Review By Bill Esposito  Festool Website - http://www.festoolusa.com


Festool OF1010 Router

 Review

By Bill Esposito

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I'm a firm believer in the woodworking axiom that one can never have too many routers and to that end, I purchased a new Festool OF 1010 plunger router from Bob Marino. I was looking for two things, something black and green to fulfill my need for a new Festool and something small.  I have a number of routers, Triton's, Milwaukee's, Bosch and even a Craftsman ranging in size from large to trim but I was looking for something to fall in love with.  All reports were that the OF 1010 was one such router so after some deliberation I clicked the "Buy" button on Bob's site.

As with all my reviews I'll try to touch on every feature of the tool and use plenty of photos. Since many people purchase tools over the internet and don't actually get to touch them until after purchase, my goal is to present enough information so that you can make an informed decision and not be surprised by anything that is or isn't in the box.

What's in the Box!

The OF 1010 comes shipped in a Systainer (size 3) which is wrapped in bubble wrap and then placed in a cardboard box for shipment.  Mine arrived two days after ordering undamaged from the new Festool Fulfillment center in Ohio.  The accessory items were out of place in the Systainer, a common occurrence with Festool shipments because the accessories just sit in recesses in the molded plastic insert and are not secured in any way.  The router itself however is secured and was not jostled around in the Systainer.

The photo at left shows all the pieces; OF 1010 router (#1), Guide Stop (#2), Guide Bushing adapter (#3), Chip Catcher (#4),  Two Guide Rods (#5), 19mm Wrench (#6), 1/4" and 8mm Collets (#7, 2 places), Plug-It Power Cable (#8) and the Manual and warranty card (#9).

 

The photo at right shows all the parts in their proper place in the Systainer 3.  The Guide Bushing Adapter doesn't have a specific place because I believe it was added after the original release due to customer demand. 

Technical Specifications:

Power consumption: 1010 W (8.4 amp 120 v AC)
Drive shaft speed: 10000 - 23000 rpm
Quick height adjuster range: 2.165"
Fine height adjuster range: 0.315"
Weight: 6 lbs

The OF 1010 has an electronic controlled motor that Festool refers to MMC Electronics.  The electronic control provides for a constant speed under load for a better and more consistent cut.  It also features step-less variable speed for different routing applications and overload protection.   I'll probably repeat this again in the review but Festool has the best soft start I have ever used.  When starting a Festool router there is absolutely no, zero, zilch start-up torque felt by the operator.  

The Router:

The OF 1010 is a small and comfortable full featured plunge router.  You see it pictured here on the left next to the Bosch Colt 5.7amp VS trim router and on the right paired with its big brother, the OF 1400, and lastly with the Milwaukee 5616 below for a size comparison. 

As I said in the opening remarks I was looking for something that would handle much of my routing tasks and that would be comfortable and lightweight.  For me, my hand routing is primarily edge treatments so small and light is important but I also wanted more power than a trim router.

 

 


At 6 pounds the OF 1010 is a bit heavier and larger than the Colt and obviously requires two hands to operate but it is very light as routers go and is comfortable to handle and operate.

 

OK, starting from the top we'll point out the features and controls of this router.  The first control you see right on the top of the router is the speed knob which is pictured at left.  This knob, located at the base of the handle is within thumb reach if you need to adjust the speed between 10,000 and 23,000 rpm while routing.  To start the router Festool uses a trigger switch.  This is simply on and off and not variable speed as you may have experienced using this type of power switch on a Jigsaw or similar.  The trigger (right) can be locked in by squeezing it and then pushing the button in towards the handle....an operation which should be familiar to most users because it acts just like the lock on a drill or Jigsaw.  To release the lock you just squeeze the trigger again and let go. 

I said I'd mention it again so I will, when you squeeze the trigger the router will start up smoothly and without transmitting torque.  It's is a pleasure to use. 

 


Moving down to the end of the handle we see the Plug-It receptacle.  A note on Festool Plug-It cords.  Festool supplies either of two gauges of power cord depending on the wattage of the tool and control which tool can use what by keying the connector.  The OF 1010 is keyed for the smaller gauge Plug-It which allows either cord to be used.  My router came supplied with the heavier gauge cord (pic Left) which was welcomed but did surprised me.  I don't know if this is the standard or an oversight. 

To attach the power cable you line up the connector, push it in and twist it until it locks.  Some users have complained that their power cords fall off during use but that is user error as they are not twisting the connector for enough for it to lock.  There is a short demonstration video which can be selected by clicking on the photo at right.

