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Author Topic: Review of Festool: LS130 Linear Sander (#567777)  (Read 9388 times)

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Offline Wood_Junkie

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Review of Festool: LS130 Linear Sander (#567777)
« on: June 24, 2010, 10:53 PM »
This is a review of the Festool LS130 linear sander.  It is one of the three specialized-use sanders in the Festool lineup.  It is unique in that it sands in a straight-line forward-back motion, rather than orbital or rotary.  The sander is designed, like (almost) all Festool tools with dust collection as a primary consideration, ergonomics at the forefront, and durability for professional use.

So, let's have a look at the standard kit for the LS130.




The LS130 comes packed in a Systainer 1.   It comes standard with:
- The LS130 sander tool
- One flat, 80mm x 133mm sanding pad
- One 90 degree sanding pad, which also utilitizes the 80mm x 133mm sheets
- One 18g power cord.  This cord will work on all Festool tools, with the exception of the OF1400, TS55, TS75 (which require 16g cords), and any tools which do not have the modular Plug-It cords (DX93, OF2200, Kapex, RS2E, RAS115 and both planers have integrated cords in the current tool line-up).
- A few sheets of 80mm x 133mm sandpaper.




The LS130 is relatively compact, with the following exterior measurements:
3 inches wide
8.5" long, including the dust port and handle
7" tall from pad to the highest point of the body.

   


The controls on the LS130 are relatively straightforward.
There is a trigger switch, a speed control, and a switch lock button.  All are conveniently located, if you consider that in general use you will not be frequently changing speeds, but rather selecting and setting a speed, and keeping with that throughout much of your work.  Speed changes are generally only necessitated by a change of sanding grit or a change of project.  Both of which are done with the sander off.  Therefore, I believe the speed control being not-exactly-easy to change whilst in use is a design feature, and a smart choice.
It could be opined that the sander is designed more for right-hand use, as the trigger lock is only on the left side of the body, ideal for thumb-activation by the right hand.




The sander is remarkably easy to use, but changing pads can require a lot of exertion, or a little finesse.
The pads are attached and held by a pair of clips on the front and rear of the sanding plate (top and bottom in the pictures).




Towards the rear of the sander, under the dust port, is a spring loaded point which provides tension on the clips, and holds the pad in place.




One can attach and remove the pad by pressing on this point, but the springs are very, very firm.  The faster, easier, smarter way to remove/mount pads is to use a firm flat surface and push down on the machine.

Here I am resting the pad on my workbench and pushing down on the body of the sander.  This moves the spring loaded mechanism enough to remove the "top" of the pad from the retaining clips.




Here I have attached the 90 degree pad to the "bottom" clips and am pushing down on the body and rotating the pad onto the "top" clips.




Using this procedure you can change pads with only a little effort and very quickly.  To remove a sanding pad and change to another takes about 15 seconds with a little practice.


Alright, enough technical stuff, how does this sander work?

In two words:  Great.  Different.

Here I have a piece of hard maple that I wanted to clean up planer and other surfacing marks.  The LS130 might not be the first sander that comes to mind for this task, but is suffices and does a very nice job.




Here I'm showing my preferred hand-hold.  This sander, because of it's very linear motion has a tendency to want to "scoot" back and forth if the front or rear is in contact more than the other.  With this hand hold I can keep my hand high, not exert a great deal of pressure, but easily control both side-to-side balance and front-to-rear balance.  




I have large hands, so this might not be possible for everyone.  A two hand hold is very easy to do and maintain for long periods of time.

Here's another shot of the maple after 5 minutes of sanding using 120 grit.  The surface is very smooth, and since I sanded with the grain no cross-scratching is visible.  I would not deem this finish-ready, but it is very, very close.




Here's a different project, where the LS130 really shines with its linear sanding motion.
I am going to gang-sand a set of Adirondack chair slats.  Each was ripped to size and shape, but has some saw marks.  Since these are going to be stained, any variations in the surface will be emphasized.

So, I've lined up the slats, clamped them together, and will sand them together, in line with the grain.  




Sanding time:  3 minutes.
The two results are:  All slats will be exactly the same thickness and machining marks will be removed.   Smooth as butter and with no swirl marks or cross-scratches.




Overall, the LS130 is a versatile sander, which can pinch-hit for other sanders even thought it is marketed as a niche tool.  While I did not demonstrate its capabilities for linear profile sanding (those profile pads are not included in the standard kit), that is where it truly becomes distinguished and shows its unique character.  

As with all Festool sanders, the dust collection is exquisite.  When the pad is fully engaged dust collection is almost total.  This sander sounds like no other, with a definite 'ticky-ticky' sounds, but that is due to it's back-and-forth motion, versus the hum of rotary sander.





The only thing I think is a detriment to the LS130 package is the fact that it's packed in a Systainer 1.  There is very little storage space for extra profile pads or consummables.  And, unless you position the power cord just right, the lid might not want to close.
Here's a picture showing some sandpaper stored in the case.  Exactly as arranged I can close the lid without issue.

