182 – Festool CMS Router Table

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As most of you know, I have a nice working relationship with Festool. While they are no longer a sponsor, they do give us great tools for our giveaways throughout the year and they also provide me with tools for review purposes. This gives me a unique opportunity to show you how the tool works so you can decide if it’s worth the investment.

I’ll be honest, I have an unhealthy addiction to the green and black. Or is it a really dark blue? And I know I’m not the only one with this affliction! But even if you’re not quite prepared to pull out your credit card just yet, you can at least enjoy the eye-candy of a well-made machine. Not me….the CMS! So here’s a first look at the Festool CMS Router Table.

My goal with this presentation was to show you the three primary functions of the table: edge profiling, end-grain routing with the sliding table and miter gauge, and bearing routing. The system performs well in all three areas but here are a few things that caught my attention, for better or worse.

Sliding Table

The sliding table is the bees knees. Anyone who has used a sliding table on a tablesaw knows how useful and accurate these things can be. They slide along effortlessly with friction-free motion, resulting in the cleanest and most secure cuts possible. So imagine that same concept on a much smaller scale at the router table. Just like at the tablesaw, the slider isn’t a necessity, but it’s a heck of a nice add-on.

Bearing Routing

One thing I do a lot of in my shop is pattern routing, so anything that makes that process easier and safer is a good thing. Festool includes a separate dust shroud/guard that attaches right to the table and is very effective. Keep in mind that this is a feature that most router tables, to my knowledge, don’t even offer. If you want something like this, you would normally have to make it yourself. Additionally, they came up with a nifty alternative to the traditional index pin. Instead of having a few inches of space between the pin and the spinning bit, Festool gives you a long plastic arm that nestles into the bearing of the bit. This gives you continuous support as you smoothly transition from the support arm to the bit. I am not exaggerating when I say that using a bearing-guided bit has never felt safer! I was quite impressed with this simple feature.

Dust collection

Is anyone surprised that their dust collection is second to none? I’m not. This is just something that you come to expect from Festool. Because the unit collects the dust from above and below, dust collection is about as close to perfect as you can get.

Vibration

This is something I noticed immediately when I first fired up the router: the system has very little vibration. I don’t know if it’s the rubber feet or the little rubber tape strips under the table top, but something is eating up that vibration. I’m not sure how much this ultimately impacts the quality of the work, but less vibration is always a good thing. Get your minds out of the gutter you heathens!

Micro-Adjustment

This isn’t a negative so much as a missed opportunity. The primary fence has a big old adjustment knob at the back that can be used to push the right side of the fence in and out. This is incredibly helpful when you need to use the router as a quick make-shift jointer. Of course with respect to the road warrior crowd, that’s a killer feature. But to the shop woodworker, it’s a missed opportunity. Sure, some of us might use our router as a jointer, but the vast majority of us already have a jointer. It’s too bad the micro adjustment can’t be applied to the entire fence as well. This could have given Incra a run for their money in terms of micro-adjustment. Instead, it’s a very cool feature that I’ll never use.

Portability

The router table comes in two forms: one that attaches to an MFT Table and one that is stand-alone. The version I received was the stand-alone. Because the table is on its own folding stand, you have to expect a little movement. However, the unit never felt unstable in any way. The system is compact and obviously weighs considerably less than a comparable shaper or traditional router table. If stability is a major concern for you, you might consider the MFT-attached version as I hear it is more stable.

*Update*

The Metal Bar

Within a few minutes of posting, several folks pointed out the potential obstacle created by the metal bar that holds the featherboards in place. I didn’t provide much commentary about this primarily because I felt it was just too soon. Many safety features initially feel like they are in your way until you learn how to work with them. Tablesaw guards and jointer guards (especially European versions) tend to create a similar situation. So I really didn’t want to pass judgement too soon. Time will tell. I should also point out that in the video, I was using one of my tablesaw push sticks. Clearly not the best tool for the job, but it’s all I had access to at the time.

It’s Your Call

When I mentioned I would be doing a video on the CMS, I immediately received questions asking how it compares to other comparable router tables on the market and whether it would be worth the typical Festool premium. I am not really prepared to answer this right now as I have only worked with the system for a few days, using test pieces for the sake of demonstration. I’ll know a lot more in six months. Even then, I may not be able to tell you if it is “worth it” for you. Similar to most tools in the Festool lineup, some will find the feature set and quality-level irresistible and invaluable while others will simply balk at the price. Welcome to a phenomenon I like to call, The Festool Polarization.

What I can tell you with confidence is that this unit is every bit as capable as other router table systems we know and love already. Do the extra features justify the extra cost? Well, that depends on how much you value those extras. But rest assured, as with all Festool products, this unit is designed with precision and safety in mind and is made from high quality components. It also integrates seamlessly into pre-existing Festool setups.

Category: Reviews

Comments

  1. Jeff September 10, 2012

    I love the video. And one day I’d love to have the cms table. But what I love most is the sweet leg lamp in the background!

    Keep ‘em coming marc

    • Tim September 12, 2012

      Marc and Jeff,

      The new table is awesome. Do you know the price yet? I am currenlty setting up shop and will have pictures shortly after Christmas. I do have say the leg lamp should be included in your new shop as a fixture. I could not help but notice the Dr. Pepper shirt. If you are ever out my way stop by say hi and just a little bit down the road is the wonderful city of Waco where Dr. pepper weas invented. I think what would of happened if Dr. Pepper would of never been invented.

