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bigfoot 06-22-2013 04:17 PM

Out with the old...

These three sanders were my mainstay for the last thirty plus years of construction and cabinet making. I only starting wearing a dust mask in the last ten. What bothers me most these days is the dust you end up wearing and smelling on your clothes. Even after blowing it off with the air hose, there is always that aroma... that now aggravates my allergies.

I have a few projects lined up for the summer so this week I succumbed to the Festool system of dust extraction... which of course means new sanders. :cool_shades:

My needs are pretty simple. Belt sander for prepping face frame/door stock, orbital for pre & after assembly sheet goods, random orbit for smoothing face frame/door joints.

In staying more or less with what I'm used to, I ended up with the RO-90 to replace my PC random orbit. The festool is waaaay lighter than the PC and seems better sized for face frames. After a few tests I'm happy with the results. I was a little worried about it dishing with the smaller head size, but I switch to the hard pad and it doesn't seem to be an issue.

Then I went with the ETS 150/5 for prepping the flats before assembly. This sander I'm very impressed with. Light, smooth running, cuts fast.

I may also end up getting the RTS or DTS 400 orbital for paint prep etc post assembly. Thinking the ETS 150 might be a little big and awkward working vertically on boxes.

And finally the CT36 with boom arm. Had my doubts on the expense of the boom arm, but I'm really quite pleased. Keeps the hose and cord right in front of you which is better than the side from behind.

Am I right Festool doesn't make a belt sander? Hmmm.

So its pretty nice not wearing a dust mask and not smelling like shop grade plywood. Or my least favorite... MDF.

Funny how these plastic boxes start to accumulate...

Now can someone explain to me what are the real differences in sand paper... Brilliant, Rubin, Granut, etc. and how it relates to working with plywoods, maple, cherry, poplar and pine...???

Is it just a good, better, best thing... marketing wise? :confused:


Okami 06-22-2013 04:28 PM

Re: Out with the old...
Looks like a nice upgrade!
You can tweak the vac suction on your sanders for optimum performance. They won't need much suction.
Festool does make two belt sanders, originally another companies design incorporating a frame for ease of use. Unfortunately not available in the US or Canada, I understand. They run on 200V, but that's no excuse for festool USA not to offer them as they are available here in Japan.

Poto 06-22-2013 07:11 PM

Re: Out with the old...
Good purchases. You'll be happy with them.

I use Rubin for almost everything. It cuts well, and doesn't clog. But do be aware that for the first few minutes, a new sheet will cut MUCH more aggressively than it will 5-10 minutes later. I only use new sheets when I'm first sanding something. I then keep the sheets in the box, and use the used ones for subsequent finish sanding.

I've taken to using Brilliant for finishing. It clogs faster than Rubin, but I like the flexible paper, and the very fine finish it leaves. I think it leaves fewer swirls than Rubin.

As Okami said, you should turn the suction WAY down on your CT. I use the lowest setting. It really helps to reduce swirls, and the dust collection is still excellent.

Do experiment with the different pads. I usually start with a hard pad, and then switch to a soft one for the last few sandings.

Your lungs and sinuses are going to thank you for purchasing the Festools!

Okami 06-23-2013 02:29 AM

Re: Out with the old...
When I used festool paper in the past, I prefered Brilliant over Rubin. Hasn't Rubin been updated? The old Rubin, I felt was poor. As you mentioned, Potosan, the initial cut performance was good, but rapidly degraded into a state of semi-cut. Very annoying and costly when you have a lot of sanding to do, to a deadline. I'd finish up with a pile of disks that looked like new but with the cut capability of paper several grades above (#120 would cut like #240).
I haven't used the new Rubin, but I guess they may have tried to improve that.
Isn't Granat (spelling) an improvement over Rubin and Brilliant? I've heard it's not a bad paper.
I got bummed with my festool sanders several years ago and got rid of them all.
Since then, the Rotex90 has caught my eye. I haven't tried one, but when my Small Metabo dies I might have to:)
If all your sanding is done in the shop on projects, air sanders are the way to go. Dynabrade takes some beating.

bigfoot 06-23-2013 03:35 AM

Re: Out with the old...
I ended up going home with a couple small packs of the brilliant for both sanders. Maybe I'll try the granat next.

