There’s some prominent members of the woodworking community like Marc Spagnuolo and Eric (The Poplar Shop) that have started subbing out their Festool products with other brands. With some good reasons I actually agree with. However, I’m actually going in the opposite direction, and I’ll explain why.
The beginning is a good place to start, and in this case the only place to start. As a hobbyist woodworker, I have no endorsements. I am not popular enough on Instagram, I do not like appearing on camera so YouTube isn’t really an option. So, I either buy all my tools, equipment, and supplies myself or they are gifted to me by family. So, in short, Festool does not sponsor me. Even though I’d love for someone to sponsor me. Message me.
I bought the TS 55 back in early 2014, and it has been a fantastic addition to the shop ever since. I wasn’t getting the results I wanted with my circular saw and a gripping clamp system (which I actually still have). Buying the TS 55 and 1900 rail was no small deal at the time, with it being my first foray into the world of premium-priced tools. What I got out of it though was worth the cost. It worked well, was a delight to use, and I got much better results from it. In truth, it was one of the defining moments of my hobby, understanding that there is a lot of truth in getting what you pay for.
That really set me on my way, and sold me on the concept of a system. It helped that names in the industry were also using and championing them. The Domino continues to be one of the best home-use tools ever invented in my opinion. I bought an MFT, even though I really didn’t have the room, because I wanted a good place to use both the Domino and track saw. Then an auto-start vac. A sander, then another one. A jigsaw. I paid money, took up valuable shop real estate, and replaced other options because I believed in the system, believed that these tools would help me down my path to be a better woodworker.
I still do.
That’s not to say the company hasn’t made mistakes. In truth, it seems a lot of poor decisions have come about after the USA rep left, but I don’t know if that’s a chicken or egg scenario. Perhaps he was frustrated and left too. I think the yearly price increases are stupid, and have thought so even before I started buying. I do think they are overpriced by 10-20% in some cases, or closer to 50% in terms of their drills. I will likely never own one of their drills. Their decisions on what to bring and what not to bring to the US market are indefensible. I don’t think they listen at all to user feedback. They don’t make minor revisions to the tools that need them.
All of that said, I do enjoy using them. If I can afford them, and make me happy, there’s no reason for me to stop using them. If they give me good, worry-free results, I should look to add more of them where needed.
With that in mind is why I just added the cordless TS 55. I don’t have a truck, but hope to have the funds for one in about a year. Even with one, with the set building responsibilities that I will have for the next few years, I need a way that I can build on-site (or anywhere). With the last generation batteries on clearance, I thought it might be a good time to jump. I had considered going with Ryobi’s 18v brushless saw, and adapting it to the Festool track, but remembered my poor results with the Pro Grip system. I didn’t want to go to that trouble, even though I am already invested in that 18v battery system, but trying to bodge something together poorly. So, I decided to buy the cordless TS 55 and sell my corded one for about a similar total cost.
It’s a similar story with my regular circular saw. I don’t enjoy using it to cut dimensional lumber, so I’m looking at the cordless HK model with the attached track. It will help on my deck build plus set building. In fact, I have envisioned use for all the Festool I plan to buy in the future, and will be adding them slowly as needs dictate. After the HKC, I don’t know what will be next. It will depend on if I need to strip paint (Rotex), build the bed frame (Domino XL), or what.
And by no means is it Festool or bust for my future plans. I’m very happy with my 12v Bosch drills/drivers, and will be looking into their Flexiclick system with changeable heads. I need a good bandsaw, which Festool obviously doesn’t make. The miter saw upgrade may or may not be Festool, depending on my needs for usage outside of the shop. I buy what I like, and sell what I don’t. I may sell the Pro 5 sander because I otherwise don’t have a use for the 5″ orbital. Can use that money toward a Rotex (6″) or something else.
Anyway, that’s my story.