Author Topic: New user, planning a new shop: Festool or Makita  (Read 2167 times)

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Offline jtibau

  • Posts: 4
New user, planning a new shop: Festool or Makita
« on: June 03, 2018, 11:52 AM »
Hi there!

I've been searching through this forums for the past few weeks trying to figure out what tools I need to start working on some wood projects. To clarify, initially my intention is to build some small boxes for electronics (with little windows for a touchscreen, holes for speakers, buttons, other little details). After this project (for school, doing a PhD) I want to learn to build furniture pieces and cabinets.

A good friend is going to help me build the boxes and her workshop is fully Festool. She's tried to advice me on tools and already convinced about a year ago to get a CXS that I've been very happy with.

As an additional pair of constrains, I currently live in a small house with carpet. Regardless of how great dust extraction is, I'll have to be mobile enough to work on the driveway or the back-porch, and then store everything in a small laundry room. Once I'm done with school I'll move from the US to Ecuador (South America). I'll take some things as checked bags and I guess some others in a shipping container.

So here's where I think I am:
- Dust extraction is important to me.
- I don't want to get a table saw now. It's just a lot harder to store and dangerous for a beginner. Thus a track saw is in the cards.
- I think I also want a router and the flexibility of a jigsaw.

Now I'm struggling to decide between buying these tools in Makita (Fein vacuum) or Festool. I don't have an unlimited budget being a student but I do want to take some good tools. If I were to go with Festool now I think I would only get a couple of "essentials", currently considering that to be a TS55, an ETS125, and a CT Midi. Total around $1500. Whereas I can get a Makita tracksaw, ROS, router and jigsaw (all in makita systainers) with a Fein vacuum (HEPA too maybe) for about the same $1500. Adding an OF1400 and Trion adds $860. It's likely the Makita things still need some accessories like dust ports, guides or something...

So here's my few questions, for which I hope to have provided sufficient background [tongue]:

- How much better will the dust extraction be? I've read that the tracksaws are comparable in this aspect, and that sanding with the ETS 125 is pretty much perfect with adjustable suction. I haven't read enough about the router or jigsaw in this aspect. Without direct hands-on experience with Festool (I'll be visiting my friend soon), I'm imagining that the best-in-class Festool dust collection still leaves a little cleaning left to do, would 10% more from the Makita/Fein system be tragic?

- Should I do without a jigsaw? For the few projects I'll be making I can use a coping saw and defer getting a Trion until much later. My friend thinks that a jigsaw is the most useful tool in a workshop.

- Should I do without a router? It seems that dados, rabets and soft edges are A LOT harder to make without a router. My friend suggests I could buy a tiny handheld/plunge router and manage.

Finally, if going full Festool, I only see a few places where I could go cheaper:
- Get the CT Sys with lifelong bag instead of the Midi saves about $150. Anyone use this with the ETS125 and misses adjustable suction really?
- The 1010 is a about $130 cheaper than the 1400. What would I miss?

Thanks in advance for all your advice!

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 858
Re: New user, planning a new shop: Festool or Makita
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2018, 06:43 PM »

OF 1010 versus OF 1400, beside the size and power the most important difference is the shank. The OF 1010 have a 1/4" shank where the OF 1400 have a 1/2" shank. If you plan to work on small boxes the OF 1010 with it's 1/4" shank is plenty. If later you plan to get on more thicker stuff the OF 1400 will serve well. Personally I opt for the OF 1400 mid range. I do all rabbet and dado routing with 1/2" bits. I actually have three 1/4" shank routers, Ridgid trimmer, Dewalt and a Makita. The Dewalt and Makita are both only used on a CNC machine.

One more thing about the OF 1400, you can use 1/4" bits using a bushing but the OF 1010 cannot use any 1/2" bit.