  2. steve September 10, 2012

    I think the bar supporting the feather (spelling?) board is always in the way. You also seemed to struggle to do the round over when using your homemade push stick… I don’t own any festool tool (I wish I did) but the lateral clear plastic feather board seem flimsy. This holds some nice features though: the free hand guide is crazy smart and the fence offset is very appealing!

  3. Lee Gibson September 10, 2012

    Hey Marc, thanks for the review of the CMS. Looks like a slick rig right there.

    I wanted to let you know that the technical term for a “Dealywhacker-doohickey” (talking about the guide “pin” and dust shroud) is a “doo-lolly”. I knew you’d want to know.

    Apart from that terminology gripe, I’m glad to see your normal excellent production values. Thanks a bunch!

  4. thedongarry September 10, 2012

    Nicely done. I love the technology but for me it doesn’t make sense. I will enjoy your updates.

  5. azsteve September 10, 2012

    Love the tapered arm version of an index pin. Can’t believe no one’s ever come up with that before.

    • Jeremy September 11, 2012

      I agree, can’t believe no one has come up with this before.

  6. Thanks for another great review. It could easily replace my two other router tables if it was only half the $$$$.

  7. Handy Native September 10, 2012

    The sliding table is a neat idea but I wouldn’t be trading in my incra for this table. I think it’s the fence that has me doubting it and normally I’m a big festool supporter lol guess I’m just not down with tap tap clamp, Test cut gone awry tap tap re-clamp Fence adjustments.

  8. A very honest demo.. Looking forward to the use and review down the road :-) I haven’t made the Festool leap yet as there are other brands for my industry, BUT have been seriously giving this company another look. Grazie :-)

  9. woodfish September 10, 2012

    Great review and great tool. When you’re testing it further let us know how the dust collections is if your cutting a half inch dado. Also can the insert handle one of those honking cabinet bits. Thanks for putting the info out there.

  10. Jeff (http://www.appssauce.com) September 10, 2012

    I am usually a huge festool fan, but I have to say, that feather board/guard combo does not look user friendly. It seems that upper bar that tightens the guard/feather board closest to the bit and holds the outer guard/feather board in place would be in the way no matter if you use the sliding table or not. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but it just seems hard to work around and hard to use. And anything hard to use just wont be used. Also the router mount seems like it may allow the router to shift, the hold downs don’t seem adequate. Otherwise some nice features though.

  11. Great review, albeit short. Festool does it again. The best!! Worth the price? I’ll try to copy a few things first. Thanks, Marc!!

  12. Sean September 10, 2012

    First off thanks mark for fueling all of our rabid obsession with new wood working tools.
    I know festool has the best dust collection for their tools and this router table seems to be a beast in that mode.( Marshawn Lynch pun) I do have concerns about the bar the feather board and guard are attached to. It looked like it impeded you from properly using your push stick.To me it appears as though you would have to work around it while using paddles or other safety devises like a push stick. I don’t think you would be able to use the feather board and guard setup if you wanted to drop the workpiece onto the router say for a stopped dado or something.Right now my router table is built into to one of the extension wings on my table saw so this would be a huge upgrade for me, but I do think the featherboard guard combo would become a real nuisance to me.

  13. John Verreault (aka JohnnyVee) September 10, 2012

    That is one slick piece of equipment. It would be nice to see a small project build that is completed primarily using the CMS. Perhaps a bit of the old Greene & Greene done up modern and Whisperized using the new black & green?

  14. Marty September 10, 2012

    Wow, this is a first for me. Festool finally has a design feature that I hate. That bar holding the feather board attachments is terrible. To me it looks like it interferes at a critical time in the routing process, as the piece is exiting the router. I’m assuming that bar is removable and regular feather boards can be attached to the slot in the fence. If not that would be truly disappointing because that sliding fence makes the $1400.00 price tag real tempting.

  15. Lobro4 September 11, 2012

    Hell yes I’d like to drive a Ferrari but I’m on a F-150 budget. If I lived at the router table it would be high on my list. Oh well. Great tool. Thanks for the review.

  16. thedongarry September 11, 2012

    I must agree with AZSTEVE. I love the tapered arm feature. You can bet I will do a DIY upgrade to my router table. Simple to do.

  17. Barron Bail September 11, 2012

    First a question. It looked like the three clamps that hold the router to the table would work with just about any router with enough flat surface, not just Festool – is that correct?

    I have to agree that the bar holding the feather boards looks like a pain and would get in the way.

    I do love the pin/support concept. I wonder if I can create a similar setup for my table. Or just buy that part and upgrade my table.

    Lastly, yes it is expensive, but by the time you calculate the cost of a table, router lift, highly adjustable fence and great dust collection, the price begins to look a little more reasonable.

    Thanks for the demo!

    •  

      The router is not only held by the clamps but there is also a pin that helps to position it and prevent it from moving. So you would have to forgo that if you use another router. Also keep in mind the lift mechanism which simply holds the router on a flat section at the top of the motor. Not sure how well that would play with other brand routers. It’s pretty clear that this system isn’t intended to gel with other brands.

