A friend of mine and I took the opportunity to drop by Lee Valley today to check out their Festool Demo Days. I’m not sure if this was a good idea or not… since coming home I have been poring over their catalogue like a kid before Christmas – “I want dat! I want dat!” 🙂
Festool tools from Germany, though new to the US and Canadian market, have been around since 1925. Their website states, “At Festool, our reputation has always been built on attention to detail, ergonomic design and unyielding precision. Our power tools are designed to solve problems and facilitate the highest-quality workmanship. ” I found that this statement accurately reflects the sentiments of those that use these tools.
Lee Valley recently added the Festool to their line and all this weekend they have their seminar room set up with all the Festool tools that they carry; drills, domino joining systems, dust extractors, guide rail system, jigsaws, miter saw, multifunction tables, planers, routers, sanders, circular saws and storage systems. Staff members are there to demonstrate them and answer any questions that you have.
Bob Earle of Lee Valley was our demonstrator and he ‘left no stone unturned’, as they say. He happily showed us all of the tools, telling us of their features and he also demonstrated several of them including the jigsaws which were most impressive. Even with a six inch blade installed they cut through a two inch thick piece of Maple easily. What was more impressive was that the cut was straight from top to bottom. Any other jigsaw that I have other worked with would waver an easy 1/4 inch throughout the cut, if I attempted to cut two inches of Maple at all! Surprisingly enough, the cost of the jigsaws are very close to what you would pay for any other quality jigsaw. 🙂
Speaking of cost, I believe that it’s hard for the occasional hobbyist to justify the cost of these tools but for the person making a living with them they could easily pay for themselves. For example, while we were at Lee Valley there was another fellow there who does trim work for a living, (a nice guy who was very helpful in showing me how to change the chucks on a drill). He told us that by switching to Festool he not only greatly reduced breathing in all the dust caused by MDF he works with but also saved all the cleanup time afterwards. He said that before using Festool the white walls where he was working would be brown at the end of cut day, but no more. Who can argue with this?
I often joked that having a Festool tool would be like having a mini Mercedes in your shop. However, after seeing these tools in action and being made aware of their multitude of time-saving and safety features I believe that I will joke no more (however, their dust extractors still remind me off Smart Cars… and I guess, in a way, they really are! :)) Just like any automobile will get you where you are going there are times when you need to drive faster and a point where you realize you have to drive safer. I now believe the same hold true for tools. It’s like my friend so eloquently said, “It takes someone with “low end” tools like I have to appreciate quality designed and built tools.”
For more information on Festool tools go to:
A search on YouTube will yield several thousand videos of the Festool tools in use.
You can also enter monthly sweepstakes, where you can win a Festool tool, here: http://www.festoolsweepstakes.com
Back to the shop…