Festool Sanders and Dust Collection for Paint Contractors?

 

Update: Read our Festool System Review from APC January ’12 issue.

In mid 2011, we began initial setup and testing of Festool sanders and dust collection tools.

Our intentions in researching upgrades for these critical systems:

  • Improve jobsite conditions for ourselves and our customers
  • Improve efficiency of our labor intensive prep processes
  • Improve quality of finished products

The attached video shows some of the issues that led us back to the woodshed to research better systems. Notice in the brief demo that the dust extractors are well attached to the Festool sanders, and that there is no airborne dust as a result of the sanding. Dust is all drawn through a simple and effective connection system between the sanders and vacuums, which were designed to work together. The connections between the hoses and tools are threaded, so no more vibrating loose, blowing dust and stopping production.

We have integrated these systems into all aspects of our field and shop operations and we relentlessly track and share the progress as we test the tools in real world situations. Subscribe to this post or site to follow our feedback and footage, as we enjoy helping other paint contractors who may be researching sander and dust collection system upgrades.

Please leave comments below if you have questions or if you have ideas on what sanding and dust collection systems ought to be able to do for paint contractors to meet the three critical criteria stated above.

Scott Burt

Scott Burt is a contractor and freelance writer whose column "From the Field" has appeared in American Painting Contractor magazine (www.paintmag.com) since 2008. His writing and projects also appear in other print and digital venues. This site is an extension of Scott's publication work, and he encourages readers to leave comments and questions about articles published here. Hope to hear from you!

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23 Reader Comments

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  1. Hi Scott. The RS 400 is definitely the most popular and widely used sander. We have two.

    • Scott Burt says:

      You must mean RTS? That is a great tool. Do you use the LS130 much?

      • Yeah, the RTS. We also have an RS, which is the older one with a metal chassis. We have an LS130 but don’t use it too much as material removal rate isn’t as good as others. However, it is good when you are finishing some timbers as the orbital sanding equipment can leave those little annoying circles about the place and the linear sander does not.

  2. We have been running Festool sanding and vacuum units for the last five years with many different sanders and vacuums in our fleet. Our RS400, which runs all day five to six days a week is five years old and has just had the fifth set of brushes installed, and, apart from the odd male plug has been a workhorse. Highly recommended gear and well worth the investment. Good back up and support as well. Our Rotex sanders, especially with 40 grit paper and the blue base plates have a high material removal rate as well. Dust extraction is good too, especially HEPA filtration.

  3. christopher O says:

    Scott
    Great info always.
    I have been slowly investing in different Festool sanders over the last months.
    I was a big fan of the Makita gv 5000 for stripping paint for many many years, that is until the new Lead Laws have come out. I was wondering if you feel the Festool sander has similar stripping capabilities? with the added benefit of dust extraction.
    I have also been running Fein vacs for years and wondered if you thought a switch to festool vacs would be worth the investment?
    thanks for your great posts
    Chris

    • Scott Burt says:

      Chris,

      Nice to hear from you. Yes, we have done some pretty hard core stripping using all of the Rotax (90, 125, 150) and the RAS115, which is a beast. Have you seen the RAS? If not, let me know, and I will put together a quick video overview of it. But yes, I am impressed with the material removal capabilities of these sanders and continually blown away by the dust collection. If you are running Festool sanders on Fein vacs, I think you would be much happier switching over to Festool extractors because the sanders and extractors are optimized for each other. You would enjoy the threaded connections where the hose connects to the tool, the systainer capability between sander and extractor, the brake system, the whole package. We have 4 Feins that will probably end up on ebay.

  4. George Z says:

    Great info Scott, thanks

    • You’re welcome, George. There are some definite environmental advantages to this level of equipment. We got sick of $49 throwaway sanders and shop vacs. These things cost more, but have a 3 year warranty and are much better engineered for professional use. I’ll be exploring that across the line of their tools.

  5. mike says:

    scratch that last comment. shoulda maybe watched the video first.

    • No worries, Mike. Its pretty much as explained in the video. Good tools, but showing their age. All tools do. But thats what got us looking at replacement, and looking at comparing features versus price against other types. Painters are hard on vacs, as you probably know. What do you run?

  6. mike says:

    What happened with the Feins?

  7. Very nice Scott. lots of guys absolutely love these set ups.

  8. Rob says:

    I always wondered what the difference was, I have heard the Festools were top notch, look forward to reading more!

    • We have always wondered too. Soo many woodworkers, cabinet makers and carpenters swear by these tools. Once in a while they would let us use one on a little task here and there. We are very much looking forward to discovering the differences. There are so many nice features right off the bat…

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