  18. Bob September 11, 2012

    Thank you for sharing this with us. If I understand correctly, this will be the next Giveaway ;-).
    This seems to be a very good product worthy of Festool. I’m really impressed by the efficiency of dust collector. Also, they have a model that attaches to their MFT3 table. Festool does not seem to be concerned to adapt their products to other manufacturers and it probably allows them to concentrate on their product developement and perhaps bring them down a little further. This translates into more expensive products. I can not wait to hear your impressions between this table and other table and especially JessEm which I have. What is the brand of router you use with JessEm table?

    Thank again,

  19. I do not like the part in your way all of the time, it seems it is more dangerous trying to get around it and safely push your work piece through rather than just concentrate on pushing your work piece through.

  20. GeneCally September 11, 2012

    It must be exciting to open up a crate delivered to your shop and find a shiney new Festool product, but I con only imaghine your suprise when you opened the crate the that “Major Award” sitting on the bench behind you

  21. Dave September 11, 2012

    Looks like a nice setup, although I’m not sure what I think about the guard/featherboard setup.

  22. Barry Lam September 11, 2012

    Marc, have you ever used an old-fashioned large stationary shaper? I would imagine that those things go the way of the dodo for the home shop with the rise of the router table, but it seems to me that as router tables become their own purchased items (rather than quick shop-made items), and as they get fancier and fancier, and more expensive, it would make more sense to think of ourselves and re-inventing the shaper.

    •  

      There have been many occasions where I look at my router table setup and realize I could have had a shaper for that price or less. :) We actually discuss this quite a bit in the forum since eventually, most people come to this same conclusion. But since most of us start with routers and we’re on a budget, the natural upgrade path is to mount the router in a table. But I think if one were setting up a cabinet shop from scratch, a shaper would definitely be a good way to go. Who knows, I may have one in the shop one day.

  23. Richard September 11, 2012

    I love my CMS table. I brought it back from the UK a couple of years ago in a suitcase! I do wish there was a lock of some sort to keep the featherboards out of the way when you are not using them. They sit at only about 5 degrees past the vertical when upright and once or twice I have had them fall over on me when I was using the table without them. I am really impressed with your dust collection setup. I do not have the y-connector and second hose and I can see it makes a huge difference compared to what I have.
    Expensive? Not really when you consider you can get away with only one router and one table for all your routing needs. I sold my other router and Freud table soon after getting the CMS.
    In reply to one of your other posters, I have used a 3 1/2″ panel raising bit in the table but it is a little awkward to insert the bit.
    Nice video as always, thanks!

  24. Rob G September 11, 2012

    It looks like the MSRP is $1600 – that’s a very steep price for a router table, even with the superb engineering and build quality you get with Festools. You mentioned above that a lot of people come to the conclusion that a shaper becomes affordable at that price point – a router table is not really something a contractor would be moving equipment into an expensive house to do a custom job, and where ultra-fine dust collection is a requirement. This is a more dedicated shop appliance, so a solid router table and shaper are probably more feasible. That said, I’d love to have one if money were no object. What’s the Powerball jackpot up to these days?

  25. John D September 11, 2012

    You’ve piqued my interest. I have a Shopsmith Overarm router. It is OK, but takes a while to set it up. some routing operations I’m just not comfortable with using it. (Probably a lack of understanding) I have several pieces of Festool equipment and it is my favorite brand to go with when it is within reach of my wallet. I hope our Festool rep will be demonstrating it at our local dealer sometime this fall.

    I could then tell Santa this is what I want for Christmas when she lets sit on her lap and listen to my wish list this year!

  26. Jarred September 11, 2012

    Hello Mark:
    I love the review and hope some day to have Festool equipment. My main reason for writing is to day that I have to laugh. You are the only woodworking host that I can think of that would have a “leg” lamp and lampshade in the background:) That’s one of the reasons that I love your website and show. Your show and website have added a much needed dimension to the woodworking world. You connect very well to the average woodworker.
    Keep up the good work.
    Jarred

    •  

      haha thanks Jarred. Nicole and I are totally “those neighbors” around the holidays. You know, the ones who go overboard with the decorations? So all of our stuff has to fit in the garage in the off-season. That includes my leg lamp. :) Speaking of which, I’m going to need to blow the dust off that bad boy and get it ready for the 2012 holiday season! :)

  27. BedrockBob September 11, 2012

    Great video Marc,

    Can both sections of the router fence lock together when using with the micro adjustment? I would think this feature would work great for rabbets, groves, dadoes and sliding dovetails.

    •  

      Nope. That would have addressed the issue I had with it. Seems like something Festool could have easily engineered into the system. A simple lock mechanism that engages both sides of the fence would have been a great addition.

      • Vik September 11, 2012

        Could you connect both halves together with a small straight edge/block of wood to make them move simultaneously?

  28. Vik September 11, 2012

    1) I can’t understand why attach the router to the table with those giant, clumsy, bulky clamps? Same thing with table mounted TS55/75. Isn’t it easier and more secure to do with three of four screws just like any other router table setup?
    2) Wait a minute… you have to remove the fence to change the bit? Am I missing something?
    3) That clear plastic feather board is a nuisance. If you need a second one it should have low profile and be attached to the table (obvious mechanical advantage for one thing).
    4) Sliding table is awesome, and so are dust collection and that guide thingy.

  29. Chris September 11, 2012

    I LOVE the major award that is on the bench behind Marc in the video! The Leg lamp would complete any shop! Oh yeah the router table is nice as well! Great Video Marc.

