Author Topic: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool  (Read 3460 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Buehler

  • Posts: 3
Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« on: March 11, 2016, 10:04 PM »
Hello - this is my first post here and I have a confession... I do not yet own any Festools, but have "drank the koolaid" in my head... I've been reading posts around here for a while, and after seeing some videos of these tools in action and the harmony of the Festool system, I know that it is inevitable that I will sell all my tools and buy only Festool. 

I am hoping to get some advice from some professional contractors on this forum.  I started my own renovation business about 6 months ago doing a little bit of everything (framing, drywall, tiling, trim...) on smaller scale projects (mostly bathrooms, kitchens, condo remodels...).  I am a perfectionist and mostly work by myself, hiring extra muscle when needed, but not keen on trusting them with any finish work.  I have steadily been acquiring all the basic tools I need, but have recently had my mind blown by some Festool products - specifically the Planex - after I just completed a condo project with popcorn ceiling removal & some drywall.

I'm wondering if any of you may have some tips for the professional renovator getting started with Festool.  Like I said, I don't specialize in anything as of yet and I also don't have the funds to spend on every Festool luxury yet.  I need a pretty quick ROI from the first few tools I buy.  I'm currently considering the Planex or an ETS sander with CT extractor to make the drywall stage of my projects move quicker.  I figure that with a powered dust extracting sander, I can use a 90 minute setting compound instead of evaporating all purpose compound and do multiple coats in a day since I am not sanding by hand.  Is the Planex worth it for someone who only breaks it out for a day or two every couple months?

I am interested to know which other tools have saved you the most time and money on renovation projects.

Thanks - I'd appreciate any advice!

Offline TOOLTOWN

  • Festool Dealer
  • *
  • Posts: 505
    • tooltown.com
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2016, 10:19 PM »
Our most popular sellers to first timers are as follows:

Tool (popular models)

Track saw (TS55 or TS75) and Vacuum (CT Midi, CT 26, CT36) combo

Sander (RO 150, RO 90, ETS 125) and Vacuum (CT Midi, CT 26, CT36) combo

Kapex, Track saw (TS55 or TS75), and Vacuum (CT Midi, CT 26, CT36) combo

The Track saws and rotex sanders will definitely open your eyes to the word of precision, and dust extraction that Festool provides.

Ken
http://www.tooltown.com/
ken@tooltown.com
1-201-262-6337

Offline DB10

  • Posts: 911
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2016, 11:15 PM »
  If you live in N/A then you should take advantage of the the tool combo's that Tooltown has mentioned. The Ts 55 is always a good place to start but you will have an idea of which tool will be most useful to start off with.
I would say pay particular attention to which extractor you intend to purchase. The extractor is at the heart of the Festool system and is a must.
 Although it is human nature to go for the biggest! C26 & 36 extractors can get very tiresome quickly when you are carrying them around.
My position is similar to yours and I have a midi for on site use and connect it up to a Dust Deputy when it's in the workshop.
 Plenty of people on here have been in the same boat as you, so do a search on hear to Share the experiences.
 Good luck and Welcome to the forum.

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7652
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2016, 11:16 PM »
 [welcome]

What part of the world are you in?

If you're outside of NA, Festool offer some great tools in the diamond grinding and cutting space .. really good if you're doing bathroom renno work.

Sanders, track saws and DC units are the common staple for Festoolers. Things like he Domino come into play if you are doing custom cabinets and could be very useful to you for something like a custom vanity.

I personally like the Festool drill/driver range along with Centrotec. People either love it or don't see the value.

The Festool planers are very nice, the 65 being perfect for taking that sticky 2mm off a door!

CARVEX jigsaw and KAPEX scms are both richly featured, but there's a number of FOG members that shy away from these for various reasons.

Festool routers and trimmers are good tool .. the OF2200 is the perfect beast to put a nice edge of a solid surface bench.


Offline Buehler

  • Posts: 3
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2016, 11:53 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions thus far!

I'm in Toronto - it's unfortunate that we don't get the full Festool line here... though at this point its probably to my benifit...

Thanks for the tip on dust extractors DB10.  I'm often short on working space inside downtown houses so a smaller vac seems like the way to go.  Do you ever sand drywall with your Festool sanders and your Midi?  I'm curious to know how quickly the bags fill up...  I know for the Planex it is recommended to get the larger extractors with the auto cleaning feature.  I would hate to end up buying the Planex down the road and need to buy a 2nd dust extractor...

Offline Bohdan

  • Posts: 950
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2016, 12:51 AM »
When working with a lot of plaster the conventional bags don't stop working because they fill up, they stop working efficiently because they quickly clog with plaster dust. That's why festool added the autoclean function.

Some have posted that they don't have this problem but I think that if you are using the planex you're working with a lot of plaster.

