So when we last left our fearless hero, namely me, he had used his trusty TS55 to cut the required stock for a prototype built-in. Given that we want something more functional with shelving we need some way to provide shelving and even better the ability to flexibly adjust the shelving as our family storage requirements change.
Enter the Festool LR32.
Looking in the market there are many alternatives to the Festool LR32. I have not had any experience with any of them so I cannot do a comparative review. When I was making my decision to buy I did take into account the financial cost of the various alternatives. Ultimately I selected the Festool LR32. (I will come back to this in the conclusion.)Pros
-Although this is not directly related to the LR32 guide the de facto router for the LR32 is a Festool router. I got a kick out of watching the dust swirl around and get sucked away. Totally efficient. (Pictured here are the LR 32 and 1400 ready to go!)
-The holes were clean and evenly spaced. I worked with MDF as this was what I had on hand for my prototype. Prior experiences with MDF had led me to think that MDF and I had a hate/hate relationship. I am still not on speaking terms with it but I was pleasantly surprised.
-Hole drilling was fast and the mechanics to drill, click and move to the next hole were surprisingly fluid and easy (once I had the guide rail set.) This was my big question about the LR32 and it passed with flying colours. (I also used the tip from Brice/Kreg to work from the far end of the guide rail so that the dust collection hose did not get caught up.)Cons
-This is related more to operator error and learning curve but I need to develop a better understanding of the 32mm system. At the moment I am doing some trial and error to see what hole placement works for me. I also found that unlike other tools used during this project that the LR32 felt a little unnatural to me. Every other Festool is so well designed that the use seemed intuitive. The placement of the guide rail and holes is something I need to learn.
That said, FOG has a lot of resources to help me overcome this. In fact Kreg’s videos convinced me that it can be easy and I have no doubt the next time I use it that I will be more comfortable. Shown below are the guides that I need to spend more time with to get more comfortable with regarding design/placement options. (Note the guides are easy to use and are pictured here on the far side of the guide rail.)
- I only did a short cabinet this time but for a taller cabinet the guide rail I have is not long enough. This means that I will need to devise a means to align the LR32 rail with a regular guide rail. (There are plenty of suggestions here on FOG.) This was a cost trade-off decision that I made given that the rail I purchased will cover off 80% of my needs.Conclusion
The big reason that I went with the LR32 was the fact that it was part of a system of tools. The dust collection, integration with the rail system and clean holes were all pluses. If you plan on using the 32mm system and are a Festool user then I would think that this would be definitely at the top of the list. (Bonus picture of the holes all ready to go!)