  30. Tomas September 11, 2012

    Looks like e nice tool to own, but quite expensive i think..
    Although the tapered arm – guide pin seems great, I always used it (the pin) for when i have to round over irregular-shaped pieces of wood (like a U-shape), and since this is an arm, I don’t think it would be able to tackle that situation..

    That being said, it’s an awesome tool !

  31. Dean September 11, 2012

    Questions:

    Instead of removing the fence to install the bit, can the fence be moved / slid back enough to do that operation? If not, it seems like a real omission.

    Instead of knobs on the back of the fence to tighten and loosen the fence for removal, couldn’t they have used flip-up clamp levers?

    •  

      Hey Dean. I took a look at the fence again this afternoon and it doesn’t seem like it gives you enough clearance to change the bits.

      • Vik September 11, 2012

        Considering all the comments above it seems like back to the drawing board for Festool on this one. I think on a $1400 router table flops and omissions like this are unacceptable. It seems to me that the fence can’t be moved more than couple centimeters away from the bit. What if you need a dado along the middle of the board?

        • Richard September 11, 2012

          It’s generally a fantastic piece of kit, and the fence can be moved back much more than a few centimetres. There are two pairs of screw holes one further back than the other if you need more room. Changing the bit can often be done without removing the fence, but what is not possible is removing the plastic insert ring, so if your new bit is larger than the one you are replacing and you have to change the insert, then you’ll have to remove the fence.
          If you need to run a dado along the middle of a board, then take the router out and use it like you would any other plunge router. How would you do it on any router table?

  32. Kevin September 11, 2012

    And here I thought spending $500ish on the Bench Dog cast iron top was splurging. Of course I had to build a cabinet under it too, or you can buy theirs that brings the cost up to the same neighborhood. But if you are intending this as a stationary tool who wouldn’t want to make use of all the space under the table? Even if you have 1800 sq ft to burn you don’t want to have to walk somewhere else to get to the bits and whatnot.

    My Triton router does about the same for dust collection and better for bit changes as far as I’m concerned, especially if you have to completely remove the fence to do it on this thing.

    I do like the concept of the sliding table, but it’s not something I’d use enough. The other aspect to it is you have to make sure the fence is parallel to the travel of the table, which maybe on this is something you don’t have to worry about? That may be why the fence doesn’t slide far enough to get out of the way. They may have traded ease of bit changes for ease of use with the sliding table, but of course you’d like to have both.

  33. riley September 11, 2012

    I wish more domestic companies would start to develop comparable products, Festool has been ahead of the curve for a long time, i really thought others would jump on board. Looks like another great product, but as usual it comes with a steep price tag.

    • Andy September 11, 2012

      I’d say Jessem is there.

  34. Alex September 11, 2012

    Marc,

    This was an interesting and I have one comment and a question. The comment is that the leg lamp in the back of the video is pretty creepy. How did you acquire that? (that is not the question)

    My question is for someone who would look at procuring festool tools, where would you start? I was personally looking at the ETS125 and a dust collector but I’m not sure if I would be better to invest a little more and go to the 150 series. What are your thoughts on this? Are there some tools that festool does so much better than other brands that it is really worth to spend the premium and others that other brands can still do great?

    Thanks

    Alex

    • Kevin September 11, 2012

      I haven’t drunk the Festool koolaid, but I do own an ET 125 and a Rotex. I always reach for the ET 125 whenever I can, for the simple reason that it’s much lighter and easy to use with one hand. The Rotex pretty much requires two hands. It transmits more vibration into your hands while using it, so I find it fatigues me a lot faster than the ET, even not considering the extra weight. It is a beast that I bring out when I need to punish a piece of wood that has angered me. I also really hate the switch on the Rotex that switches it from regular to Rotex mode, which doesn’t ever seem to work unless I let the sander cool down for 30 seconds first if I’ve used it for more than a couple minutes. Maybe I just have a bad one. So I do like the ET 125, but it’s not really all that much better than the Dewalt I used to use, but which didn’t have a hookup for a vac. I like it vastly more then the Porter Cable one I had in between that I have nothing but seething hatred for.

      For the vac I use a Fein Turbo II behind a cyclone. The only other Festool product I’d seriously consider would be the Domino and the track saws, but there are other good options out there for track saws. I just don’t do enough that would benefit from the Domino to justify it, and I keep waiting for someone to come up with something you can pop a trim router in that will do the same thing for 1/3 the price.

    •  

      Without a doubt, i think the best bang for the buck in Festool tools is the TS series of saws and the Domino. Now which one to get between those two really depends on what you’re doing. In my opinion, both tools are serious game-changers.

  35. Byrdie September 11, 2012

    Some great innovation and giant steps forward in the world of router tables. I see the initiation of a lot of concepts that will likely become the standard in the future.

    But when one considers the amount they want to invest in their shop they have to consider the whole shop and that kind of ching takes a big chunk out of what’s left for the rest of the shop … at least for me.

    If someone were giving it to me, no hesitation. If I won the lottery, high probability. Independently wealthy, considerable thought. Now, I’ll build my own and incorporate the ideas I can successfully steal from others.

    Thanks for sharing and I look forward to hearing more as you get to do more with it and really put it through its paces.