 

 

Looking at the router with the handle on your right you'll see the depth stop (pic at left).  The depth stop and locking lever allows you to control the amount of plunge and thus the depth of your cut.  We'll get into its operation later in the article when I describe the OF 1010 in use.  In order for the depth Stop to function you also need some thing to reference it to and Festool like many other manufacturers uses a turret system (right).  The steel turret has three positions, each one individually adjustable for fine tuning your cut. 

 

 

 

 

Most routers utilize a lever to release the brake and allow the router to be plunged but Festool ingeniously incorporates that function into the knob handle (right).  To release the brake you twist the knob counterclockwise and to tighten, clockwise of course.  This allows you to keep full control of the router and not go searching with your thumb for a lever. 

The router uses a spring to both provide some resistance to the plunge and to return the router to it's full up position.  

 

 

 

 

Now we're down at the base and this is where we attach the guide bars which are used for the Guide Stop, Edge Guide accessory and other attachments. 

The easiest way to attach the Guide Stop is to slide the two Guide Bars into the plate and lock them by cinching down on the thumbscrews (left).  Next take that assembly and slide it into the corresponding slots on the router base and again tighten down the thumbscrews (right).

 

 

 

The knob on the guide plate is just that, a knob for holding the plate.  At left you can see the underside of the Guide Stop.  There are 4 holes that could capture screws for the imaginative DIY'er. 

You'll also find a threaded hole (pic right) with nothing in it but not to worry, there isn't a missing thumbscrew.  This hole will be used by other accessories like the Micro Adjuster, which we'll look at a bit later on in the review.

 

 

 

And to close out this page, how could I forget to mention the vacuum port.  While it is less flexible than the port on the OF 1400, I somehow feel more secure in that it is part of the base and I'm not going to pop or break it off.  Also in this and the last few pictures of the base you can see the clear plastic dust shroud.

 

 

 

 

The last thing we're going to talk about on the top of the router is the spindle and collet assembly.  The spindle on the OF 1010 can be locked by depressing the green button in the photo at left, thereby making bit changing a one wrench operation.  In the photo I've turned the spindle so you can see the hole that the lock bar will fit into.  To lock the spindle put pressure on the button and twist the spindle by grabbing the collet and rotating it.  If you do this with your fingers (I usually do) be careful not to cut yourself on the bit.  With pressure on the button, once the hole lines up with the bar it will slip in and the spindle will be locked.

 

 

 

 

The OF 1010 is supplied with two collets (left), sized at 1/4" and 8mm.  These collets are of the self releasing style so the sleeve and the nut are attached into one assembly (right).  To remove a bit you have to loosen the collet twice.  With the spindle locked you loosen the collet by turning counter-clockwise.  This is where the nut is the tightest.  Once the nut feels like it is loose you have done exactly that, loosened the nut but the sleeve is still wedged in the spindle and the bit will not come out so keep loosening the nut until you feel it get tight again, then loose.  At this point the bit can be removed.  What happened was the nut needs to be loosened until it starts pulling the sleeve out of the spindle, then finally when the sleeve is free the nut feels loose again and the bit can be removed. 

You veterans know all about this but I explained it because I cant tell you how many times I see folks pleading for help removing a bit from their brand new router and you guessed it, it is usually because they haven't released the sleeve on their self releasing collet.

 

I've added the photo at right simply to show those not familiar with 8mm bits just how large they are.  Here you see an 8mm and 1/4" bit and the difference in shaft size is pronounced.  My original intent was to use 8mm bits in this router but I've not been able to find a reasonably priced source.  As a hobbyist I cant justify spending $50 or $60 minimum on every bit though I'm sure those who do this for a living can.  Festool is the largest supplier of 8mm bits that I could find. 

And for those who have been clamoring for a 1/2" collet for this router, it ain't gonna happen!  The spindle on the OF 1010 is just too small in diameter to accept a 1/2" collet so there's no way Festool is going to be able to supply just a 1/2" collet.  They would need to redesign the router in order to accommodate a larger motor and spindle.  Just buy the OF 1400 if you want 1/4-1/2" bit capability. 

 

 

We're now going to look at the bottom of the router.  The OF 1010 comes standard with a phenolic Base Runner covering the base plate and the standard Cover Ring installed.  The Base Runner is the brown material and the Cover Ring is the black plastic ring shown in the photo at left.  To remove either you will need either a star bit or a flat bladed screwdriver.  If you own a Festool Toolie then you have the required size star bit. 

Festool sells a number of accessory runners and includes two other rings with the OF 1010.