Friend of mine just bought the Mirka for his cabinet shop and loves it.

I have to say the Festool sanders are a huge improvement over the Dinosaurs I've been using. I'm still getting use to no dust after I'm through sanding. It's a little bizarre.

RWeber 06-23-2013 03:35 AM

Re: Out with the old...,d.cGE
Hopefully that link works, otherwise google "Festool abrasives guide"

The short answer is no, it's not good better best, it's application focused. In every line, the abrasive material, the amount on the sheet, open vs closed coat, the resin used to bond, etc, are all different.
I think Peter's comment that Bril clogs faster is a little ironic. I feel the opposite, and Bril2 is a stearated paper designed, at least, to clog less on finishes. Though on some finishes, it doesn't matter. Shellac in particular is just a waste of effort to sand.
Anyway. Maybe the guide will at least tell you what Festool's intent is on their abrasives.

Wonderwino 06-23-2013 03:54 AM

Re: Out with the old...
If you still really need a belt sander, the Bosch models hook up to the Festool hoses and emit very little dust.

I have used my RO-125 FEQ on site in the rotary mode and never had to wipe up any dust. Astounding!

Sta2lt 06-23-2013 08:31 PM

Re: Out with the old...
I am very happy with my RO 90. I use Granat exclusively, and have been very happy with it.

I purchased the Sys 1 paper storage box with my RO90 and later I bought another when I ordered a large "selection" of Granat from Tom at Tool Home. Tom will sell you an assortment sizes of paper without having to buy whole boxes. I find this paper lasts a very long time.

With 2 Systainers I am able to put round in one and delta in the other, works out very nice.

Leakyroof 06-26-2013 03:09 PM

Re: Out with the old...
Sanding Abrasives additional info from a user perspective:
Granat- fast becoming the all-round paper for many users and shops. Pricier than other Festool Abrasives but last a long time for many tasks and doesn't clog easily. The paper backing IS a bit thinner than many of us would like in certain grits, but as long as you don't slam or tear the edge of the disc, you're usually OK. Bare wood, Finishes, Paint, Metal, Plaster, Drywall compound at times, it really seems to do it all.
Rubin 2- longer lasting version of Rubin 1- Doesn't seem to have the earlier versions 'fade' out of quick cutting when a disc was still fairly new and not used much yet. Bare wood sanding seems to be still the most usage.
Brilliant 2, the old stand-by. Although I love Granat, I hope Festool doesn't kill off this paper anytime soon. The paper backing is tougher than the one on Granat when I use it, and it does so well with painted surfaces, finishes. Although I rarely use it for sanding bare wood anymore since I finally bought Rubin, Saphir and Granat, it WAS my single paper from Festool that I started with in 2004. I used it for everything
Saphir-- You're faced with some tough sanding, or nasty surfaces. You discover Saphir, a slightly hidden gem in the abrasive line-up. Heavy backing on the discs, takes heat build-up well, and while not great with old paint or other clogging finishes, can work well at stripping away years of build-up or just a lot of wood. I believe it's also pushed for the rough sanding of drywall compound with the large discs of the Planex Sander.
Cristal- I don't use it as much as I thought I would since Granat came out, but it's a great abrasive for weathered, painted surfaces. I would love to be able to get it in the round pad size for the RO90, but no luck from Festool with that. So, I tend to use 40 Grit Granat in place of Cristal for the jobs that I need either abrasive for.
Vlies- resembles 3M Scotchpad abrasives, I use these with Surfix or other oil finishes for burnishing the wood. I also use them for abrading a surface to remove surface defects or rust[wood or metal] Several grits, I tend to use green and white discs for my needs unless I need the coarser grits.
Platin 2- So far, I've only used it for oil finishes for a finer burnishing than what Vlies could deliver for me. I believe it's Silicon Carbide Abrasive

Those are just my notes, and your mileage may differ...:D

bigfoot 06-26-2013 06:08 PM

Re: Out with the old...
Thanks. Your summary is pretty much what I've researched so far. I bought a few ten packs of Brilliant initially. Went looking to load up on Granat and had a hard time locating what I wanted from one source. Finally found it from "Tools For Working Wood". All in stock. Had it the next day. :)

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