This Mobile Workshop Is Going Places
John Roberts tests the Festool CS 50 EB circular saw bench
FESTOOL is known for quality that some would say is at a price. But let’s be fair in most cases (not all) you get what you pay for.
My first impression was how light the tool is (21kg), making it very portable especially when working upstairs. Not only is it light but packs neatly to a square unit, with the cable wrapped around the cable clips at the unit’s side, which houses the push stick. The overall size is 600mm x 400mm x 373mm with a working height of 900mm (legs extended).
The unit we tested has foldaway legs making it a bench type. It can be used with legs folded away on the floor when installing wood, reducing the number of times you have to stand up. When extended, the legs are each locked in position by turning threaded knobs. When lowered, one leg has a length adjustment for stability on uneven floors, although if working in the same room as the wood installation the floor should be flat!
Set up is easy; the height and angle of the blade under the work surface can be adjusted or pulled to the front, using the pull mechanism which houses the start, lock and speed controls.
Maximum height of cut is 52mm at 90deg and 37mm at 45deg with the angle of cut from -2deg to 47deg. The adjustments are more than sufficient for installing wood flooring, including skirting boards by placing them flat on the bed. The unit also has dust extraction both from the blade guard on top and underside by the blade housing. There is a Y hose to connect to outlets and into the Festool dust extractor unit.
Dust extraction units are important for safety. I advise their use with this tool in all circumstances to keep dust to a minimum, particularly when cutting indoors. The saw can be used for rip or cross cuts.
When cross cutting, the material being cut can be held in position and then by pulling the pull handle, the blade and motor travel towards
the material and return when finished. I find this easier than moving the material towards the blade, particularly if cutting long sections.
To achieve accurate rip cuts, the rip fence is locked onto the bench and then adjusted using the slide mechanism. When rip cutting use the plastic clip that holds the dust extraction hose.
As mentioned earlier, there is a push stick handily positioned at the side of the bench, for pushing the
Remember safety when using any tool, especially no loose clothing and jewellery. And wear goggles, even with dust extraction.
The blade is easily changed by lifting one section of the working surface after turning the plastic locking knob with your fingers.
The blade is locked in position with an effective lock turned with fingers. Removing the blade plate allows you to remove dust from within the casing.
This tool is particularly useful for accurate rip cuts along walls, quicker than any other tool I have used. It has proved useful when fitting wood against a folding door mechanism. It won’t allow a profile to be fitted over the expansion gap, so with the accurate cut I could insert a low density round foam strip into the expansion and bridge the gap with colour fill.
The foam stops the filler filling the expansion and the accurate cut gives a good finish. The rip cutting facility is also useful when installing onto stairs and landing, where setting out won’t allow a full board against the nose. One big advantage is the ability to produce or modify door profiles. The standard profiles available are not always that good, particularly the height. This tool allows you to cut spacer sections to fit underneath, fully supporting the profile.
I often see broken profiles due to no suppor t underneath, frequently on floating floors where each side moves independently of each other. I could also cut grooves in boards. This is useful if quantities are tight and you need to use an off cut without a groove or tongue.
I asked my son to evaluate the tool. He has been using it for a few weeks and has made no negative comments, only positive. Having used it myself over the last few months, it is now permanently among the tools I carry around with me for use and training.
John Roberts is founder TAOFS (The Academy of Flooring Skills) and prominent consultant in flooring. TAOFS offers training in all types of floorcoverings.
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.