and building a "woodshop" with portable tools.
Hi. Russ Bransford made an interesting post in a thread comparing EZ and Festool. The EZ vs Festool discussions are pretty much useless, but Russ brought up an interesting point about replacing the TS.
For many us without a large space to create a permanent workshop this raises a critical issue - how to create a decent workshop without the use (or with minimal use) of the big iron tools.
I've seen many people use very creative ways of using small spaces for woodworking (Stu Ablett comes to mind) or using portable tools to achieve great results (Per Swenson comes to mind).
Since Ken closed that thread (probably a good idea) after I posted about this issue, I decided to bring it up in more proper thread for discussion. Below is edited version of my post to start the discussion.
Have a good one,
Like you, I'm wrestling with these too. We need to talk about the big issues:
- Can you create a "portable" woodshop that can be taken to a work site or set up quickly in your garage that allows you to do finish carpentry or fine woodworking?
- Can large, heavy tools like the table saw, bandsaw, jointer, drill press, and workbench be replaced with lighter, portable tools and STILL get excellent results?
Workbench magazine did an article in 2005 called "Euroshop The small shop that works big". Here's a PDF of the article:
The first two pages are the most important and cover this concept. If you have good portable tools, disregard the last four pages which are focused Festool tools implementing the concept. In the pictures on the first two pages, it also shows a small Rikon planer/jointer, a space-saving triton wood-rack, a portable plywood cutting table, a portable DC, and a portable workbench, guide and router being used to route a board.
This particular article was the first time I'd seen the portability issue addressed. The article is how I became aware of Festools and how they were being positioned. Although I now like the Festools as products, it was the underlying concept of portability AND quality woodworking that attracted me because it met my needs.
Can you replace the Festools with another circular saw, EZ guides, a Fein DC, a Porter Cable router and another portable workbench? Absolutely! Whatever works best for you!
Is the Euro Shop concept viable? I think it is. But how do you implement it? It's not the tools, it's HOW you can use them. But the problem is...
If you look at the woodworking magazines, virtually ALL writers have 20-50 years experience with "big iron". E.g., "First ya take your board and slap it on the jointer. Then take it to your big ole 10" plainer. Then cut 'er down with your humongous table saw, cut notches wit' your 18" band saw, and drill them holes wit' your drill press." Like I have space for all that stuff!!!
I learned some techniques with my Festools, but that's maybe 1% of what I need to now. I'm looking for better solutions for jointing and planeing in a small space. A good, compact, movable router table for my Hitach router. How to cut quality holes without a drill press. There's lots more. I need better answers from other users.
And I'm NOT interested in marketing hype presented by someone trying to sell their products. I.e., "just buy my products and all your problems will go away!" NOT!
It's great if you have enough space to bring in the big iron and if you can work in one place. That works for some people, but many of us don't have that luxury. My house is pretty good sized, but there's NO room to build a shop. Like Europeans and Asians, we Americans are living in smaller and smaller spaces.
Like you, I think we need to focus on the bigger issues rather than arguing about whether one tool is slightly better than another.