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A question on Festool sanders

Filed under: Tools

Erik writes:

I’m new to woodworking and I’m trying to make things happen in a multi unit apartment with a small attached garage…so I’m trying to manage my sound as much as possible. Fortunately the garage is bordered by other garages and a stairway, and seems to have decent sound dampening from the walls.

Finding multiple sanders sanding on the same video without music drowning out the sanding has been challenging so I’m hoping you might be able to provide insight. I about to make my first Festool purchases in the form of a TS 75 + MFT/3 package and a CT 26 E + ??? package. My first thought was to get an RO 150 as a primary general purpose machine., then later add something like an ETS for smoother work when I get there. Further considering also has me wondering about inside corner work (if/when I can’t finish sand before assembly and such) has me considering delta and rectangular sanders.

Do you have a perspective on the RO 150? How much louder it its random orbital mode in comparison to the RO 90 random orbital mode?

If I got the RO 150 I thought of paring it with a RTS 400 for corner, narrow edge and finish sanding…though my Festool rep keeps pushing me towards the Rotex and ETS lines. The largest concern is that some people say the RTS pads will grind up against and scuff materials sticking out perpendicularly of the face you are working on. This argues for consideration of the DTS 400 or RO 90 delta pads.

If I was to try to find one or two sanders for mostly furniture style work what might you consider?
RO 150 + DTS 400 (< 90 degree corner capacity and angled pad edges but can't rotate abrasive sheet)
RO 150 + RTS 400 (90 degree corners but no angled pad edges, good abrasive rotation ability efficiency)
Mirka Ceros 150mm pad/5mm stroke random orbital (Quiet, quiet, and quiet and good for large flat surfaces) + RO 90 (delta for corners, angled pads, abrasive rotation and those cool spacer/bumpers)
RO 90 only, wait to buy something else later if desired?

Hmm, that’s a lot of ground to cover :)

As for my experience, I own the RO90, ETS150, and LS130 sanders. I also did a week-long test-drive of an RO150 demo model from my local Woodcraft dealer. While I don’t recall specifically if or how much louder the RO150 was vs the RO90, it couldn’t have been substantial or I would have noted that. I did, however, find it substantially more difficult to control and decided that I greatly preferred the RO90, whose only downfall was the small head when working large areas like cabinet sides. The ETS150 filled that gap quite nicely and I’ve been very happy with it.

Given your situation, I think you’d be happy with the same RO90/ETS150 combination, although you should also look into the ETS125 instead of the 150 if you don’t need the extra capacity. You could use the savings towards an RTS400 or even an LS130, which are both sweet little machines. I can’t really recommend the RO150 as a finish sander, although it’ll do the job I found it just too heavy and off-balance for fine control.

On a side note: You should check out the section titled The CT26 versus it’s siblings in my review of the CT 26, specifically that I would recommend the CT 36 instead.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the input. I’m going to start with the RO90…and add more finish capability when I get there. I’m sure the first projects will focus more on function over form as I build my skills.

    I considered the same value equations you talked about in your review of the CT26 and considered the CT36. I think I’m going to choose a slightly different approach and try The Ultimate Dust Deputy cyclonic separator from http://www.oneida-air.com/ in the hopes of both extending bag value and keeping the filters as clean as possible for unimpeded dust collection.

    Thanks again,

    Comment by Erik — September 6, 2012 @ 5:21 am

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