Router Woodworking

Festool OF 1400 EQ

The router functions like most plungers, it plows and edges with aplomb and cleans up its messes; it is a world class tool. Expect to stage plunge to 2.75". My sample had essentially zero axial & radial runout, and as such, produced chatterless cuts whilst the cutting depths were in the practical range of the cutter's modulus (stiffness) and motor's power curve. Plungers are top heavy*, & that includes this one. On inside work there is no threat of a tip over. Moreover, using the Festool jig/accessory armamentarium expect little to no balancing issues. However*, it is tippy on outside cuts. As such, this operator recommends either their offset plate (Table Widener), or a fixed base tool with an offset subbase for those single depth trim cuts on the edge/end of stock. In any event, if you need a strong, well-made plunger to do some stage cutting the 1400 will do it, whether for the long or short term.

Work related features

The electric end of this tool can't be beat. The switch, switch lock and VS are perfectly situated. Moreover, they function perfectly. The switch is vulnerable to an accidental start however, as it is not a 2 stage switch like the DW 621. Grab it unintentionally and it will start.

The wire set (unlike the DW 618) socket and supply are carnal knowledgeable. They know each other well, assemble without ambiguity and quickly disassemble.

The depth stop (turret*) is complicated, a bit in the way, but does its job. Festool went overboard with its depth stop rod assembly. A work of art, with plenty of adjustability, but with an Achilles Heal. There is ~.012" of slop (axial) in the turret. As such, an adjustment, not accounting for this, will render a cut depth .012" deeper than expected. For me, not a problem; I scrap all turrets from all plungers, no matter what their level of sophistication.

The head control knob and lever are unique to this tool. No other extant plunger uses a lever as a head control knob. It is not my preference. In this case, the lever's centerline is 2" higher than the lock ball knob. As such, with poor plunging skills and the force multiplier of the lever, you can frustrate a smooth plunge glide. Moreover, the lever is long and will bump into clamps and fixture components. There is not much practical consequence to this but I prefer the simplicity of the ball-knob symmetry of the DW 621 (originally another German quality product). Moreover, I don't think the peculiarity plays much of a negative role whilst the machine is engaged with one of its accessories.

The lock function of the lock ball knob is ambiguous for me. It acts like an hydraulic rather than a mechanical lock & I don't know which it is. I use a staccato step plunge. I rout materials too thick to be sliced in one pass, 5/8" thick aluminum for example. I might take 15 passes to waste the thickness.

As such, I need to quickly unlock and lock (with purchase) for every depth change. The DW 621 does just that. The 1400, tho requiring very little twist to lock, does not lock on/off like a light bulb; it's mushy and vague. For me, a problem, for most users: An unknown idiosyncrasy.

The collet, 8 slotted x 1/2" x 1-3/8", tenaciously grabs its cutters. You can use 2 wrenches or one wrench & the reversible armature lock. The end of the collet (at full plunge) extends ~ 3/8" beyond the base casting, a big plus for templet users. There is a lot of stuff in the way* (plunge posts, turret, casting bosses and knobs) of a wrench seeking the collet nut. The plunge posts are housed and at no time are they or their housings in the way whilst the machine is upside down for bit or depth changes. Moreover the machine does rest on its head splendidly. At ~9 pounds the tool weighs ~the same as DW 621. The over the cutter vac funnel installs as designed, quickly and succinctly. I know of no other that fits as nicely. Provision is made for side or surface cut chip collection.

Non work related qualities

The metal finishing is superb; the base casting is burr-free and flat. The bearings hold the armature well and there is no detectable runout on this tool. The fan cover isn't about to let any foreign bodies into that compartment whether the tool is right side up or inverted. The electric components and depth rod are color coded. The plunge tubes are housed. The tool is not a gathering of parts from the shelf. The components are designed specifically for this router, & well made, finished and assembled.

Bottom-line: This is an accessory dependent tool designed for the extraordinary and comprehensive Festool armamentarium. And it works well in ordinary router encounters. This is a quality machine made for the long run.

*Not exclusive to the 1400

See link for precision dovetail templet subbase.

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Copyright © 2009 Pat Warner
Last modified: Mon Sep 28 07:11:49 PDT 2009