In this article, Gregory Paolini shares his experiences using the Festool OF 2200 router in conjunction with a CT dust extractor for solid surface work. Gregory Paolini is a nationally recognized woodworker, author, and woodworking instructor. You can learn more about him by visiting his website at www.GregoryPaolini.com.
Like most professional woodworkers, I’m always looking for ways to make a job more efficient. But many of us look only at the operation at hand, and not the big picture. Truth is, clean up time factors into the equation. And in the case of solid surface counter top fabrication, clean up can linger on for quite some time.
Besides the fact that solid surface material is very dense, it has no grain structure like wood does. You need a router with plenty of power to machine and fabricate it. Regular wood makes saw dust, and chips when machined. It’s easy enough to sweep these up. But solid surface materials, such as Corian® or Gibraltar® make confetti. Ultra-light confetti, which builds up into mountainous piles, and lingers in the shop for years, no matter how much you sweep or vacuum. At least, that’s the way it was before the introduction of a Festool OF2200 router, and CT Dust Extractor to my shop. This combo stops the solid surface confetti right at its source.
When seaming solid surface panels together, excess adhesive is squeezed out of the joint. Once cured, the joint is routed flush. The OF2200 with its retractable dust shroud, confines all of the waste at the router bit, where it’s removed simultaneously via the integrated dust collection and the CT Dust Extractor.
A more common task is jointing built up counter edges, and routing decorative edges on them. For this operation, where the bit will remain exposed, I pop the included dust extraction hood onto the OF2200, which funnels the solid surface shavings towards the extraction port. As I travel around corners, the dust hood swivels as well, following my path. Clean up from these jobs is virtually eliminated. All I have to do is toss the OF2200 back in its Systainer, roll the assembly off to the side, and I’m on to the next project.
Whether you’re a pro whose overhead doesn’t change whether you’re routing or sweeping, or an enthusiast, who has only a limited amount of time to spend in the shop, you get to make a choice: At the end of the day, you can spend an hour cleaning up, or you can spend an hour working at your passion.