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I’m spoiled. I’m in the enviable position of trying out new tools that come into Popular Woodworking. Sometimes I take them home for testing, if I’ve a project there where I’ll be better able to put a tool through its paces. (Ethics – as well as the need to take good pictures – dictate that I always return the tools right away.)

Yesterday, I half took the day off. Yes, I stayed home, but I was doing double duty with kitchen finishing touches and testing a new sander (the DEROS) from Mirka. I needed to sand then put a finish on my wood countertops. (For the record, after I installed the counters – months ago – I was convinced I wanted a mineral oil finish…but I was too distracted to feed it properly. I’ve given up on that, and have now applied the first of several coats of wiping varnish.)

But I digress.

Today’s recommendation is for good dust extraction, which is in many ways priceless. Good dust extraction keeps dangerous particulates our of your lungs…and off the dinnerware when sanding in a kitchen. So it not only keeps you healthier, it means less cleaning (that’s a major plus in my book).

This is all the dust I wiped up from 18' feet of countertop sanding with #240 grit – the result of a good sander coupled with good dust extraction.

This is all the dust I wiped up from 18′ feet of countertop, sanding with #240 grit – the result of a good sander coupled with good dust extraction.

Sure, my love for the Festool CT mini is affected by using it with a good sander and sanding mesh – both engineered for excellent dust collection (more about that in the April 2015 issue). But, I also hooked the sander up to my large Shop-Vac, my small DeWalt wet/dry vacuum and my household Hoover vacuum (with duct tape…the couplers did not play nice on the last one). All three did an acceptable job of containing sanding dust…but none of them performed as well as the CT Mini, and none of them went about their jobs as quietly. (BTW: Coupling an upright vacuum to a sander is ridiculous. Don’t do that.)

I’ll be taking both the test sander and the shop’s dust extractor back to work on Monday. But I’m thinking a Festool CT Mini would be a good present to myself. I’m certain it does an excellent job of sucking up cat hair, too.

— Megan Fitzpatrick


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Showing 11 comments
  • Kevin Walker

    Does anyone know if these high end dust extractors like the CT mini exhaust much air therefore kicking up dust off the floor?

  • BLZeebub

    I’ve been Jones’n for the Bosch version myself. If I ever take a notion to move my sanding efforts inside? Naaaa…

  • amvolk

    So you are saying that the Festool CT mini played well with the other power tools you used with it?

  • Nick Webb

    Over here (the UK) the CTL Midi is cheaper than the Mini – strangely. Save yourself some money, and trips to the trash can, by getting the larger machine.

  • rwyoung

    Have you considered attaching dust extraction directly to the cat?


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