Quite a while ago I made some comments about Festool Brilliant sandpaper
and how it was great for removing glue squeeze out.
A 6~8 weeks ago I purchased a 10 pack of 120 grit Festool Granat sand
paper and happy to announce, better than Brilliant, in my experience.
Both papers do a good job but the baby blue colored Granat seems to hold
up better and longer. This paper simply does not load up with melted
I have posted pictures of the recent set of cabinets that I built for my
wife's sewing studio and I am currently in the middle of finishing up on
a 6 drawer cabinet that will set below my steel work bench. All 5
cabinets had double face frames that are glued, not screwed, together.
So that is 10 face frames with center stiles on 8. I had 112 joints,
front and back to sand and remove squeeze out. On top of that the 6
drawers had 24 joints to be sanded and 48 domino's that needed to be
sanded flush after trimming with the multimeter. All of these had some
degree of sanding and glue removal.
I used a total of "2", 120 grit Granat sanding disks to do all of that
plus all the surfaces of the entire cabinet and drawers.
I will warn you however a box of 10 disks is $13.00. The remaining 8
disks should be good for 20 more cabinets.
I think I will buy again.
What do you want it to do?
I have the RO125 Rotex and the RTS400 finish sander.
The Rotex sands in two modes. The aggressive mode will just about keep
up with a belt dander and in ROS mode it is closer to a finish sander.
I use both modes equally. I use the coarse mode when sanding joints and
The RTS 400 sander is a typical finish sander, not ROS but the patters
is small enough that it does not matter. It has a rectangular pad so it
gets into corners easily.
I have demo'd the ETS125 and that thing is "VERY" easy to control. I
was able to turn it on and let go if it on the work. Then with a light
finger touch on the top direct it where ever I wanted it to go. IIRC it
seemed to float on air.
I am not sure however if I would ever buy it as the other two seem to
cover all of my basis. BUT it is a nice sander. It would never replace
the Rotex nor will I probably not ever be with out a Rotex.
Recently I have noticed that there is a new sander, ETS EC 150/5 EQ
Random Orbital Sander. I watched a video and apparently it is well
balanced and is supposed to be easily held up side down over head.
Anyway I would probably go with both top models again should I ever need
to replace either.
If you are looking for a sander that will get some serious work done and
can be converted to more delicate ROS sanding I would go with the
Rotex. It comes in in 5" and 6". Since I do a lot of face frame
sanding I chose the smaller 5" model and have not been unsatisfied with
the size. The 6" is considerably larger and I felt it might be more
difficult to control on narrow edges.
This sander takes a little getting used to as it it is a two handed unit
but well worth having IMHO.
One last thing, remember that if you don't like or feel another model
might have been a better choice it you can return it within 30 days.
Well, one more thing. ;~) I use mine with the CT22 vac. I'm certain
any would work but dust extraction is so good on these sanders that you
will probably no longer be able to determine the condition of the paper
visually. The sand paper wears out but not what you can determine
visually, they way I used to know when to swap paper. The paper stays
pretty clean and especially with the Granat that I mentioned above. Now
if is seems that the cutting is slowing down I turn the sander off and
feel the surface. Fresh paper definitely has a sharper feel.
The vacuum depends... Some will create too much suction and the sander
will skip and hop across the board instead of sanding nicely. I usually
turn my Fein vac down to 3 with the RO125.
The Festool dust port isn't the Shop-vac standard 1 1/4", either. I had
to get an adapter to use it with my vacuum.
OK, while that's impressive I'm having a problem thinking of
a case where I'd need to sand over my head.
Anyway, back to the paper - in your judgement, will they show
the same ungumming performance in the finer grades when sanding
Many people apply finish and sand after assembly. I did that
countless years. Can you think of an occasion now? I used to
absolutely hate sanding the top panel, inside cabinets. And typically
to sand the bottom of a panel regardless of how high it is you need to
be able to see what you are doing. The sander has to pretty much be
over your head in that situation. Holding a sander in any position
other than simply sitting on top of the work is more effort. If that
can be improved, that better.
Because I use gel varnishes 95% of the time I can sand and finish many
components prior to assembly in a timely manner. Timely manner meaning
Not having to worry about dust or handling the pieces prior to the
varnish completely drying. I almost always varnish both sides of a
piece at the same time. You can lay a freshly gel varnished surface on
a clean work surface immediately to apply varnish to the other side.
Then if gets set on edge to completely set up.
I have not used either paper, Granat or Brilliant in a finer grit than
120. BUT the less expensive paper intended for wood, is the Red Festool
Rubin paper. In all grits that I use on that paper, 120, 150, and 180,
any excess glue tends to immediately form those little hard spots on the
The Brilliant and Granat are made to remove paint and they come in finer
grades up to 400. Because paint melts and will gum up paper that is an
issue with regular paper too. Removing a varnished surface has it's
similar issues too.
So with that in mind, I would assume that you would not have the same
issue with the Granat as you would with the Rubin.
Keep in mind also that all of the glue should be gone after using the
120 grit. So the glue should not be an issue with the finer grits
regardless. One of the reasons that the glue is an issue is the high
temperature that melts the excess glue. The more coarse the grit the
faster it cuts and the less heat. If you are using a finer grit when
you should be using a coarser grit you are probably heating the surface
up too much. You should be moving your sander at about 1" per second.
If you are concentrating on a spot you are not moving that fast. When I
sand joints/mating surfaces, and glue squeeze out, I am typically
concentrating more time on that spot compared to anywhere else so glue
melting can become an issue. While I might do better with a more coarse
grit than 120 in those areas It only takes me 3~4 seconds on a joint to
handle the mating surfaces with or with out glue squeeze out and the
glue gives way long before the wood does.