  36. Awesome!! I was unbelievably excited to see this I need a new router table and this will give me the excuse to buy festools 3hp beast(router)!! Great review! I cant wait to see a full in depth comparison, to the jessEm? I currently have a jessEm lift and like it. But im iffy about bit changes on the festool.

    Daniel,

    • Tintin September 12, 2012

      Ah but the CMS is not intended to be used with the OF2200… it did not clear the UL.

  37. Frank (http://deleted) September 11, 2012

    I think of Festool as being comparable to Apple. I happen to love Apple, although I only own two MacBooks and one broken down iPod touch that was free to me. Someday though…..someday.

  38. Nick J September 11, 2012

    I am thouroghly impressed with the table and all the features. The only thing I don’t like is the way the router attaches to the table. It seems like the tie downs might come loose after some time using the router which means you would have to recheck and possibly retighten them.

  39. Dusty September 12, 2012

    That sliding table is very appealing and does indeed generate some salivary action… The reason I don’t upgrade to more of a cabinet-style table saw is that the sliding table on my Ryobi BT3100 is a feature that once tried would be hard pressed to give up.

  40. Martin September 12, 2012

    As many of previous comments, I think that the bar holding the feather board and guard will be in the way too often…

    But, let’s say I want to get rid of that bar and the guard and only use the feather board, can the bar be removed and only the knob putted back in place to lock it? If it’s possible to do so, I think it will be much more convenient!

  41. Shannon September 12, 2012

    Mark !
    This looks AWESOME I would love it in my shop!!!! I have had my eyes on getting some festool tools for my shop :) its great that you had no dust after using. Great Job and Thanks again another GREAT video!!!!!

  42. Lone_Wolf September 12, 2012

    Marc,

    Thanks for getting us worked up about another Festool product. I have to agree that buy a shaper off the bat would have been a wise idea. I’m at the $1,000+ mark on my router table. I could have spent that on a shaper and saved myself alot of time.

  43. Tintin September 12, 2012

    Hi Marc,

    First off great video. Your Wood Whisperer feed has been particularly useful to a hobbyist like me.

    A couple of questions from the video:

    (1) When using a rabbeting bit for instance (I happen to have the “Multi Rabbet Set” from Whiteside.) , should we always be using the zero clearance insert as shown in the video? What if the rabbet bit does not fit in the zero clearance profile?

    (2) I have tried using the Multi Rabbet Set with the dust shroud that comes with the OF1400 and I know that the bit is too big for the shroud. I fear that dust collection might suffer. Do you have a solution for this? Crying Is there a way to use the rabbet set with the OF1400 while having the same level of dust collection? (I currently use the rabbet set with my 2200 as the dust collection is exceptional – but since I am typically doing long narrow stocks of wood, the CMS would be more ergonomic IMHO ).

    Best Regards,
    - Tintin

    •  

      Hi Tintin. With any router bit on the router table, I use the zero clearance that gets me as close as I can get without making contact. Sometimes, you wind up with sizes that are right in between the ones you have available. So one is just a little too small but the next size up is too big. If the work piece is large enough, I usually just use the bigger size. But if it starts to feel dangerous, I might cut my own insert from a blank. Many times, the table manufacturer will provide you with blanks so you can make custom inserts. As for the dust collection, there are just some operations that will require compromise. In my opinion, the quality of the work comes first. If I have to wear my respirator and do some cleanup afterwards, it’s all good. So I don’t really have anything in the way of tricks for something like that. Sometimes, you just do the best you can and get the shop vac ready for when you’re done. :)

      • Tintin September 13, 2012

        Hi Marc,

        Thank You for taking the time to reply back… awesome site.

        BTW I also posted the question on the FOG and Brice and Shane gave good recommendations.

        http://festoolownersgroup.com/...../msg222317

        Since I do my woodworking in the second bedroom in my apartment, dust collection is critical – but yes I do agree… quality of the work is a first priority.

        Best Regards,
        - Tintin

  44. Josh September 13, 2012

    It seems to me that the big appeal of this is the portability. Is there any reason that a woodworker that never needs to move his router table or take it off-site should consider this over a nice Kreg or Jessem table?

  45. chuck zimmer September 13, 2012

    Man, that’s a lot of work to change a router bit. To all you die hard festool fans, don’t take this personally but this is just another overpriced festool tool. The only festool tool that I think justifies the money is the track saw, and that is even a little pricey. Don’t even get me started on the domino, and the routers. Come on people 800.00 for a router. Yes they are good tools but they are not worth what festool is asking. If we keep paying these ridicules prices, Festool will continue to charge 3 times what its worth. One more thought, 550.00 for a MDF table that you could build for 30 bucks. I know the value of good tools but this festool craze is out of control!!!

    • Tintin September 13, 2012

      Hi Chuck,

      Fair comment on the MFT MDF topping… that being said. I do my work in a very compact space. I researched a bunch and for the system that Festool offers, there don’t seem to be comparable products. At least I could not find any.

      The compact system with dust collection is exceptional and since they all work as a “system”, once you are in, you are in.

      Best,
      - Tintin

    •  

      I definitely don’t want to get into the habit of defending Festool since everyone is entitled to their opinion. But I can definitely say that in my opinion, the MFT, the TS55, and the Domino are all worth the asking price. I see those three as game-changers for a small shop.

