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Old 08-01-2008, 06:19 AM
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Default RAS 115 short review and comments

The RAS 115 was my 4th dip into Timmy C.'s Festool pool and came about after some serious contemplation comparing the noxious fumes of chemical strippers to what I hoped would be a tool that would make this task at least a bearable experience.


I've had a few months to run RAS 115 through its paces and would give this little beast about 4.5 out of 5 stars. (Sadly, no Plug-it cord...oh well.)

Here's the RAS as it's nestled into its Systainer 2.


It comes with a soft 4.5 " StickFix pad. The abrasive sheets available are Rubin, Saphir and Viles.

The dust collection is not the same as the other Festool sanders. The dust and debris in the RAS's case, are channeled into a slot in the dust shroud that is surrounded by a brush insert. This brush insert can be rotated either way to put it in a position to capture the dust most efficeintly. Here's a couple of shots that show the brush in two different positions.





As I mentions before it does not have a Plugit cord and it takes a 27mm suction hose.





There is a learning curve to this tool but it doesn't take all that long. I would say the key to operating the RAS is to let the tool do the work and just use your hands to guide it along. The tool has alot of torque and has a tendency to heat up the pad pretty quickly. (Ask me how I know this.)
Keep the tool moving and don't concentrate on too small an area for an extended period of time. I found that making long sweeping passes at the work surface combined with a light touch worked best for the initial stripping. Then I've found that shorter strokes work the best for cleaning up what left behind. The RAS is run at a slight angle not flat on its pad. You can do it that way and I have from time to time but it's ability to remove whatever you're removing it compromised.

The variable speed is great feature to dial in your optimal rpm's for the task at hand. I have rarely gone above 4 on the dial and usually run it on the 1 or 2 setting.

For all of its torque it felt very nimble and controllable after getting used to it. Using what I would call a feather light touch I've gone right up to raised mouldings from a flat surface using Saphir 24 grit and had no "Oh, sh*t" moments.

The debris/dust collection was good and certainly didn't disappoint me. A word of warning, do not expect Rotex type dust removal or you will be somewhat disappointed. However with that being said I think the RAS does an above average job at getting rid of what it got rid of.

After running it a couple of times, rotating the housing to catch the stuff your getting rid of became pretty instinctual. No clouds of fine dust to deal with is really cool benefit of the RAS.

A few months ago I used the RAS to strip some old millwork that was originally installed around 1900. Over time the original varnish has been covered with 4 very ugly coats of paint. Two oil based and more recently at least two latex. I'm happy to report that the RAS with a little help from my RO 125 (both armed with some Saphir and Rubin paper) made this job quick and left very little clean up when I was done. My black and grey belt sander didn't even see the light of day for this job.

Just tonight I started on a task I've been putting off for a while. I found the orginal storm door to my house buried in the corner of the garage when we moved in 6 years ago. It was in decent shape considering the my house was built in 1916. I started with the exterior side of the door which had been painted a few times (at least 3 from what I could tell) and went to work with the RAS hooked up to my CT 22. As you will see in the pictures there are areas that I can't touch with the RAS but stiles and rail all got denuded tonight is quick fashion. I put a stop watch to it and came in a few seconds less that 30 minutes. Not too bad I would say.







The RAS is another quality Festool tool. It doesn't have alot of fancy bells and whitles but if you but it I confident you will like it.

It will be a rare occasion now when I use chemical strippers on wood now that I've found the RAS. Combining it with a Rotex and a Deltex would be any ecdysiast's dream.

(Mini review: Be sure to get some Saphir abrasive sheets. The P24 is my personal favorite. Really nasty, in a good way, stuff!)

Darrin
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Last edited by DWyatt; 08-04-2008 at 01:32 AM. Reason: Clarification added.
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Old 08-03-2008, 06:19 PM
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Nice Review . I have been contemplating getting the ras for scribing baseboard, how do you think it would work for that purpose?
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryansmythe View Post
Nice Review . I have been contemplating getting the ras for scribing baseboard, how do you think it would work for that purpose?
Thanks, Ryan.

You know I not sure if the RAS would be the way to go in scribing or or not. I think it might be a bit to difficult to control well once you got close to your scribe line. If you had some major hogging out before fine tuning it would work for that.

Now I have used my Rotex to scribe and it works very well. I recently had to fit a counter and the backsplash needed scribing. I have in the past used my PC belt sander for this but now use the Rotex. It's much lighter and more maneuverable.

It's a good question though. I'll test out the RAS tonight on a scribe line and report back.

Darrin
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Old 08-03-2008, 09:22 PM
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The baby PC belt sander (2 1/4" x 14") works very well for scribing and the dust collection is very good too.
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Old 08-03-2008, 10:12 PM
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I usually use a 4 1/2" grinder with a sanding disc on so i am use to taking off alot of material in no time it is just the dust that is the problem. I haven't done much with the little belt sander but i might give that a go too.
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Old 08-05-2008, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryansmythe View Post
Nice Review . I have been contemplating getting the ras for scribing baseboard, how do you think it would work for that purpose?
Ryan,

Did a quick and dirty scribe test with the RAS. Very unscientific and rather rushed but after all was said and done I think it might have a place in a person's scribing arsenal.

Used a piece of scrap RO and scribed it with just a pencil against a very wavey brick wall. My compasses are out in my truck so I made do with just the pencil.

This is a shot of the scribe line.


I put a sheet of Rubin 80 on the pad and has at it. Speed set on granny low.


The result. My line was off at the top so I missed it there. But I was pleased and a little suprised with the result. Very easy to control the pad up close to the line.
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Old 08-06-2008, 12:16 AM
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Looks good i got one to try out should be here tomorrow. Thanks for going through the trouble.
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Old 08-06-2008, 12:34 AM
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Ryan,

No trouble at all. It was a great question that got me to think outside the box and now I see expanded possibilities for the RAS.

To quote, "Festool is only limited to the amount of creativity we have about their products." Timmy C

Darrin
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Old 08-08-2008, 03:19 PM
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Darrin (and others who know the RAS),

I have a Rotex 150 and several buildings to sand out and repaint. Do I need the RAS, or will the Rotex do the job?

Thanks

Dave
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Old 08-08-2008, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justaccord View Post
Darrin (and others who know the RAS),

I have a Rotex 150 and several buildings to sand out and repaint. Do I need the RAS, or will the Rotex do the job?

Thanks

Dave

Dave,

Will you be taking off primer and tops coat(s) or is this basically bare wood that you're wanting to sand out only? Are we talking about "small" out buildings or smoething quite a bit bigger.

How I'm picturing it would have me telling you that you probably really don't need a RAS. Would you post a few more details about the project and I'd feel better about giving a more detailed opinion on this.

Most importantly, welcome to talkFestool! I love your area of the country. I have lots of relatives in the Denver and Colorado Springs area. They all were born in Nebraska and left for the mountain air. They seem to like me so are always offering free room and board if I would visit. Sadly, I don't head west often enough.

Darrin
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