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Festool is a tool maker based in Germany who have been making tools for over 90 years and are celebrating 20 years in the US this year. They joined with our buying group ALLPRO and offered something we didn’t have before. A suite of tools to help the professional painter to sand surfaces. Some people will complain that the sanders and dust extractors are too expensive compared to some others out there, but they out perform any competition. It seems unlikely that sanding could be a clean job and much less a fun one, but Festool sanders get the job done with minimal mess and maximum efficiency. There are more sanders and more sandpaper grits that we have ever had – from 9″ wall sanders to 3″ grinder/polishers and all levels in between. Sandpaper ranges from 24 to 4000 depending on the model and polishing grits up to 11,000.
On more than one occasion I have been called by longtime professional painters and asked how to remove paint from a door that they recently painted. Usually it comes down to the lack of preparation and applying a suitable primer, that is, they cut some corners, tempted fate, and it came back to them. So they have a peeling door or trim and need to get the paint off. How to do it? How long does it take? Whatever the payment for one door to be painted, say it is $100.00, the cost of stripping and redoing that door is likely going to be twice that amount. Before Festool sanding systems, I would have had pity on this painter because the job was a waste of time and product and now it has to be redone and this time without payment. Now, I don’t see any excuse for failing to do a good job. The tools are available, the effort is minimal and the results are superb.
Most painters have a pressure cleaner or rent them to do the outside of a house. Wouldn’t think of painting outside without first pressure cleaning – no brainer. But inside is a different story. Sanding down trim and doors and even walls seem so far from their scope that a little hand sanding is all they can muster. I don’t know why investing in a system that will help you do the best job you can is so against the mentality of many painters.
Painters using Festool sanders are able to ask more for their jobs because they are using Festool to prep. Some times its because they offer it as an upcharge, or they can beat out the competition because they can prep a place out without making a mess. In environments such as hospitals, tech centers and offices, being able to prep cleanly makes a big impression.
When we repainted our store interior I went around the room with spackle and then used our rental wall sander, the Planex, over the walls. It removed all sorts of little bits and blobs that had accumulated on the walls and made the finish noticeably smoother and nicer looking. The difference in the result of not sanding versus sanding is something a painter should be able to recognize.
The Festool sanding system as three main parts to their success. First, the extractors or vacuums are quiet and have excellent suction throughout the life of the bag. The HEPA aspect removes the smallest particles of dust down to .1 micron so there is no airborne dust. The new sleeved hoses have a smooth internal contour for better airflow. Active extraction helps the tools and sandpaper do their jobs cooler so they perform at maximum efficiency.
Second, the tools are designed do make dust extraction a priority. The motors are balanced for minimal vibration and have speed control to slow down for low friction coatings like latex paints. The hose connection is made to prevent pulling off accidentally and recent models are engineered to lock on with a twist. Sanding pads are hook and loop style made extra grippy for the stresses of sanding, come in different hardnesses and are easily replaced if they become damaged.
The sandpaper is the 3rd component and Festool Granat is the go-to paper for all purposes. The grit range is the widest of any.