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 6076
  • Festool Baby.....
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2016, 03:26 AM »
festool is a system that can be tailored to your needs.

The basics of that system are a MFT, CT and either a TS 55 or TS 75.

Everything else is based on those basics and your own requirements.


Offline DB10

  • Posts: 911
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2016, 03:28 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions thus far!

I'm in Toronto - it's unfortunate that we don't get the full Festool line here... though at this point its probably to my benifit...

Thanks for the tip on dust extractors DB10.  I'm often short on working space inside downtown houses so a smaller vac seems like the way to go.  Do you ever sand drywall with your Festool sanders and your Midi?  I'm curious to know how quickly the bags fill up...  I know for the Planex it is recommended to get the larger extractors with the auto cleaning feature.  I would hate to end up buying the Planex down the road and need to buy a 2nd dust extractor...
As a rule I try to steer clear of jobs that requie a Planex but in saying that the nature of remodelling is you can open up a can of worms and end up doing more dry wall than you hoped for and it's often easier to replace whole sheets rather than patch, when these situations arise I use my ETS 150/3 with the midi but as Bohdan mentioned you need to keep a close eye on the filters.
 For the rare larger jobs I have access to a Hilti auto clean extractor which is the same principle as Festools and it does improve the performance.

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2016, 03:47 AM »
...  Is the Planex worth it for someone who only breaks it out for a day or two every couple months?
...

That sounds like 'not a lot of use'.
Its value depends on you.
It looks good for ceilings though.

Is it any faster or easier than any other sander for walls?

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7652
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2016, 08:03 AM »
...  Is the Planex worth it for someone who only breaks it out for a day or two every couple months?
...

That sounds like 'not a lot of use'.
Its value depends on you.
It looks good for ceilings though.

Is it any faster or easier than any other sander for walls?

I reckon the ceilings and high wall areas, stairwells etc would be 3 times faster with a PLANEX over an ETS150 when you consider the need to go up and down or move scaffold about.

"Use once every couple of months" ... for an hour or a week??

I knocked over a (small) house with an ETS150/5 + CTmini (no PLANEX back then).

Offline Master Carpenter

  • Posts: 110
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2016, 01:15 PM »
Quote
I am hoping to get some advice from some professional contractors on this forum.  I started my own renovation business about 6 months ago doing a little bit of everything (framing, drywall, tiling, trim...) on smaller scale projects (mostly bathrooms, kitchens, condo remodels...).  I am a perfectionist and mostly work by myself

Don't do "a little bit of everything", find your niche and do it better than everyone else and charge a premium for that service. Buy the best tools you can get to accomplish that task.

Probably not the advice you were looking for.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2016, 01:17 PM by Master Carpenter »

Offline Buehler

  • Posts: 3
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2016, 03:35 PM »

when these situations arise I use my ETS 150/3 with the midi but as Bohdan mentioned you need to keep a close eye on the filters.

When the filters plug up do you just take them out and knock the dust off?  Have you every used a dust deputy with your Midi?  From what I've read it seems like it would work well to divert most of the drywall dust before the filters...?


I knocked over a (small) house with an ETS150/5 + CTmini (no PLANEX back then).

Exactly what I wanted to hear.  I don't use power sanders for drywall much - the Dewalt I have just creates clouds of dust even when attached to a vac... I'm very cost conscious easing into this so I've been considering the ETS 125 EQ as it is less than half the price of the ETS EC 150.  What is the advantage of the ETS EC 150 besides a 6" disc and a brushless motor?  Is the dust collection similar on both sanders?


Don't do "a little bit of everything", find your niche and do it better than everyone else and charge a premium for that service. Buy the best tools you can get to accomplish that task.

Probably not the advice you were looking for.

I appreciate the advice and am working towards that; however, starting out I have to take what I can get and also develop my skills...

Offline rst

  • Posts: 2308
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2016, 04:02 PM »
Despite the fact that I own and use a Midi (with Onieda) and a CT 26 (for site), I started with three Fein vacs, the older ones that have set able suction control.  If budgeting is your goal I would recommend the Fein vacs, they work just as good and my Festools and are cheaper.  I started with the track saw (actually tried a Makita from Amazon warehouse first) to see what everyone thought was the big advantage.  Now own a 55 and 75, 850 jointer, CMS, four routers, Domino 500, and every sander but the RO150 and RA-2(already had the Makita versions), the Syt Vac I and II, and a total of 85 systainers, wvery tool I own is in one. 

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2016, 06:16 PM »

...

I knocked over a (small) house with an ETS150/5 + CTmini (no PLANEX back then).

Exactly what I wanted to hear.  I don't use power sanders for drywall much - the Dewalt I have just creates clouds of dust even when attached to a vac... I'm very cost conscious easing into this so I've been considering the ETS 125 EQ as it is less than half the price of the ETS EC 150.  What is the advantage of the ETS EC 150 besides a 6" disc and a brushless motor?  Is the dust collection similar on both sanders?
...

