my own modules for my greg jig and small belt sander/disk sander and grinder. When not using them they hang on the wall in some spur shelveing i put in.

IMO if it wasnt for the ability to be a mobile workshop then for the price of the CMS you could get a shaper and for the price of festools you could get stationary tools that in some cases perform better in the shop for about the same price as a festool shop.

I for one like the option of loading my shop up in the back of my truck and be able to drive 17hrs to do the same quality of work I could in my shop at home.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 10:30 AM by jobsworth »

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1708
Re: Festool CMS Router Table?
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2019, 10:28 AM »
I couldn't recommend it.  The very first criteria for a router table is a dead flat top.  I might be an outlier, but the center panel that the router attaches to on my VL is not flat, it's dished.  If I shimmed it, to bring the center closer to flat, the outer edges are then raised (which is probably better than a dip, but still) and the fence will catch if I move it. 

I don't care for the fence because it doesn't play well with aftermarket accessories like the Jessem clear cut guides.  The infeed side of the fence can lift, so that needs an additional clamp to lock it down.  The lack of microadjust is something I don't like.  I could work around it, but I don't want to.  I've added an incra fence which attaches to my MFT for now. 

The sliding table is really nice, but you do have to check it before each cut to make sure debris hasn't landed in the grooves it rides on or you'll get a surprise on the next pass. 

I leave my CMS permanently set up attached to the MFT.  It provides additional stability for the MFT (in addition to the cross braces already installed on the MFT) as well as additional work surface or outfeed support when needed.  I originally thought it would be nice to move it out of the basement shop, up to the garage or even outside as needed.  It hasn't happened.  I have no desire to move the combo.  But having a dedicated router table on wheels would be a value.  And if I can design one to be level with the MFT, even better.

Overall, it's a mixed bag, but the cost of the table plus the Festool router that lives beneath is too much for a tool has significant compromises in my view.  Eventually I'll transition to an incra table and lift and put it on wheels so I can wheel it out of the way when necessary.
-Raj

Offline Jimxavier

  • Posts: 37
Re: Festool CMS Router Table?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2019, 11:33 AM »
I’ve admired the CMS for years but built a big router table with an incredible fence and excellent dust collection. The CMS fence is a far cry from my present one and I just don’t want a fence I cannot dial in with great precision.

If the next CMS has a great fence and is a little sturdier and keeps the sliding table, I may buy one.

Will there be a “next” CMS? Any leaks on that? Any guess how far out?

Offline Lincoln

  • Posts: 27
Re: Festool CMS Router Table?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2019, 06:12 PM »
I had one, but then sold it.
Pros: overall build quality, sliding table, dust collection, system integration, mobility, compact.

Cons: not robust enough, small table, expensive, really clunky rise & fall for the router.

I'm split on the fence - I don't think it's bad, it's just that there are much better options available.


For a mobile user, pretty darn good, can't think of a better option. For a permanent set up, not so much.




Offline JimmyFord

  • Posts: 13
Re: Festool CMS Router Table?
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2019, 07:45 PM »
Anyone have any experience with a woodpecker setup or the full incra setup? Im looking at getting the cms as well, I keep going back and forth on it. I dont like the lack of a miter slot on the cms, I'll have to make new jigs lol. The incra stuff ive used in the past has always been solid, but most places say anywhere from 9-24 weeks for delivery due to demand.

Offline ChiknNutz

  • Posts: 74
Re: Festool CMS Router Table?
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2019, 08:00 PM »
I don't *yet* have experience with the Incra router table, but have been wanting a good setup for a while now.  I placed my order a couple of weeks ago so am anxiously awaiting it!  I am a BOCO kinda guy and have saved my pennies so sprung for the INCRA Router Fence & Table Combo #3 “The Works”
-Chris
Rotex 150/5 FEQ, CT 36 E, ETS EC125/3, TS75, Domino XL

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3884
Re: Festool CMS Router Table?
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2019, 04:15 PM »
@JimmyFord Can't speak for the Incra router setup, but I have the Incra TS positioner mounted on my tablesaw (as well as an Incra miter gauge), and it is frankly one of the best accessory purchases I've made in my life.  I think exact/repeatable positioning is a little less needed on a router table setup than on a tablesaw (unless of course you're using some of their jigs), but the Incra fence construction itself is excellent.

Anyone have any experience with a woodpecker setup or the full incra setup? Im looking at getting the cms as well, I keep going back and forth on it. I dont like the lack of a miter slot on the cms, I'll have to make new jigs lol. The incra stuff ive used in the past has always been solid, but most places say anywhere from 9-24 weeks for delivery due to demand.
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3884
Re: Festool CMS Router Table?
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2019, 04:17 PM »
That's interesting to hear @Cheese -- glad you're getting some good use out of it.  I'm actually hopeful that one day I'll be able to purchase a CMS, but it would have to be a situation like getting involved in another long art installation build, or maybe renovating a house, where I needed something mobile but serious.  I just can't justify it fort my shop at the moment.

I was with you Edward 100%. For the last several years I have been completely enamored with the Bench Dog cast iron router table. I also have the 3 1/4 HP Milwaukee router to drive the system. That combo was my future go-to router table setup.

And then I started to think about the future, I’m getting older and some of the projects that I just used to muscle through now need to be finessed instead. Consequently, some of the tasks are more easily performed outside the shop rather than inside the shop. ‘‘Tis easier to drag one router table outside than drag 20 2x4’s into the basement.

So I acquiesced and purchased the CMS system. The one word which comes to mind is stunning...I’ve been a complete naysayer of the system for the last 6-7 years but once you assemble it and just look at the workmanship, I totally get why they ask the price they do.

I haven’t had a chance to use it yet but I am way impressed with the set up. I think the most impressive piece will be the sliding table.

I think the big Milwaukee will need to find another home..
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

Offline JimmyFord

  • Posts: 13
Re: Festool CMS Router Table?
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2019, 12:45 PM »
I don't *yet* have experience with the Incra router table, but have been wanting a good setup for a while now.  I placed my order a couple of weeks ago so am anxiously awaiting it!  I am a BOCO kinda guy and have saved my pennies so sprung for the INCRA Router Fence & Table Combo #3 “The Works”

I ordered “the works” yesterday also. Hopefully the 9wk lead time is an overestimate, I am considering buying the incra gear sans table and fence and getting the woodpecker superfence with micro adjust and wp mdf top so ill have it up and running within a week. Still trying to weigh if its worth the wait for the ls25 wonderfence.  The wait time was also why I was considering the cms system as I have the of1400 already and I have a source for the TS module which would be handy. But ultimately I decided the likelihood of me pulling the router out of the table was not high and it would be a shame for that fabulous machine to live under a table. I guess I could pick up another router but thats another $600 on top of the $1800ish of the cms-ge. My milwaukee 3hp is better suited for table life anyway.


To the OP, while ive never had hands on the cms, I have heard a few times the cms fence isnt exactly bad but it isnt great either. Ive also heard the lift on the cms is a far cry from whats available from woodpecker and the like.  The dust collection on the incra dustsweep is very solid and that can be mounted to most any table, its best when paired with an inra made lift so you can use the slotted inserts.  From what I've gathered, the biggest thing that the cms has going for it is portability, nothing beats it, you lose some of the refinements of other systems out there and no miter slot means jigs will need some modifying. If you have an mft already and want a better fence for the cms, get the VL version and the incra LS fence with a mounting plate for it from precision dogs. Itll be pricey, but youll get the portability of the cms with micro adjustments of the incra