      • dom allen October 22, 2012

        Thanks for the rubbing of salt Marc. I live in Japan and I think that you guys should calm down a bit on the price moaning. At the moment the domino set in todays money here is
        $1,837. And the routers are unavailable you can get the old ones for around $1600. They still sell them here. Anyway the big whinge is that Festool have clamped down, it seems on people sending products overseas. I shop at Highland they give me a great international service. But no Festool. I would love to buy 2 x of 1400′s and the 800. I can’t buy them here and they won’t let me buy them there. I have a domino from the U.S. The U.S price is great. It’s really not worth the Japan price. Think Yourselves lucky. If you like festool that is.

    • thedongarry September 13, 2012

      CHUCK you are so right on.

  46. pagel September 13, 2012

    The sliding table is clearly the best feature of the CMS router table. I’d love to have something like that for my table. Having said that, I am surprised with Festool’s fence and integrated feather board designs. The micro-adjustable infeed side of the fence looks fantastic, but having to remove the fence to change bits or inserts would seem to be a nuisance – minor perhaps…

    Anyway, thanks for a great and, yes, honest review, Marc. Nicely done!

  47. Marty Backe September 13, 2012

    Enjoyed the video.

    Like a lot of other commenters, I think the bar/featherboard design is more of a nuisance. You gave it good shot trying to use it, but I wonder if you’re being a bit politically correct by forcing yourself to use it. If you do a follow-up sometime, I’d be interested to know if you really keep it in place while doing all the routing on the table.

    Other than that, looks like a nice product if you have the cash. I have the Domino and a few other items, but couldn’t see myself spending, what I know will be a lot, for this thing.

  48. Timothy L Shevel September 13, 2012

    Nice effort on demoing the Festool router table. I like the table for on-site work. It is not allways easy to leave a jobsite in the middle of the day (I gots this perfect parking spot, I aint movin fo no one). I do alot of work in downtown areas of very busy cities. So that is why I like most of my tools to be portable. I do have a large shop back home however, I have found it to be wise to have onsite capabilities with me at all times. I will most likely purchase this when it does become available. I realize no tool is perfect, but I have no trouble trying this table out. After all you can return it in 30 days. Be well WW………. Timothy

  49. Chuck Riccardo September 13, 2012

    Sorry Marc, this is not a good tool for the shop. It may be a fine site tool, but not what a furnituremaker would want to be locked into. Like a lot of other tools you have ‘hawked’, this one also will one day disappear in your shop from our view.
    IMHO I think you push FesTool too hard.

    •  

      Sorry you feel that way Chuck. The products I demo have to fit three criteria: I have to find them interesting, I think the viewers will find them interesting, and it either has to be affordable or the company has to be willing to supply me with one. The CMS fit all three and thankfully Festool is smart enough to send me one. :) And you can’t tell me that you weren’t at least interested in seeing what this router table was about, even if you ultimately didn’t like the product.

      Now I certainly hope you didn’t walk away from this video assuming I fully endorsed the CMS as the perfect shop router table. If that’s the case, you may want to watch the video again.

  50. JimS September 13, 2012

    Nice table BUT I almost fell over when I saw the price. Good grief, $1000 for a router table! I can see the point for a pro, but for me a weekend hobbiest, it’s not even in the realm of a remote possibility.

  51. Patrick Schupbach September 14, 2012

    A bit pricey…. I will stick with my Norm inspired. shop built version!!

  52. thedongarry September 14, 2012

    A thought just occurred to me from the old marketing days … “we have more solutions than you have problems” Sounds a bit like fesstool. I did enjoy your video

  53. Chuck Riccardo September 14, 2012

    Marc, I kinda got myself in a negative spin on this Festool thing, which is not a comfortable place to be. However, since I am knee deep – then I might as well go for over my head. You said, “… it either has to be affordable or the company has to be willing to supply me with one. ” Well, Marc, if you can’t afford it, there is sure a great chance that most of us won’t be able to either!

    I suggest this rule – it is the same one my fifth grade teacher taught us: “If you want to chew a piece of gum in class, then you need to have enough to give a piece to everyone.”

    I propose the same rule here – if Festool is going to give you a free tool, then they have to give each of us a free tool also!” ;)

    • Lee Gibson September 14, 2012

      Chuck, I’m afraid I disagree entirely. I don’t have a shop like Norm Abrams. I don’t have a shop like Marc. I probably don’t have a shop like yours.

      I come here because I learn stuff. I like Marc’s approach, and presentation, and he seems to do a great job being up front when he gets consideration from vendors.

      So you don’t think this tool works for you. Fine! Do you think Marc’s video helped inform that position? Great, then it’s worth more you paid for it (which is $0). If it didn’t, then why grouse about it?

      You don’t see the value of Festool’s approach. Cool! Other people might. Can’t we just get along?

    •  

      haha well not for nothing, but Festool has been quite generous in their giveaways. I realize the get a lot of advertising out of it as well, but quite a few folks have received a nice package on their doorstep for nothing more than participating in the conversations on this site. So I consider that my way of sharing with the class. :)

  54. Chuck Riccardo September 14, 2012

    Lee, I had already said that I was in an uncomfortable position – no need to beat me up any further. I thought my tongue in cheek remark was clear enough – perhaps not.

    As far as paying nothing – not true – I paid my time to sit through the commercial just like everybody else. Marc collected from every one of those commercials – that is a true money exchange. There’s no free lunch, Lee. Somebody pays and somebody gains.

