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When I wrapped up the last Festool entry (click to read) I mentioned that I had a tip for using the Domino when building with particleboard. So, I’ll start there then move on to the information about the routers.

We all know that building with particleboard or MDF is difficult. If the weight doesn’t ruin your back, then surely the thought of creating joints in this man-made product has to trouble your thoughts. Of course you can use the Domino for standard methods of joinery, but the idea presented at the Festool Editors’ Event made my eyes open wide.

Many times particleboard is simply screwed together. While that seems like an easy task, it isn’t. Adding screws to particleboard, even special screws designed for particleboard, seldom hold as we would like. And, taking screws out and installing them a number of times, as you would do with “knock-down” furniture designs, increases the likelihood those screw joints will weaken, if not flat-out fail.

So here’s the tip. Determine the screw location (where the screw enters the backing piece of particleboard) then cut a slot for a Domino so the widest profile of the Domino is parallel to the particleboard edge. Stay back from edge about 3/16″ and don’t cut all the way through the thickness of the particleboard, don’t want the Domino to show on the outside face.

Next, install a Domino in the slot and allow the glue to dry. Smooth away any extra material of the Domino until the surface is flush. Now as you drive the screw, you’ll be grabbing the Domino instead of just the particleboard. Since the Domino is a hardwood with a grain it holds better than the particleboard ever will.

I’ll bet your particleboard projects stay together longer and stronger with this tactic employed.

On to the Routers
Festool introduced two new routers for release in 2008. The first is a small trim router, the MFK700. What’s new about this router? What makes it a Festool tool? The MFK700 is mountable in both a vertical position, as is standard with most routers, and a horizontal position. Both bases are part of the router kit.

The supplied horizontal base is set with a 1-1/2Ã?º degree slope to facilitate trimming laminate and edge banding using a straight bit. I like the idea, but I think a base with no slope would be more beneficial to woodworkers who don’t play in the laminate area. That is in the works according the Festool team.

Each mounting design features Festool-like dust collection. There is quick, single knob changeover between bases and a fine-tune adjustment knob used with the 720 watt motor. Look for a 1/4″ and 8mm collet to hold the bits in this 3-pound tool.

In addition, the vertical base has a threaded base plate that’s ready to accept guide bushings with ease. Have you ever had a standard guide bushing come loose in the router? I have and it’s not pretty. The inner ring spins at 20,000 revolutions per minute (RPM) as it’s trapped whirling on the bit, or it ricochets around the shop like a Saturday morning cartoon character. This set-up also eliminates the need to center your bushings or adjust your routing technique each time a bushing is installed.

I’ll be interested in getting a more in-depth look at this router.

The second router shown is Festool’s OF2200, a big 2200 watt, 18 amp workhorse. The variable speed router runs between 10,000 and 22,000 RPM. I’m just going to wet your appetite for this tool with a few features that I found exciting. The first of which is a tool-less base plate and template guide change. It’s a snap. Literally, snap one plate off and snap another plate in and you’re ready for the next router operation. It’s cool.

The OF2200 has double column clamping and there’s also a dust collection shroud used when edge routing that Festool says makes the router 99% dust free. It works. Another feature is the ratcheting spindle lock that makes bit changes faster, easier and smarter. (By the way, that’s the new Festool advertisement slogan , A Faster, Easier and Smarter tool. It’s not just a tool, it’s a Festool.)

This big router has a bit of mass to it at 18.2 pounds and that is the subject of Marc Spagnuolo’s comment I mentioned in the last entry. He suggests using a router of this size and weight for inlay work. Huh? I’ve always used a small router for that type of intricate work. But, if you think about it, Marc’s idea is right on. He says a large router like the Festool OF2200 is perfect because, with a small diameter bit installed, this tool sits rock steady on the work piece as it’s running, no bouncing around. Then all you need to do is guide the router to accomplish the work and not worry about having a death grip on the router to keep it from dancing around the board as you work. Thanks Marc. I’m going to use that tip.

,Glen D. Huey

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