Festool Rotex 125

Whenever Festool is mentioned, there are always two totally different responses. One is–I absolutely love it and can’t wait until I can buy more of their products, and two–it is way overpriced and there is no way I’ll ever spend that much on a power tool! My answer to either is the same as my blog on tool value. Maybe, just maybe, both answers are actually very valid, depending on your needs. I do ask though, have you actually used the tool?  Being a professional woodworker for most of my life, I tend to look for the best tools I can find, unless it is truly a one time special job, and then I will rethink that. Often cheap tools have cost me much more in the long run.

Now, back to the Rotex 125. This is certainly not a cheap sander, but having used it, I would highly recommend it if you need a versatile, hardworking tool. While I use other Festool sanders, the RO 125 could be the only sander you own, and not be a sacrifice at all. Since getting the sander, I have basically retired my Porter Cable belt sander. I don’t miss the noise or the dust at all. Even using dust collection, I could sand for 5 minutes and come away covered inside and out with dust. As with any Festool sander, when using with one of their dust collectors, there is virtually no dust, even after a prolonged sanding session. The tool is smooth (when in the fine sand mode) and feels great in your hands. It can be used one-handed, but I recommend using both. The balance is better.

I have been working on quite a few boxes lately, and have been thrilled with the results using my Rotex. I can do a complete box without ever-changing sanders. I am starting with 60 grit paper to get the joints, splines and mill marks cleaned up, and working my way up to 220 grit. With the hook and loop pads, the paper changes are quick, and the paper can be reused until worn out. Using the aggressive mode with the flick of a switch, I quickly cut the surface down flat with out the frequent dips from my belt sander. The size of the 5″ pad is perfect for what I do. Having also used the 6″ RO 150, this sander is better for me.

Then we are back to the original question–Is it worth it? In my opinion–yes!!! 

Over the years I have gone through multiple sanders, and without a doubt, Festool beats them all. And when you look at buying an expensive belt sander and a random orbit sander too, then maybe the price is not necessarily so high after all. With the added value of unmatchable dust collection, I ask my self why I waited so long. I love their stackable Systainers too! It makes transport and storage so much better. Come to think of it, I have yet to find anything I don’t like about my RO 125.



New Website

For the last year, I have been spending much of my spare time developing my new line of custom boxes. This is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Each “kreation” comes alive with it’s own distinct personality. I get a thrill with the completion of each box. With the availability of so many types of wood, there is no end to the possibilities one can come up with. This is a small sample of my work. I hope you will check out my website. Maybe you will find something you can’t live without.


Thanks for looking.


More Torque!

Here is another great use for the versatile Torque Work Centre

My son is building a work bench, and needed to drill the dog holes. I can’t think of a simpler, more accurate method

Thanks for looking

Tool Value

Obviously, it has been a while since I have posted. Summer time brings a lot of yard work and other activities, but I would certainly prefer to be in my shop working on a fun project. It seems like just about the time I got my shop somewhat organized, I was pulled in another direction.

However, woodworking and tools remains on my mind. Frequently we all read comments online defending tool purchases. Some are thrilled because the tool was cheap. Others, because they bought the absolute best tool made.

My question then is, was it a good value? My moto has been, cheap tools are the most expensive tools you can buy. This is based on my years of experience having bought some real junk early on in my career. If they don’t do the job properly, or the fail after little use, I consider that a poor purchase. In woodworking, is the quality of cut what you need to produce your work? Is the accuracy there. How much exta time do you spend using poor qualiy tools, or maybe the wrong tool? These questions must be answered on an individual basis. It doesn’t even come down to whether you are a pro or a hobbyist. What, and how much are you building?  What quality level are you after? And then, the all important question is–How much can you spend? What are your priorities. Are you setting up a shop from the ground up? Or are you upgrading tools, or maybe building projects that call for tools you don’t already have?

I frequently hear Harbor Freight purchases defended on the premise that ” I only need it one time”. In that case, that may be a valid arguement for feeling that a really cheap tool is the best value. Personally, I can’t bring myself to buy their power tools no matter how cheap the are. This is not to say that I would never buy other tools from them. I consider some of their products a decent value for me at times. Those who have seen my shop would consider me a tool snob. I guess I couldn’t argue that. I own a lot of really high end tools, especially Bridge City Toolworks products. Are these good value? I can’t say that they are, but I felt they were worth it to me. I absolutely love using these tools. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction. Do I need them to produce good quality work? No, although they do inspire me to work at a higher level. Some people fish and hunt. I buy tools!