    Sorry you missed my point – but I got yours. I’ll not post a similar type of message again.
    Good Luck to you.

  55. Lee Gibson September 14, 2012

    I’m not beating you up, man, I didn’t intend for you to take it that way.

    I just disagreed with you. That’s OK.

    Of course Marc’s interests are furthered by doing the video. My interests are furthered by watching the video (I gain info). Your interests are furthered (if you now know for sure the product isn’t for you). If you ALREADY knew that, why did you watch the video, unless you were really bored? If you were really bored, what was the actual cost to you?

    Nobody loses. This is good. That’s as close to a free lunch as you’re liable to find.

    Am I gonna run right out and buy one? Probably not! I’m a hobbyist, and I need compact tools, but I’m not sure the cost/benefit works for me. But my decision making is now better informed than it was if Marc hadn’t put together this kick-ass forum.

    So, thank you, Marc! Keep up the great work!

  56. Karl Andre September 14, 2012

    It looks like a space ship compared to most router tables.

  57. John Horgan September 16, 2012

    Not impressed looks like set ups would take to long. I my self really enjoy my incra system.

  58. Brian September 16, 2012

    Marc, I think it was mentioned that this table has another model that connects to your MFT table. Do you think it’s the same table as yours, only without the legs? Put another way, can you connect your table to the MFT if you wanted to?

  59. Seth Hoover September 17, 2012

    Like alot of people my first thought was that the bar would get in the way, especially since it got in Marc’s way with his push stick. But after thinking on it for a few minutes I realized that I almost exclusively use a spare piece of wood as a push stick/tear out guard, and would probably never have that problem.

    Marc thanks for the video review, got me thinking that at least I need a better router table than the one I have!

  60. Andy September 17, 2012

    I would like to have one of these but with one kid in college and another getting ready to go… I will be sticking with my old shop made table.

  61. Brian September 18, 2012

    I own just about all the festool tools but find it hard to justify the cost of mft’s and tables. This is another example when I don’t know how I would be able to justify, I guess my main beef is I’m not an on site worker most of the time. I am usually an in the shop kind of guy. This one just seems hard…. but maybe some day I might get sucked in.

  62. Marc,
    Loved the sliding table feature.
    Question. Height, is the table the same height as the new Festool tables?
    Question. Router model, I noticed you used the OF 1400, could I use the 2200?
    Question: Can this be used in combination with other systems like Incra?
    OK man … I hit you enough, great video, thanks for the comment … now I am back to peeling logs.
    Have a great day.
    Bobby

    •  

      Hey Bobby! Concerning height, I am not sure but I think so. I had to cut my MFT3 legs down by an inch and my table looks to be about an inch below the router table. So at least it LOOKS like they are the same height. As for the router, I do believe you can put the OF2200 in there as well. I don’t think Incra will play along with the Festool system, unless you are talking about t-track components.

      Post edited to include information directly from Festool:

      “The CMS and MFT/3 are the same height. You can also use the Kapex UG extensions with the CMS or MFT/3 since they too are the same height, for additional support. The OF 2200 is not UL approved for use with the CMS currently. I don’t know if it ever will be. So, customers may not use the OF 2200 in the CMS and it will void the warranty if they do.”

      • Jeff September 28, 2012

        Hi Marc,
        Thank you for this nice video. I’m the happy owner of the TF 2200 (it includes the OF 2200) and let you use router bits with a diameter up to 3-1/2″.

        http://www.festool.be/FR/Produ.....F-2200-Set

        Thanks again for the videos and keep up with the good work.

  63. Thank you Marc for being so fast … now is time to connect my trailer with water tank to my FJ Cruiser … drive to the spring and load my under water tank with fresh spring water.
    Taking a shower with mountain (heated) spring water is amazing … just think the water in bottles is worse than what I shower with … until I go back to Los Angeles :)
    Take care Marc

  64. Joel September 20, 2012

    I actually like the featherboard system.

  65. Jeff September 20, 2012

    Marc,

    Thanks for the great video and I look forward to your update to this after you have put it through it’s paces. I always enjoy your videos and even if I don’t think a product is right for me I still appreciate the education.

    I like what Festool has done here and would like to see more. Sure it’s expensive but quality and innovation come at a price and if you want to pay that price then do it. I appreciate the dust collection and the pin routing support arm is very cool.

    Thanks again for the video and I can’t wait to see the new shop.

    Jeff

  66. Alix September 20, 2012

    Clunky and very expensive.

  67. Valentine September 20, 2012

    Love the “Italian” lamp in the background!!! Fra-Gi-Le! :))) And the table is awesome, of course. Great preliminary review.

  68. Jim Lynde September 20, 2012

    Enjoyed your introduction to the new Festool router table.
    Is refreshing to hear honest opinions with-out the Company Hype.
    The audio, on your videos, is outstanding. Maybe because I live
    close to the Hollywood studios and post-production houses, I am
    more attuned to something like that.

    The engineering of the table seemed good with a couple exceptions as stated by some of the other responses.

    The router hold-down clamps looked a little ify to me. They reminded me of the, under-counter, clips that hold down a stainless-steel sink. Unless there is a centering groove for the router, it seems as though it could slip sideways.

