Author Topic: Help an old dog learn a new trick  (Read 1720 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline kcasey514

  • Posts: 4
Help an old dog learn a new trick
« on: February 11, 2018, 08:32 PM »
Greeting all,

I'm new to this group and to Festool in general.  I have many years experience as a professional woodworker and cabinet maker.  I am currently building a new home and will be doing quite a bit of finish carpentry on the home as well as setting up a small shop for projects when the house is complete.  I have just pulled the trigger on my first Festool purchase to either replace or add to my tool inventory.

I have purchased a TS 55 REQ w/55" Guide, Kapex KS 120, OF1400 EQ Router with LR 32mm track and kit, MFT/3 Table, CT MIDI dust extractor w/Oneida Dust Deputy, Carvex D-Handle Jigsaw w/accessory kit, various clamps and misc. items.  Expecting delivery on these towards the end of this week.

All of my experience has been based on imperial measurements, but I'm interested in converting to 32mm for cabinets and furniture.  Don't really see the benefit of using metric for general carpentry though.  Has anyone used both systems, going back and forth between the two?  Is this just asking for problems and/or confusion?  Has anyone used a "hybrid system" for hardware location and adjustable shelves?

I look forward to feedback on these questions and I'm sorry if this has been asked a thousand times before but I couldn't find this despite searching.

Thanks, Ken

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.

Offline jtwood

  • Posts: 224
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2018, 09:59 PM »
First, welcome to Festool and the Fog.

I am a hobbyist woodworker, and because of my investment in Festool tools, I have had to combine metric and Imperial measurements.  I have multiple measuring devices with the two  systems.  In some cases, like my Starrett 12" combination square, I have a blade that is metric on one side and Imperial on the other.  I have two of the Paolini pocket squares from Woodpecker, one in each system.  Because I make furniture, I use a 6" steel ruler a lot.  I have one of each and one with metric on one side and Imperial on the other, like the combo square.

You'll pick it up quickly, and a lot of the new Festool tools are no longer available in metric in the US.  The LR32 system is still metric.

You can find a lot of conversion charts on the interweb, and I have them with different tools in my garage shop.


Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 5439
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2018, 10:18 PM »
I end up issuing both systems for the same reason you'll end up using both. I have my cab design program defaulted to millimeters.


Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2240
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2018, 10:44 PM »
Hi Ken -

Welcome to FOG.  I am a hobby user.  I use 32mm system for cabinets but the rest of my furniture work I do in imperial.   Same with home improvement projects. 

Thankfully my calipers are as handy as my tape measure and flipping between english and metric for ply thickness and router bits! 

You have picked a great selection of Festool tools.  I have all of those except a dust deputy and they are really handy.  You may end up wanting a Domino in time as well as a couple of the Festool sanders.  But you can do a lot with what you purchased.

I'd suggest you watch Eric's videos on 32mm cabinet construction.  He's on FOG on occasion and posts as eRock but has a full YouTube channel at

I'll warn you there are over 20 videos in that series but you'll learn a lot and it will be almost second nature with his help.

Look forward to seeing your projects and progress.  Ask away.  Plenty of expertise and help is here at FOG -


Offline kcasey514

  • Posts: 4
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2018, 08:11 AM »
Thanks to all who replied.  The more I read and think about this topic the more I see myself using a combo of both. Too long with fractions but really like the 32mm system for hardware placement and the ability to use the LR 32 to my advantage.  Thinking that the Domino is not too far down the road if these other tools live up to their reputation.  Having owned a cabinet shop and a cabinet door manufacturing facility, I am fully aware of the benefit of great tools and machines as well as the cost and frustration of poor quality equipment. 

I'll post my feedback after I get the opportunity to use the new tools.

Offline Dick Mahany

  • Posts: 151
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2018, 09:24 AM »
I used decimal inches for many years of woodworking, DIY remodeling, and learning Sketchup.  About 3 years ago I was introduced to the Euro 32mm system and Festools.  I now find my self using a combination of both and find both useful. My lumber suppliers speak board feet and inches, so I find it necessary to continue with imperial units there, but I prefer metric now.

I recently had a new home built and have been building a lot of cabinets. The Euro 32mm system allowed me to build and install all of the boxes, and then come back later to build the doors.  I used Euro cup hinges and the doors all fit and installed perfectly using this system. 

One tool that I have found to be indispensable for accurate measurements is the True 32 tape measure from Fastcap.

Good luck and welcome to the FOG.

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3436
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2018, 09:38 AM »
I've come to prefer metric as being much simpler than screwing with fractions, but I will use the system that most closely matches my customer's needs.  I just don't like to mix systems on the same project. 
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3139
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2018, 10:40 AM »
I use Imperial for conceptual design and large things but switch to metric for actual cutting, especially when the work is small.

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 4696
  • Burger Babe Says: I Even Buy Green Bananas
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2018, 10:02 AM »
Because I was raised on Imperial but like Metric, I use Imperial for reference and Metric for actual measuring and cutting. I recommend getting yourself a tape measure that has both. Fast caps have 32mm measurements noted on their tape with black dots on the metric half of the tape
Loving the Calif sun....

Offline rst

  • Posts: 1672
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2018, 04:59 PM »
I've been wood butchering since 1971.  For the last 38 years I've worked with wood, plastic, aluminum, steel, and glass.  Needless to say my schooling and most work experience was imperial.  Once my Festool experience started I've pretty much split what I do.  For most on my construction work i'm imperial but I do a lot of precise work in wood, plastics and metal so I use metric.  All my electronic calipers will switch back and forth and I've bought Hultfers dual tapes, keep a 1 meter folding dual scale Wiha folding rule in my pocket, have three Calculated Industries (two desktop and one tool belt), a Leitz laser measure that also switches between, and have a conversion app on my smart phone.

