Until now, I had mostly ignored and avoided Festool tools for personal use because of their higher costs. After all, I’m a hobbyist, not a professional woodworker, so even if the tools save me time or effort, I am unlikely to see any return on them. So why did I just plunk down a whole lot of cash to try ’em out?
Originally, I had been looking for a way to demo a Festool dust extractor for an article I was working on. I had read a bit of info about their new CT26 and CT36 units, and thought it would be a good fit for the article, but I needed some hands-on time before I could comfortably write about them.
In trying to arrange for a brief demo session with the dust extractor, I asked a Festool USA rep about which of their tools is the most popular or bestselling. He replied that Festool customers really seem to favor their TS plunge saws. Wanting to see what that was all about, I whipped out a few catalogs and spent a few hours online reading over reviews and message board posts.
Although there are a few other plunge and track saws on the market, Festool’s is unique in that there is a whole system of cross-compatible accessories as part of their “system.” All Festool tools seem to integrate well within the guide rail and accessory system, so there’s the potential for expandability.
Even though I had only intended on checking out the dust extractor for editorial reasons, my curiosity got the best of me, and things got personal. The more I read about the tools, the more I realized how much they could help me out with my current and future projects.
While my current sawing needs are adequate, I convinced myself that the Festool rail guided plunge saw would be a great improvement for breaking down sheet goods in my small space. One of the final convincing factors was Festool’s [auxiliary?] instruction manual for the saw (PDF). I found it to exceptionally very well written, leaving me with a nice impression of the company and their attention to such detail.
Since I have limited space, all I can fit into my small work area is a 6-gallon Shop Vac. While it’s okay, I’ve known for a while that it’s not enough. It has a short cord, short hose, when I use a fine filter bag it loses suction quick, and when I use a premium reusable filter, I still have to clean out the whole darn unit occasionally. I already read up on the CT26 dust extractor, and while I would have liked to use one, I didn’t need one. Until I convinced myself to spring for a plunge saw.
According to the many user accounts I read, the dust extractor does a great job of cleaning up after the plunge saws doing use. Okay, I’m sold.
I have a very busy schedule ahead and me, but set aside some time this weekend for a woodworking project. Waiting 2 weeks to place an order would have been a disaster, with me flipping back and forth over the fence. To avoid that torture and indecisiveness, I went ahead and ordered both the TS55 plunge saw and CT26 dust extractor with overnight shipping and Saturday delivery. I’m sitting here waiting for the FedEx truck to get here, and wrote this all out to keep my eager anticipation from driving me nuts.
Now that I’ve jumped on the green bandwagon, you can be sure that there will be previews of these tools (and others on my new wishlist), reviews, comparisons, and editorials.
Festool tool prices are locked across the board, so I went with Amazon for the free shipping ($4 extra per item for overnight for Prime members). Woodcraft would be my #2 option since they occasionally have free gift offers for purchases over a certain amount.
There are larger versions of both tools – the TS75 is a larger and more powerful saw, and the CT36 has a larger dust-holding capacity.