Offline Joe Felchlin

  • Posts: 168
  • Just another day in paradise - Livin’ the dream!
Re: New user, planning a new shop: Festool or Makita
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2018, 09:13 PM »
I researched all the brands of routers when I started woodworking 15 years ago -
And I’d make the same decision today.
The Festool OF 1400 is THE router to have.
It’s the second Festool I bought after my TS 75 saw. Wouldn’t be without either of ‘em.
It has more than adequate power and precision -
And the versatility of being able to use 8mm, 1/4”, and especially 1/2” shanks -
Is an extremely strong point with the 1400. The 1010 is limited to 8mm and 1/4” shanks.

Due to the stability (runout), I use 1/2” shank router bits 95+% of the time.
Router bits with 1/2-inch shanks have nearly four times the mass of 1/4-inch-shank bits, which translates into greater stability.
The extra mass helps reduce what is known as "chatter," or vibrations caused by the high speed of the spinning bit. As you might expect, a more stable bit makes a cleaner cut. The greater mass of a 1/2-inch bit also helps dissipate heat that is generated by the bit cutting into the wood, and it slows the transfer of heat from the router's motor to the bit.

Besides “basic” edge routing tasks - The 1400, combined with the MFT and a Guide Rail - Give you the ability to easily make precise rabbet and dado joints.

I do also have the 1010 - But use it only as a trim router.
For trim routing - 1/4” shanks are OK.
It’s probably fine for small boxes, as well.

The 1010 can “get you there” - But, it’s like comparing a tack hammer to a claw hammer.
Yes. The 1400 costs more, but you’ll never regret buying/owning it.
It’s worth every cent of the difference.
And... If you’re planning on making furniture - And other larger things - You’ll definitely be happier with the 1400.
Buy the 1010 first, and you’ll shortly be eying the 1400, until you buy it.
And... you will. [wink]

A few thoughts on buying a few “essentials” when starting out -
Versus buying a larger number of “less than the best” tools.
Buy the VERY BEST tools you can afford - Even if it’s only a few to begin with.
Over time you can add to your collection... Even if it’s a tool at a time.
Doing otherwise - Will only lead to your regret in the future.
Woodworkers - And other craftsmen of all sorts - Understand this.

    “Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.”
          Sir Henry Royce - Founder of Rolls Royce
« Last Edit: June 03, 2018, 11:46 PM by Joe Felchlin »
FESTOOL: CT26 and CT33 E HEPA Dust Extractors, MFT 1080, MFT-3, TS 55 REQ-F-Plus USA, TS75 EQ, Guide Rails: 1080's/1400/3000mm, LR 32-SYS/Holey Rail, Parallel Guides and Extensions, OF1400 EQ Plunge Router, OF1010 EQ Plunge Router, HL 850 Planer, RO125 FEQ Rotex Sander, LS 130 EQ Linear Detail Sander, DX93E Detail Sander, C12 Cordless Drill, CXS Cordless Compact Drill Driver, SYS-Centrotec-Set, Domino XL DF 700 EQ Plus Tenon Joiner Set, Domino DF 500 Tenon Joiner | WOODPECKERS: DF 500 Offset Base System | BOSCH: 5412L Compound Miter Saw, 4100-09 10-Inch Table Saw | POWERMATIC: 60HH 8" Jointer, PWBS 14" Bandsaw w/Riser Block | MAKITA: 2012NB Bench Top Planer | JESSEM: Mast-R-Lift XL/Fence/Slide, Rout-R-Plate/Table Stand | RIKON: 50-120 6inX48in Belt-Disc Sander | JET: JBOS-5 Benchtop Oscillating Spindle Sander | PORTER CABLE: 7518 and 690LVRS Routers, 557 Pro Plate Joiner, 16/18/23 Gauge Nailers | LEIGH JIGS: D4R 24 Pro Dovetail Jig, FMT Pro Mortise & Tenon Jig | LIE-NIELSEN: Almost every hand plane | DOWELMAX: 3/8" and 1/4" | KREG: K3 Master System | FEIN: Multimaster FMM 250 Q Kit | TORMEK: Super-Grind 2000 | DUST DEPUTY: Industrial (ALL) Steel Deluxe Cyclone (2)

Offline jtibau

  • Posts: 4
Re: New user, planning a new shop: Festool or Makita
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2018, 09:35 PM »
I definitely don't want to be buying a second router. In general that's my main concern... From the 1010 to the 1400 there's only about $130 so spending on the first one only to feel I need the second one feels like a waste of $470.

