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Old 07-25-2008, 05:37 AM
DanClark's Avatar
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Default C12 Depth Stop Chuck Review

Hi. I received my Festool order on a Wednesday from Uncle Bob after ordering it on the previous Saturday night. (Bob gets an A+ for service.) This was after spending a rough day hanging drywall on my master bathroom ceiling...

I finally got a chance to use a Senco 14.4V collated drywall screw gun that I got on a 50% off sale at Lowes several months ago. I got a great deal on the gun and thought it would make hangin' drywall much easier. I turns out that the only way to effectively control the gun is with two hands. Scratch one big supposed advantage. Then I found that it's a bit unwieldy when you're trying to get into a tight corner intersection. Scratch another advantage. Then I found that it sometimes it would mis-set and leave the screw a bit proud and it's not possible to reset a screw with the Senco. So, you have to carry your Festool drill in a work belt anyway. Scratch another advantages.

When I read about the Depth Stop Chuck (DSC) a few months ago, I thought it looked great but I already had a great screw gun (so I thought). After Saturday's experience, I decided that I needed something better and it was time to order the new chuck (and the boom arm and hose garage).

Here's the little guy on my C12:

Drill Installation: Installation, like all other Festool quick release chucks is a no brainer. It took about 6 seconds to yank my CentroTec off and "install" the DSC. Standard chuck. No brainer. Grade A+

Bit Installation: Bit installation is very easy, but a little less obvious. To install a standard 1" bit, grab the driving depth clutch adjuster (black thing with big ridges) in your left hand and twist the silver bit lock counterclockwise 1/4 turn. The bit now is complete visible and you can remove it easily. Grade A+

Speaking of bits, one the big advantages of the DSC or a lot of screw guns is that you can use standard bits. For example, I tried it on my plywood subfloor with 1" Torx head deck screws. Once I got it adjusted, it was very easy to repeatedly install screws to a set depth. I also tried it on a loose board in my fence with a 2" deck screw. Again, it was perfect.

Depth Adjustment: Depth adjustment is a pretty easy using the depth adjuster (aforementioned ridged black thing). It came pre-adjusted to set drywall screws properly. There are arrows on the chuck telling you graphically which direction to turn (see image just below). Here's an image showing a closeup of the depth adjustment. Grade: A (I knocked off 1/2 point because the adjustment it got a tiny bit sticky after drywall dust got in there. Not a big deal though.)

Note that the chuck is magnetized so it hold the screws well after you load one.

Ease of Use - Driving a Screw: I thought it was GREAT! I could set a screw with one hand while holding a (small) drywall panel up with the other one. And, unlike the Senco, you and partially set screws before hand with it and then ram them home once the panel is in place. Getting in corners was excellent; I could consistently place screws within 1/2" of the corners.

Below is a pic of me driving a screw with one hand. Not a big deal, you say? Hmmm... So who took the pic? I did... By holding the camera at waist level while driving the screw. (Actually just AFTER driving the screw.) Grade A+

Ease of Use - Resetting a Screw: But there's another aspect of "Ease of Use" - dealing with a mis-set screws. Sometimes you get the screw a bit crooked or you hit a nail or smelly stuff happens. You leave it proud and it needs to be set. If the screw is mis-set, you can't use the DSC to reset it. It doesn't work that way. However, since the C12 chucks are quick release, it was a breeze. I kept the CentroTec chuck in one of my tool belt pockets. When I needed to reset a screw, I'd twist off the DSC, pop on the CentroTec and drop the DSC in my tool belt pocket. Then it was a few seconds to reset the screw, swap chucks and you're off and running again. Grade: A- (Had to change chucks, but it was VERY easy!)

Removing a screw: The literature says that you can remove a screw my holding the green Quick Out ring to the left and reversing your drill. It works pretty well, but there are two issues. First, you have to CONTINUOUSLY hold it to the left while unscrewing the screw. I.e., it takes two hands. (I would have like to see it lock to the left.) Second it only works when the screw is in wood and you can press down on the drill. When you are screwing in drywall and miss a stud or joist, the screw floats freely. You can't press on the screw to remove it. But...

It's very simple to quick change to the CentroTec chuck, back out the screw, and swap again. After a while, I'd just leave the mis-set screws and missed-joist screws and keep going. Then I'd do a chuck quick change and fix the issues all at once. Grade: B-

Depth Consistency: Besides ease of use, this is where the drill really shines. Once you get your into a rhythm, you hand reaches into your screw pouch, pulls out and places a screw on the chuck, and BANG in she goes. No fuss, no muss, and in at the right depth. Below is a pic of a line of screws. It's difficult to tell, but they are perfect. When you place your fingers up there, every one is set to the same depth. (Except of course where I missed the joist.) Grade: A+

Documentation: This was so easy to use, docs weren't an issue. I looked at them. They were simple and readable. That's all that was necessary. Grade: B+

Tips: Three tips, especially if you have a Festool C12:

1) Wear a tool belt while installing drywall or installing lot's of screws. Get one with a big pocket for the C12, a little pocket at the top to hold the DSC or CentroTec Chuck, and a good open screw pocket. This gives you massive freedom and reduces your hassle factor tremendously.

2) Keep your hand as high on the grip as possible so that your arm is in line with the drill head. This will reduce wrist fatigue.

3) Pre-screw the screws part way on tough pieces. This let's you place the piece (drywall, fence slat, whatever) with one hand and screw them in with the other.

Overall: I love it! It's worth ever penny!!! (After using this guy for 30 minutes, I packed my Senco screw gun back in its box and stored it in the garage.) Overall Grade: A

I hope you find this review useful. Let me know if you have any questions. I'll do my best to answer them.



Last edited by DanClark; 07-31-2008 at 04:58 AM. Reason: Removed attachements
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Old 08-21-2008, 04:53 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: PA
Posts: 53
Default Re: C12 Depth Stop Chuck Review

Nice review Dan, and thanks for the tips. I'm always doing misc drywall projects, looks like a nice attachment to get to compliment my C12.

McDermott Interiors
Trim Carpentry By Design
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Old 08-21-2008, 04:58 AM
DanClark's Avatar
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Location: Bellevue, WA, USA
Posts: 414
Default Re: C12 Depth Stop Chuck Review


If you're doing a lot of drywall, then a corded drywall gun might be the ticket. If you want something compact and portable, then the Depth Stop Chuck is a great accessory.


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