Offline kasezilla

  • Posts: 15
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2018, 05:42 PM »
I follow the same pattern of both. I am a hobbyist woodworker but find that my developer/engineering mind much prefers metric but it's almost impossible to ignore imperial when you buy in the US so it's a lot of yelling at Alexa to do conversions for me [crying]

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 4696
  • Burger Babe Says: I Even Buy Green Bananas
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2018, 11:57 AM »
what rst said was something else I do. I have a construction calc app (ya got to pay for it) and it will convert from imperial to metric. I find it very helpful when building things.
Loving the Calif sun....

Offline Gription

  • Posts: 1
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2018, 05:28 PM »
I've been lurking about here for a few years and understand your question (as do the others that have posted here). For a decade or so I made my living in woodworking or so, but most of my professional life (several more decades) has been in the metalworking and machining world. Without a doubt, fractions become unwieldy. Way back in high school (ack! the 70's) we pretty-much had to memorize decimal equivalents down to 32's of an inch. Sadly, that is still occupying brain space, but it's simple enough to do and I find that adding columns of decimal inches a lot faster than fractions. No need to memorize if you have a $6 calculator handy, of course.

But how does that answer your metric / inch question? Like most here, I use both. At work - all day every day - I'm using both. Most of the engineering drawings I receive are in Metric nowadays, but I can convert in my head or if it gets hairy, a calculator of the calculator on your phone makes quick work of it (or excell if you have a lot of dimensions. Our toolmakers use Imperial measurements most of the time and our quality department uses Metric. Our suppliers use Imperial and so on  - in the end it works out - after all it's just math.

I was introduced to System 32 in the early 80's by a very forward thinking cabinet maker who was happy to share sources and methods with me. For casework it's great, but with a few seconds it's easy enough to toggle back and forth.

Anyway enough of my rambling. It's great that you are taking on a new project like this. There are few satisfactions in life as building your own home - enjoy!
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 05:31 PM by Gription »

Offline kcasey514

  • Posts: 4
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2018, 09:09 AM »
Thanks again to everyone that has taken the time to respond to this thread.  I'm very impressed with the cordial and positive attitude of all the responses.  That is not always the case on some forums.  Tools are expected to arrive today and I should get an opportunity to experiment with them this weekend.

General concensus seems to be that I'll be using both depending on the task.  Kinda like peanut butter and jelly.  By themselves they don't do much for me, but but them together between two pieces of toast and BAM!   

Offline kcasey514

  • Posts: 4
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2018, 07:45 AM »
Well I received half of my order Friday, 2/16. My first impression is that these tools are head and shoulders the best hand tools I have ever used. The fit, finish and balance are extremely good.  I did receive MFT/3, TS55, Midi dust collection with tradesman cleaning kit, and 420 EBQ jigsaw.  I certainly hope the owners manuals read better in German.  I spent almost an hour trying to set up MFT/3 using the manual before I gave up and went to YouTube.  Once I did that I disassembled what I had managed to put together and did a complete set up and calibration in about 15 minutes. 

I have since just browsed at the manuals, but done a more intense overview and instructions using YouTube and instagram. 

I started playing with some sample cuts on some plywood scraps and the cuts were flawless with outstanding dust extraction.  I have never seen small tools with such good dust collection.  Large machines are designed for dust collection, but small hand tools have always been neglected for the most part.  Usually the best it gets is more of a dust direction rather than collection.  I made about 15 or 20 cuts using both TS55 and Jigsaw and there was no mess to be found.  Outstanding!!!

So far so good.  I'll get back with more updates after the balance of my order comes in.


Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 4696
  • Burger Babe Says: I Even Buy Green Bananas
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2018, 11:41 AM »
Get some dawgs, I use qwas dawgs, they will help you square up your MFT fence quickly and accurately. A nice square like the one from Anderson ply would be helpful squaring up your MFT ensures a perfect 90 fence to guide rail.
Loving the Calif sun....

Offline JerryW

  • Posts: 38
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2018, 01:02 PM »

Congratulations on your new Festools.  I understand your frustration with the instruction manuals that come with the tools.  If you have not already discovered Chris Christopherson's wonderful supplemental manuals, then you must go and download these.  They can be found at:

Good luck,


Offline Jesse Cloud

  • Posts: 1707
  • Festooling at the end of a dirt road in New Mexico
Re: Help an old dog learn a new trick
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2018, 01:30 PM »
Welcome to the FOG.

Congrats on the new tools.  I still remember the excitement of my first Festools, many years ago!

The manuals do suck.  Definitely check out the supplemental manuals.

There's lots of simple stuff that is not documented, not sure how they expect you to find out about it, but the FOG is a great
asset for that.

For instance, on your OF1400, there is a subtle raised vertical line on the edge of the base that shows the exact center of the collett - great for centering grooves. 

On metric vs imperial, I use both but try hard not to mix them in a project.  I base my choice on which tool impacts the piece the most and I have no choice for measuring systems.  For instance, if I'm doing joinery with an imperial dovetail jig, I use imperial throughout.  Mixing systems (or anything else requiring lots of math) sets me up for errors. 

If you are looking for metric measuring devices or other tools, check out Lee Valley.  They also have a good stock of 8mm router bits, which are way better than 1/4 inch bits in my opinion.  There is an 8mm collett for the OF1400.

The MFT is a great tool, definitely get some dogs.  Also check out TSO's alignment jig for using the rail and saw without an MFT.  Its wickedly accurate.

And don't be shy about asking questions.  Someone always steps up with a good answer or two!!