« Last Edit: June 27, 2010, 10:19 AM by Wood_Junkie »

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Online Sean Ackerman

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Re: Review of Festool: LS130 Linear Sander
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2010, 11:05 PM »
Great stuff.  Thanks for taking the time to review a tool that most don't have.  We've had some success with this unit this year after a few of us took the time to really understand her key points.

Thanks for the part about removing and changing pads.  I'm sure it'll prove to be helpful to many.

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Online Tom Bellemare

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Re: Review of Festool: LS130 Linear Sander
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2010, 11:32 PM »
I love the LS 130. Most of what I make either has barely chamfered right angles or neat rounds. I like minimal design...

The LS 130 is one of my 3, go-to sanders. It makes making things fun.


Tom


BTW: my other 2 go-to sanders are the RO 150 and Deltex - this is for shaping wood and rock.


"If I were a rock, all the world would look like a r(w)abbit." Elmer Fudd 1965
"If I were a hammer, all the world would look like a nail." Stiletto 2005
"If I were a politician, all the world would look like a sucker..." Belmont 2010
« Last Edit: June 24, 2010, 11:34 PM by Tom Bellemare »
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Offline Corwin

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Re: Review of Festool: LS130 Linear Sander
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2010, 12:08 AM »
Wood_Junkie,

You're off to a good start, but I do find it lacking since this sander's speciality is profile work and you have only shown it using the (included) flat sanding pad.  Without having to purchase additional pads, you could have improved this review by simply  adding a demonstration of the sander using the 90 degree pad and possibly even included a list of the other profile pads available.  Also, no mention was made of either the Do-It-Yourself Kit or the Scraper -- two rather important items for a review of this particular sander.  Again, you are off to a nice start, but the following excerpt seems to fall somewhat short.

...
Overall, the LS130 is a versatile sander, which can pinch-hit for other sanders even thought it is marketed as a niche tool.  While I did not demonstrate its capabilities for linear profile sanding (those profile pads are not included in the standard kit), that is where it truly becomes distinguished and shows its unique character.  
...

Why not add some more content to your review?
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Offline Dave Ronyak

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Re: Review of Festool: LS130 Linear Sander (#567777)
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2010, 04:43 PM »
The LS 130 is one of my "Go To" sanders as well despite my also having an ETS 125, ETS 150/3, RO 125 and Deltex 93 and some Milwaukee and Bosch sanding machines.  Can you tell that I hate sanding yet?  But it is a very necessary step in obtaining a good finish.

One area where I find the LS 130 outstanding is when adding solid edging [I typically use 3/4 inch thick stock] using my Domino machine to panels factory veneered plywoods, e.g. when making shelving or cabinets with mitred corners and mitred face frames.  While the Domino tenons closely match the elevation of the edging to that of the finished surface of the plywood, there is still some slight mismatch at times resulting in the plywood standing proud of the attached edging strip by an amount nearly equal to the thickness of the veneer on the plywood.  Although this difference can be quickly reduced using an ETS [orbital] or RO [rotary] sander, use of either is accompanied by a high risk of sanding through the face veneer.  In contrast, using the LS 130 with 150 grit abrasive paper quickly blends in the proud veneer layer edge without cutting through.  If looked at under magnification, the blended area is actually radiused and extends only a very short distance into the veneered surface.  As a part of the same operation, I also use the LS 130 to lineally sand the entire veneered panel surface.  I perform both of these operations using the LS 130 with its standard flat pad.

I also find the LS 130 very useful for knocking off sharp edges prior to application of layers of finish materials.  For this step I start with the standard flat pad, then switch to a cushioned pad inserted between the standard pad and the abrasive paper.  If I desire a nominal 1/32 to 1/16 inch radiused edge, I use 150 grit abrasive, usually Rubin.  A little hand work will still be necessary in inside corners.  I prefer this method to use of a router or radius scrapers and planes because there is zero chance of any splitting or tear out which I have often experienced due to changing grain direction when using other methods.

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Online Shane Holland

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Re: Review of Festool: LS130 Linear Sander (#567777)
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2010, 06:33 PM »
One area where I find the LS 130 outstanding is when adding solid edging [I typically use 3/4 inch thick stock] using my Domino machine to panels factory veneered plywoods, e.g. when making shelving or cabinets with mitred corners and mitred face frames. 

Dave, I bought an LS 130 and that's exactly what I use mine for the most, edges of 3/4" material. Works great for that purpose. I'm probably going to put down some tile this fall/winter (whenever the mood strikes) and I'll probably give the scrapper attachment a try to rip up the existing flooring.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2010, 06:36 PM by Shane Holland »
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Offline justinmcf

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Re: Review of Festool: LS130 Linear Sander (#567777)
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2010, 03:38 AM »
hi shane.

i bought the ls130 a few months ago.
it has not had much use yet.

i look forward to hearing your opinion on the scraper attachment.

justin.