THe Festool RAS 115 is a Wood Sculptor's Dream

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Review by Charles Brock posted 03-08-2010 06:49 PM 8775 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
THe Festool RAS 115 is a Wood Sculptor's Dream THe Festool RAS 115 is a Wood Sculptor's Dream THe Festool RAS 115 is a Wood Sculptor's Dream Click the pictures to enlarge them

Several years ago at the Festool IWF booth, I told one of the reps what type of work I do and he said you got to try the “Termite Tool!” Full of woodworker’s cynicism , I thought, Yeah! Just another grinder. I didn’t try it, so I continued to shape my rocking chair seats using a grinder with a carbide wheel attachment while turning my shop’s air into a dusty haze. My only alternative was to go outside on a windy day and let my neighbor deal with the dust. As usual necessity is the mother of ….. well? How about? “Change!”

I was planning my first Seven Day Build Your Maloof Inspired Rocker Class and was worried about the air quality and the mess when the 5 students started sculpting their seats in the classroom. I was afraid the air would look like a 70s Lynard Skynard concert. Festool to the rescue! Thanks to the help from the staff at Highland Woodworking and the Festool Representative Dan Durant they put together a group of three Festool RAS 115s and their 22E Dust Extractors. How did that “change” work for me?

Festool designed this baby to be used for paint removal and surface preparation. They have a wood sculptor’s dream. The RAS 115 is a high-powered wonder! Armed with 24 grit Saphir paper it is the answer to sculpting and/or shaping woof furniture even indoors. It is aggressive when you want it to be because it keeps constant torque. RPM can easily be adjusted so as not to heat up the abrasive which causes clogging and will ruin your bank account. It is light weight and very controllable allowing you to feather in a curve or round-over a surface. For aggressive shaping I like to use the optional hard pad. It just gives more support when I am shaping a concave area. The soft pad comes with the grinder and I like to use it for faring in arm to back leg joints and doing finer work. The Festool “StickFix” paper comes in several varieties. The Saphir works in the most aggressive situations and has a tougher edge, while the Rubin leaves a better surface and better definition.

Where the RAS 115 really shines is in the areas of health and safety and neighborhood relations. My neighbors are no longer living under a fog of walnut dust on windy days when I sculpt rocker seats outside with my grinder. It easily hooks up to my Festool 22E Dust extractor with a non-static hose and starts and stops its operation with the grinder. I prefer the 22E to using my shop’s cyclone collector because there is less noise and it picks up better. The grinder has a rotating hood or shroud that easily rotates in place via a gear built into the handle. The hood has a set of brushes that deflects the heavier dust and redirects most of the lighter dust particles into the hood. You can see the dust getting sucked in as you operate the grinder. Best of all what is left is not visibly floating in the air. It is also a lot safer than my grinder armed with the carbide grinding wheel. The wheel can easily grab clothing and instantly leave a mark. I was almost bitten and have the t-shirt with the custom ventilation to prove it.

This “change” is working for me! The students in my class were amazed also at how will it works. Several of them are now proud owner/ users. It is one of the most used tools in my shop.

-- Charles Brock

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Charles Brock

50 posts in 3776 days

7 comments so far

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4774 days

#1 posted 03-08-2010 06:57 PM

I want one!

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 4662 days

#2 posted 03-08-2010 09:01 PM

me too.

Over the years I have become quite a fan of Festool, Altendorf, and Hoffmann. All made in Germany.

Nice review.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 4014 days

#3 posted 03-08-2010 10:29 PM

Thanks for the review. Glad to know that the dust collection lives up to the hype. Now I have another festool for my wish list! : )

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View Jon Spelbring's profile

Jon Spelbring

199 posts in 5022 days

#4 posted 03-09-2010 06:03 PM

Nice review – how would you campare it to using a Kutzall carbide wheel? I know that it’s cleaner, but as far as speed/ease of shaping? I really liked the rounded edge of the Kutzall for shaping the back part of the seat.

I did take your advise and got the Festool Rotex 125 – marvelous tool!

-- To do is to be

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4054 days

#5 posted 03-10-2010 12:39 AM

Thanks for the review,
Once again Festool has done the job—-well!


View Canadian Woodworks's profile

Canadian Woodworks

702 posts in 3838 days

#6 posted 03-10-2010 02:52 AM

I just picked up the Festool Rotex 150, it’s like i’ve never sander in my life I now enjoy it!

This grinder is on my wish list (-:

-- Paul Lemiski, Ontario Canada, Custom Wooden Rocking chairs and tables

View LaughingDog's profile


1 post in 3198 days

#7 posted 10-01-2011 03:49 AM

Great tool. On sale for 10% off now at Woodcraft. Used this tool in a class I took and sculpted my chair seat and other parts with it. Excellent quality!!!

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