I would suggest looking at the DEROS which the ETS EC seems to be closest to.
Both are pretty light (So no need for Popeye arms) and awesome on dust.

Plus both are low and short and handle brilliantly. One you put paws to them it will be worth the $. And still a lot less than a Planex and generally more of an all around sander. Drywall sands easy so it is mostly dust and having a light enough sander to work no a wall that are the priorities.

I went for the DEROS in 150/5, and it use the screens rather than papers. But the ETS EC seemed good... the little I used it.

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7652
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2016, 01:23 AM »
Personally I think the Festool EST150/5 (non EC) is a great workhorse. I haven't flipped to the EC's simply because I haven't felt any need.

I've looked at Mirka and @Holmz (who lives in the middle of Oz and can buy from Sydney or Sweden with very little difference in experience) doesn't get to receive the benefit of having a Premium Festool outlet nearby.

Granat works extremely well on plasterboard. I didn't experience clogging with sander or vac when using the ETS150/5+ CTmini combo.

If I was going to step away from Festool sanders I'd look into Rupes and Flex ahead of Mirka. Mirka makes some interesting stuff, but I'm not a great fan and I do believe that the Festool sander range is both premium and class leading.

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2016, 03:10 AM »
@Kev - You best not put a forepaw onto the ETS EC, lest ye wallet lose some weight.  [wink]

I have not compared the screens to paper on dry wall, but the screens last for 2 walls on drywall.
They are just not great on paint if it melt/burns to the screen.

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7652
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2016, 03:25 AM »
@Kev - You best not put a forepaw onto the ETS EC, lest ye wallet lose some weight.  [wink]

I have not compared the screens to paper on dry wall, but the screens last for 2 walls on drywall.
They are just not great on paint if it melt/burns to the screen.

I like some of Mirka's abrasives - they're not bad. Festool have a few offerings in this space that'd be good for them to exploit !!

Offline mkasdin

  • Posts: 124
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2016, 06:12 PM »
I think if you only want one dust extractor I would go with the ct-26? It's a few inches taller than a midi and is still fairly mobile and has larger wheels. My situation is similar to yours, I like doing the finish work including painting. I do general renovations and I am particular so it's difficult at times to have unskilled (skilled) labor helping out. Plus if I leave the no site the hired labor tends to slack off.

I own zero festool products other than a free Festool pencil! I've been studying the product line for about a year so I've asked countless questions. I think in the end you will end up owning more than one CT vac? Especially, if you plan on doing drywall work/planex or have a shop. I agree with the above poster about specializing in one aspect of rehab/remodel, but it doesn't hurt knowing how to do it all. "Jack of all trades-master of none". Personally I don't do plumbing or electrical, just doesn't excite me. I plan on doing cabinet work, building boxes  kitchen and bathroom cabinets as a niche.

If your budget doesn't allow, you can always buy a lesser brand tool, knowing that when the funds allow you can always upgrade to festool. I recently sold some well used Milwaukee 18volt drill/driver on Craigslist and did pretty well.

Not exactly sure what you are doing with the drywall that you might need a planex? As a tip try the 20 minute fast dry compound that you mix with water. Get yourself a $6 paddle mixer and a 2 gallon bucket and stir away. Do smaller batches as necessary and a 12volt drill will easily mix it. I use a sponge with one of those green 3M scotch Brite pads to clean the bucket and my drywall trowels using a 5 gallon bucket filled with water when necessary. The paddle was the best $10 investment I made in a long time. Still kicking myself for not doing it sooner. Mixing joint compound with a paint stick gets old. 

FWIW Allen at festool (application specialist) said if your just doing very occasional drywall you can use the ct-26 and tap the bag or filter ( I forget which) to keep it running and not getting clogged. I would only consider getting the ct-36 (ac) if your skim coating a 2,000+ Sqf. whole house with ceiling. If popcorn removal is what your after you can wet it down and scrape it off. Then just do an orange peel texture coating and you'll be good to go.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2016, 12:18 PM by mkasdin »

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: Hello - looking for advice getting started with Festool
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2016, 03:56 AM »
...
I'm wondering if any of you may have some tips for the professional renovator getting started with Festool.  Like I said, I don't specialize in anything as of yet and I also don't have the funds to spend on every Festool luxury yet.
...

I am a pretty cautious on recommendations, especially without knowing what you will be doing.

X, Y or Z is a top seller to new owners is only good for statistical knowledge and probabilities.

A vacuum makes a lot of sense, and most people have a need for a sander.
And if you do ceilings then maybe it is a Planex. I would be going with the ETS EC 150/5 if it was low walls.

A vacuum can also be hooked up to any sander that takes a vacuum, which may include that ol' dewalt, and even a 50 £ Bosch.