Now having said all of that. The Granat seems to last longer than the
Rubin even with out sanding glue.
That's sorta what I was asking. The ETS is much cheaper than the RO
and was wondering about the practical differences.
I was considering either the RO125 or ETS125. I figured that 5"
was a good tradeoff of size and control. I looked at the RO125, again,
at Woodcraft yesterday but they didn't have any ETS sanders, making it
hard to compare.
Even in ROS mode? I can understand it in aggressive mode (belt
sanders aren't one-handed tools, either) but would expect it to tame a
lot in finish mode.
The Rotex will accomplish more. The ETS is basically only a finish
sander. The Rotex can be used as a finish sander however its scratch
pattern is a bit larger in the ROS mode than the ETS and you "might"
need to sand a grit or two in finer grits.
Think of the Rotex as being more of a one size fits all sander. It can
replace a belt sander, ROS sander, and a finish sander. Except in
closed corners. The ETS is a finish sander, period.
Now just a point of view observation, until I bought the ETS finish
sander I always used a Porter Cable Speed Bloc finish sander. I
actually wore one out after replacing the pad numerous times and
eventually the whole pad/spring loaded paper holder. The sander would
not run faster than idle and replacing the brushed sid not help. And
no, it was not variable speed. LOL
I bought another PC speed Bloc to replace it.
Both of these sanders would create a pile of dust in a very short time.
They were IMHO superior result sanders.
Then I bought the Domino and vac. I was impressed with the quality and
decided to give in to Robatoy's suggestion to get a Rotex. He was
actually the one that made me aware, through YouTube, of the Festool
Domino a year or two before it was available in the United States.
He had been using the Rotex sanders in his counter top business for many
years prior to that.
Any way my PC Right angle ROS was getting long in the tooth and I
decided to go with the Rotex to eliminate sometimes having to use a hand
held belt sander too.
I was more than impressed and dust collection was amazing with my vac
hooded up. I looked at the PC Speed Bloc and said to my self it's days
While it is easy to see progress/results with the Rotex as you see stock
that has been removed, in an imperfect join, it is more difficult to see
results with a finish sander expect for the amount of dust on the
surface. When I switched to the ETS, attached to the vac, I had to be
more hands on with feeling the surface to evaluate progress. It seemed
that the ETS was hardly doing any thing at all, at first. And the fact
that the paper lasts much longer because it is not recutting the dust
too I was concerned that I was not getting as good of results as with
the old PC Speed Block. That was when I started doing the feel test on
the surface and realized that it was properly doing its job in a timely
manner and with out all the dust. It collects dust so well that I
seldom worry with using a tack rag to remove dust before gel varnishing.
If I see any dust I will blow that off. That dust is typically from
edge sanding where the surface being sanded does not completely cover
the sander pad and escapes the vacuum air flow.
I don't know if you are using a vac with your sander now but if not
your are in for a delightful surprise if you go this route.
It is a two handed sander, by design. As you have noticed, the motor is
off to the side so it will not stay standing in sanding position with
out one hand holding the motor end up. The other hand naturally sits on
top directly over the disk. My right angle PC sander had the same basic
design. Technically the center of gravity is not directly over the disk
so you need two hands. It is no harder to use than a belt sander,
probably easier. There is basically no learning curve with any finish
sander, as they are single hand units. It is probably more of an
operator learning to coordinate right and left hands with most any right
angle stye ROS. It is nothing that you will even think about once you
use it a few hours and see what it can do.
As pointed out by Pucdropper experimenting with vacuum suction settings
will make a difference with most any sander. You can absolutely have
too much suction and that makes moving the sander, fluidly, more difficult.
A "rustic" style the client likes, wish I could find the original
picture of this table top before I started, full of gouges, and gravy
stains that had set up for years.
Used my Festool Rotex 125 w/dust extractor, in lieu of my belt sander,
to sand the old finish off for a remodel client a couple of weeks back:
It was one of those SLJ's (shitty little jobs: "Oh, and can you sand
just this table top down so it can be refinished?"), added to the punch
list by the client as an afterthought as we were finishing up the larger
The Rotex made it possible to profitably do the unexpected change order
job, in the dining room of the house, with the client in residence, and
with virtually no dust.
As a testament to how easy the 125 is to handle, I also used it to
re-sharpen the beveled edges of that table top as well, while I was
sanding, no router/router dust control needed.
I used your Granat, for the rough sanding, and finished up with 180
Rubin, all on the Rotex 125:
Another shining example of Festool cost effectiveness ... no money spent
on dust control, taping off windows, blinds, furniture, entry doors and
floors, and all done in an hour or so.
Easiest $225 (for running through six grits to ready for finish) I made
all day. That sander and dust collection system has paid for itself
dozens of times, in a like manner.
Back in service 12 hours later, after the paint sub applied, in situ,
finish dried overnight:
Nope ... not my yob. For the price, and in light of the last minute
request, didn't do nuttin' I wasn't asked to do ...
Besides, the client very much likes rustic, so it's hard to go wrong
since the more cracked, broken, gouged crippled and split, the more
And, like Wobbit, I too am velly esspensive ...
AAMOF, I was puzzled when was asked, in the original contract task list,
to attach these "things" to old cabinet doors (they were originally
attached with picture frames hooks, and free to swing in the breeze):
Yep, I'm equally puzzled ...
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