I believe Festool is another example to bring up. Whenever the name is mentioned online, there are always  negative comments, usually based on price alone, and so often by those who have never used or even seen the tools in person. Are they “value”. This is a question each individual must ask. Personally I think they are. Are all my tools Festool? Unfortunately not. I can’t afford to go out and replace all my tools, no matter how good they are. Even if I had unlimited resources, would I? I can’t even answer that, and probably will never have to. To me though, the engineering that goes into all their tools is superb. The quality of cut and accuracy is fantastic.

Now, back to my question. What is value when it comes to tools? Honestly, the question has no right or wrong answer, though we all have out own opinion. Do you buy on price alone and brag about the deal you got? Or do you buy the best, which most cannot buy, and brag how much better your tools are? The key is to always examine all the factors–amount of use, quality of work, type of work (do you really need Festool to build craft items for a flea market?), How much use will the tool see in it’s lifetime, and so many other things that will influence the decision.

So often I read of those who buy the tool based on the best price. Then they go on and on about the poor adjustments, or lack of power, or even the fit and finish of the tool.( We seem to understand this when it comes to pricing our own work.) If we cannot, or will not pay for qualiy, do we have the right to expect perfection. Our buying habits have forced manufacturers to seek cheaper ways to make their tools. Maybe, just maybe some of the blame lies with us, but that topic is for another day. (And boy, will that open a can of worms!)

Hopefully this will encourage you to really evaluate your tool decisions on multiple factors, not just price, whichever camp you happen to be in. There is certainly some logic on both sides here.

Thanks for looking


Cutting Dados, The Easy Way

This is my first attempt at a video and boy did I learn a lot. I never dreamed it could be so complicated. Obviously I know much more about woodworking than computers, but I’m learning. My lovely wife is my photographer and “production engineer”. This has been both fun and frustrating–but I think we may get there.

This is a demo of the Torque Work Centre cutting dados. Hope you enjoy!

Torque About Slots

Thanks for the title Larry

I wanted to share another tip for the Torque Work Centre. I frequently make slots in my various jigs. In the past I have used a sled on my router table. Effective and safe, but not really fast. The Torque is perfect for this application. Using my own clamping table on my machine, doing this is simple—and safe, and fast!

These pieces are for wooden clamps I make and use often. In a matter of minutes I set up and routed several pieces for future use.

Thanks for looking!

Torque Work Centre–Fluted Columns

As promised, here is the information on fluting columns with the Torque Work Centre using my new clamping table. As I was trying to route the workpiece, I quickly discovered simply clamping the ends was not going to work. The force of the router pulled the piece over to the side every time. I decided to try clamping the sides also. It worked to have a fence on one side, which is designed to use the T-track shown in the last blog. This aso helps in loading multiple pieces so you don’t need to measure every piece. Note: On the clamping table, I drew a line 10″ from the fence. This is the center line for the workpiece. Measure and mark the center of the piece and line it up with the mark as shown. Clamp the ends with the hold down clamps. These came from Rockler. You could also make your own version. These are some I designed for another application. http://lumberjocks.com/projects/30412

Place the fence on the inside of piece, again using the T-track.

Then the cam clamps I made complete the system. If it is not secured every direction, the router will grab the piece and shift it —Trust me! I saw Stu’s vaccum clamps on his Torque, which is also an excellent method to accomplish the same thing. The biggest advantage to mine is the price.

Here are more shot’s of the cam clamps. I created a bushing from a dowel. It is slightly longer than the thickness of the clamp. When you tighten it in the T-track, the clamp is free to pivot. This is a quick way to clamp side to side. Of course there are other ways to do this. This just happens to be what I came up with with the materials I had on hand. What I did learn very quickly about clamping on the Torque is that you can’t have anything sticking out either above or below the table . It will hit something as you move the router through the cut. Clamps, whatever you chose must be low profile.

For help in the layout, I added a self adhesive tape to the track. This 10″ mark is lined up exactly with the mark I showed you earlier on the table. This is the location of the center flute. If you then want 1 1/2″ spacing, simply move the router to 9 1/2″ and 11 1/2″ for the other 2 flutes and lock into place on the track. Doing multiple pieces are now simple since  you have the fence in place. I didn’t show this, but I would also clamp a stop block in the T-track to load the workpiece  against.

I hope all this helps you. These principals will also work on mutiple applications other than the Torque Work Centre. Use your imagination to apply this to your own clamping needs.


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