Special thanks to John Lucas of woodshopdemos.com for sharing his expert, hands-on experiences with Festool dust extraction in this month's Toolie Tip. Be sure to peruse John's website which has detailed overviews of many projects and applications using Festool power tools.
Where The Sawdust Hits The Shop Floor
I have two CT 22 dust extractors and I never talk about them. If I do it is always as an "second thought" after describing the other Festool tools — the Rotex sander, the TS 55 Plunge Saw, any one of the routers, and the Domino. Before getting into the Festool System, I had a 1.5 hp dust collector. I worked until it got to full and then the bag popped off and then I really had dust as it spewed from the bag.
I also used a shiny stainless steel ShopVac but it seemed to stop sucking way too often even after I changed the inside filter system. And noisy!!!
I never took the time to put in a shop system. In the 60's, I spent a lot of talking to chest physicians, respiratory therapists and patients and knowing particle size that could get all the way down into a persons lung was old hat for me. I knew about HEPA filters and particulate matter, I just ignored things. And if you will allow me to get descriptive for a minute, one way to measure how much dust I was "eating" was by looking at my handkerchief at the end of the day. Can you spell mahogany.
That was then, dust free workshop is now. And Samantha, our shop dog, is definitely grateful!
The only thing that has changed is the tool system I now use — Festool, the system.
We cut a lot of MDF and particle core board (white melamine). Before the Festool system, we wore those dust masks but we would have to sweep up buckets full when done making whatever we were making. We don't need to sweep up the crumbs anymore. We don't have any. Even with routing, we seem to pick up most all of the chips.
And sanding with my favorite tool, the Rotex 150, there is little to no dust and the sandpaper was lasting longer than any sanding disc would work in this shop.
Thanks, John! Be sure to check out John Lucas' website at http://www.woodshopdemos.com.