 

 

 

Let's remove the two screws so that we can take the Cover Ring off and I can show you the dust shroud.  With the screws removed the Cover Ring just pops off (left) which allows us to twist the clear plastic dust shroud and remove it. 

There's no need to remove it now but I just wanted to show you what it looked like.  It is actually comprised of two pieces as the cover pops off.  I reinstalled it so that we could install the next piece. 

 

 

Like the OF 1400 the 1010 has a Chip Catcher but this one is completely made from plastic.  It installs in the same place as the ring but also covers up the square vacuum port.  This Chip Catcher, or more accurately chip deflector, is used during edge treatment operations and can rotate 360 around the bit.  It actually works pretty well forcing more chips up through the vacuum and deflecting those that don't make it so they don't travel too far.

 

 

 

 

The US version of the router comes supplied with a Guide Bushing adapter which fits the standard Porter Cable bushing size (left).  Festool supplies a metric adapter with it's routers not sold in America and also offers it as an accessory.  While you could remove the bit and pull the top off that dust shroud and install a bushing without removing the adapter ring, it is far easier to just remove the two screws and install the bushing.  The photo on the right is a rear view of an installed bushing.  We now have to mount it on the router base.

 

 

 

 

Here's that same bushing from the front (left) and then after it is installed on the router with the bit poking through (right). 

There is no play at all either between the ring and the bushing or the ring and the base plate.  By eye the bit looks centered and it should be repeatable. 

Well, that's everything that came with the router.  I did buy one accessory which is described below.

 

 

Accessories:

The Guide Stop does not come with a micro adjuster as with the OF 1400 so if you want the ability to easily dial in the position of your router with relation to the Guide Stop or Edge Guide you'll need to purchase this $20 item (left)  It attaches to that threaded hole on the base that we talked about on page 1 of this review and one of the Guide Bars get's inserted into it and locked in place (right). 

To operate the Micro Adjuster you loosen the thumbscrews on the router's base and twist the green knob on the micro adjuster.  The dial is marked in 1/10mm (1/256") increments

 

 

OF 1010 in Use: 

I had intended for this next section to include videos of the router in use but as [bad] luck would have it, when I was filming the OF1010 being used with a Leigh D4 dovetail jig I bumped into my cheapo tripod and the camera took a tumble and landed square on the steel mobile base of my table saw and broke.  I never finished the review and even forgot about it until I received an email wondering if I was ever going to finish it. 

I have used the OF1010 for through dovetails in 3/4" hardwood and blind dovetails in 1/2" hardwood using my Leigh and Woodhaven jigs.  The router sits nicely on each jig and handles the larger stock with my Leigh 8mm bits while also working the half blind joints nicely with a 1/4" bearing bit.  As can be expected with any router, even though with good dust extraction like the Festool,  the dust flies all over being flung by the exposed bit.  You won't want to do dovetails in a clients living room :) 

Edge treatments and dados are a different matter as far as dust and the Festool does a pretty good job of collecting it.  I like the Festool so much for edge treatment that I pretty much have gone to it exclusively for that task.  It's comfortable and light to use and is small enough to steal most jobs from my Bosch Colt which now just sits in the drawer.  I don't own any of Festool's 8mm bits so I do most of my edge treatment with 1/4" bits.  I don't take as big a bite as I would with my larger routers but I prefer the more comfortable size and weight of the OF1010. 

The OF1010 works well with the Festool guiderails and hole jig though I prefer to use the OF1400 and it's 1/2" bits for larger dados.  I feel confident plowing through the work while attached to the guiderail if I'm using my 8mm straight bits but feel that the 1/4" bits vibrate too much.  

I cant talk about the OF1010 without touching on the subject of bits.  If you're happy using 1/4" bits then you can stop reading here but if you intend on using 8mm bits and haven't checked the prices you should do so before ordering the OF1010.  Festool sells a wide assortment of 8mm shanked bits but I consider the prices above my reach as a hobbyist.  Other than bit sets designed for the Leigh jigs, you will not find anything with 8mm shanks other than those sold by Festool so there aren't any lower priced alternatives.  Honestly, I'm very happy with the router and was it not for the lack of 8mm bits the OF1010 would be my everyday go to router. 

In Conclusion I really like the OF1010 for its super smooth operation, its comfortable size, weight and grip and it Festool quality construction.  Every feature on this router works just like it's supposed to and it has adequate power for most jobs.  I do wish there was a supply of more reasonably priced 8mm shank bitts but that is my only complaint.  I would certainly buy this router again. 

Thanks to Bill Esposito for allowing us to mirror his great OF1010 review!

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Festool OF1010 From Hartville Tools

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