What do you guys think about the dust collection compared to other brands? Is it really night and day? I saw this video today () and it already blows my mind that the makita is so clean with a bag. I can't imagine that the TS55+CT can do a ton better if it already looks pretty perfect... Of course the camera would hide the imperfections so we could be talking about a 98% vs. 99% of dust extracted between the two setups.

Offline Alex

  • Posts: 5937
Re: New user, planning a new shop: Festool or Makita
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2018, 01:49 AM »
Festool dust collection used to stand out, but the last 5 years other brands certainly did a lot to close the gap.

As you're on a student budget I'd go for the cheaper Makitas to start out, they're fine tools and will serve you well.

Only for the sanders would I prefer Festool, I think their sanders really make a difference.

Offline chewy

  • Posts: 85
Re: New user, planning a new shop: Festool or Makita
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2018, 04:12 AM »
Choose makita [emoji6] For a router a dw625 will do everything you need and more. I've got 3 of them !

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 5920
Re: New user, planning a new shop: Festool or Makita
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2018, 08:33 AM »
Well you lucked out when it comes to voltage & frequency in Ecuador.   [big grin]

As far as the video goes, I have a TSC 55 with a bag and recently cut some 2" thick white oak for a countertop. I'd say the dust collection between the Makita & the Festool is the same. It's impressive with the Festool and equally impressive with the Makita.

Power wise, I think the TSC may be slightly stronger...tough to tell, just going by the sound my TSC cuts a bit faster. That's strictly conjecture on my part and only a side-by-side test would reveal the truth.

I enjoy using the 1010 more than the 1400 because of its small size. However, I think the 1400 has slightly better dust collection.

The 1400 also has more collet sizes available. There is a 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 1/4", 3/8" & 1/2" available. That may make a difference if you're purchasing router bits in Ecuador.

Like Alex, I'd stick with Festool sanders.  I'd absolutely spend the extra $$ for the ETS EC 125 over the ETS 125. They're the same weight but the ETS EC 125 is smoother, has a lower center of gravity, a 50% larger sanding stroke and has almost 2x the power.  A 150mm pad will also fit on the ETS EC 125.

Since purchasing the ETS EC 125, I very rarely ever pick up the ETS 125, no reason to.

Offline jtibau

  • Posts: 4
Re: New user, planning a new shop: Festool or Makita
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2018, 11:18 AM »
What do you guys think of avoiding the router purchase initially? I've sort of convinced my wife that we should spend $1500 on these tools, after already spending about $300 in some handtools and a small portable workbench (Black and Decker Workmate 425)... I'm afraid that even after the $1500 that would go into the TS55 + CT Midi + ETS 125 (now I'm feeling pushed towards the EC model and I would like that but it's another $200), I would find myself buying a ton of small things I hadn't considered like sand paper, maybe blades, etc. Not even talking about the wood or plywood yet [blink]. She is interested herself in building a few things for around the house so that's encouraging over-spending somewhat.

I've looked more at the Makita LXT offerings yesterday and they seem really attractive. The only one that seems a little disappointing going by the reviews is the sander. The small router sounds pretty good too. One way to look at this is that the Makita system with 4 batteries and a small plunge router costs the same as the Festool system without a router. Putting it that way it doesn't sound completely convincing actually. As I'm thinking I'd later be able to convince myself (and my wife) to throw another $600 in a 1400 if I can actually deliver in some projects. Another friend actually offered to lend me a cheap porter cable router of his if I wanted to give it a try... Maybe this is the way.

Can you also talk to me about accesories and/or hidden costs that I'm not seeing yet? But for the last one, I think these questions are mostly the same regardless of brand:

- Do I need a secondary rip blade for the tracksaw if I'm mostly going to be playing with plywood initially? I'll get some spares before taking everything back to Ecuador... But what about immediate expenses?
- I'll probably also take another rail much later since I'll probably ship a container of things home and that makes it easy to send/take long things. Should I buy another 1400, a 800 or a longer one?
- I want to get a one of those squaring tools Insta-rail or TSO. Make sense?
- Other consumables from the track saw or accesories? Parallel Guides? How often do you go through the splinter guards and the tape at the bottom edge of rails?
- What is a decent but not exhaustive set of festool sanding paper to start with? Like the basics (3 grits or whatever in retail bags), not the systainer solution that probably costs several hundred. Lets assume I take the recommendation of avoiding the ETS 125 and just spring to the superior ETS EC 125, no difference in materials right?

Offline blaszcsj

  • Posts: 431
  • I like building stuff with my hands.
Re: New user, planning a new shop: Festool or Makita
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2018, 12:23 PM »
@jtibau If you are going with plywood only for first few projects the priority should be the track saw. I would also second the ets-ec.

To make a decision on the router you need to determine the joinery type you will be shooting for and if you are going to do any pocket/recesses in the box for your speakers or switches. If it is just pocket screw joinery and small recesses a small dewalt/makita plunge would do. if you are going to dato all shelves / case ends, then you may want to step up to a 1010 or 1400 (I love both of these).

My only gripe about the makita track saw is the track guide adjustment. The festool cams are just miles better and lead to much less frustration in setup and usage. The makitas tend to get loose overtime. Power and cut quality are not a problem with the makita.

PS only thing better than having one router is two, and so on and so forth. you will quickly understand why...
OF1010 EQ Router | MFT/3 | DF500Q | Carvex 420 | ETS EC 150/3 | CT 36 Auto Clean | TSC55 | LR32 | OF1400 EQ Router | ZOBO Metric Set | CXS Li 2.6 - 90 Limited Edition | Universal Cleaning Set | HKC55 | Centrotec CE-SORT | RO150 FEQ | DTS 400 | RO90 DX | CTSYS | C18 Drill | SysLite KALII | Syslite STL 450 | RAS 115 E | OF2200 EB

Offline jtibau

  • Posts: 4
Re: New user, planning a new shop: Festool or Makita
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2018, 03:16 PM »
About the ETS sanders, for the ETS EC models, wouldn't someone also just spring to the ROTEX line?

Are the ETS models so much better for finishes? So absolute best finishers on the ETS line vs. great multipurpose ROTEX?

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1570
Re: New user, planning a new shop: Festool or Makita
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2018, 03:52 PM »
The rotex sanders are different.  They offer the ability to aggressively sand, and yes, they can be used to finish down a panel, but that is not their strength and the ergonomics make it less ideally suited for that task.  You'll find products in various categories that overlap, but consider your main use for the tool and pick the tool ideally suited for that task rather than trying to find a one size fits all tool.  So for panels and general finish sanding, I would choose the ETS150/5.  It's cheaper than the EC models and still works  well without the extra electronics in the EC models (that can present reliability and durability issues).  Sandpaper, get  120/180/220 grit granat.  That should cover you nicely.

Jigsaw - I would skip, it's not at all my most used tool.  But, when/if you find yourself needing to cut curves, then consider adding this.

Router - OF1400 as already stated for the ability to run 1/4", 1/2" and 8mm bits and very good dust collection.  I think you will eventually add a small trim router like a dewalt 611.  If you're only doing edge trimming right now, get that dewalt in a kit with the plunge base for now (or something similar from Makita).  I would pass on the cordless Makita trim router only because of the added expense. 

I would recommend the TSO guide rail square.  And 800mm track is a nice convenience, especially if you're working on that workmate and cutting smaller pieces, however, you could work on the ground on a foam board (we've all done it at some point) and spare yourself the added expense for now.  If you need to cut longer panels, add another 1400mm track.

Rip blade for the tracksaw is probably unnecessary unless you plan on working with 1.5" or greater hardwood.  The 48 tooth factory blade can do a lot. 

For the dust extractor, I would get a midi or mini.  Better airflow for the router and saw and more capacity for the same tools (which would fill up a ct sys really fast).  The smaller CT Sys is better suited for sanders and light duty clean up.