    Also, the feather-board contraption looked like it could be better
    engineered. when you were using the push-stick, it was obvious that the feather-board tightening device was in your way. I think they should be independently supported and adjusted so as to
    leave a clear push-thru area for your work piece.

    As always, a top notch job of video production.
    Good lighting and Camera Work
    Excellent Audio
    Mighty Fine presentation
    ————– Jim Lynde, N. Hollywood, CA

  69. Charlie September 21, 2012

    This was an excellent review of a new product- very informative. The video and the body of the article were both good. Thanks for this.
    Charlie, Mount Pleasant, TX

  70. Les September 25, 2012

    Marc, an informative review indeed. Love the router table except for the well beat-up issue about the feather board/guard. I was just wandering how stable the whole table is on the legs. I did notice some rocking when you were inserting the cutter. As an owner of a few of the green and black (dark blue) tools I do agree that quality comes at a price and the pleasure of operating these tools is enormous – I know because I also own some el cheapos and the difference is glaring.

    • Jeff September 30, 2012

      Hi Les, I’m the happy owner of the TF 2200 (it includes the OF 2200), I have been using it for about 3 years now and never had any stability problem.
      Hope that it helps.

  71. Notorious T.O.D. October 5, 2012

    Nice review, but $1,600 is a lot of money for a router table, actually, $2,100 when you add the 1400 router. I have some Festool and it is excellent, especially the dust collection which is a real asset. German engineering is pretty good and reminds me of Martin Machinery, which has their USA headquarters here in the Charlotte, NC area where I live. Excellent like Festool, but not inexpensive either.

    For $2,100 or slightly more I have in my shop have a 3 hp Delta Platinum Edition shaper, which I purchased used for $800. A new Delta 4 roller power feeder which was $829 and a Reliable Tool Panel crafter I purchased off Craigslist for $500. This stuff will serve the hobbiest woodworker for at least a lifetime. The shaper can also take router bits with the router bit spindle if needed.

    This setup will run circles around any router table I can think of today. The Festool can fold up and take less space and is certainly the way to go if you have to do this type of work on site . But if you have the space and don’t need mobility out of your shop consider a shaper. In my view it is one of the most productive but least used woodworking tools by hobbiest woodworkers….and that is unfortunate.

    Best,
    Todd

  72. sheen October 12, 2012

    Marc,
    That was an awesome review, and it looks like a fascinating offering from Festool. Thanks for taking your time to review.

    This would be a huge asset to anyone that needs a portable router table system and seems loaded with great features. It’s expensive, but as with everything else Festool, appears well built, well engineered, and well thought out.

    I’m not quite convinced that this is worth it, or provides an advantage in a shop setting though. Currently I’m using the Incra LS system with Wonderfence in my shop, and all the pieces are first rate as well in manufacturing, precision, and features. For example, shimming out the outfeed fence is just as easy on the Wonderfence, and the LS positioner makes the fence much easier to adjust, and make cuts much more repeatable than on the Festool CMS. In addition, the Incra LS system has great joinery applications that the Festool can’t accomplish. The entire Incra system, including a 27×43 table, plate, fence, and other items, would cost around $500.

    I know in the past you’ve used the TS fence system and wasn’t a bit fan, but in terms of routing, I’ve been nothing short of impressed.

    The one thing compelling to me regarding the CMS system is the sliding fence, which is a great alternative to a coping jig. The Incra system does feature a right angle fixture, which is a similar idea, though I think the Festool is better suited for use as a miter gauge type application.

    Lastly, regarding dust collection, I’ve outfitted my Incra system with a product called the “dust router” from keen products. Essentially the rubber cup collects the dust in a similar way to the way it’s built in to the OF1400; it hugs the area around the bit and ports it out of the router before it has a chance to fall through. It then tees off to a fence attachment, and I have it hooked up to the wonderfence. I think it’s a vast improvement compared to any router table cabinet type enclosure.

    The beauty of the Incra and Dust Router combo is that you can use virtually any router that you own, as long as you can secure it to the plate. This is a huge plus if you don’t want to get an OF1400 or OF1010. The insert rings are as easy to change as the CMS, and every component of the system is very well built, usually right in the USA. The dust router itself can be used with almost any brand router plate, or router, so it’s an easy add on accessory for any shop user that has a router table setup.

    For someone taking this on the road, like you said, it’s a no-brainer, it seems like an incredible system that would make any job easier, safer, and faster.

    Thanks again for taking the time to make this review, it was informative and fun to watch.

    • Magnus November 29, 2012

      Thanks for a great website and videos!
      Having had the CMS system for almost a year now here are my two cents:
      If you are just looking for a good router table and if you are in a shop working and do not have to move it around there are other systems that does not cost as much and that will perform just as well in most respects. They may be better in some respects (incra fence?) but worse in others (sliding table, dust collection?). They are likely to be cheaper.

      The big selling point for me was that I have a small shop (2.7x5m) and simply cannot get a whole bunch of separate machines in there. With the CMS system I get one unit that is a router table, a table saw and a jigsaw table all in the same space. There is also a belt sander module that I do not have (yet). So for my purposes I do not think there is anything comparable out there.

      The system works like a charm. Simply lift the router table out (leaving the fence on) and put it on a pair of consoles on the wall, lift in a TS75 mounted upside down in another aluminium plate, lock in place, plug in the plug-it cord and dust collection and go (same withe the other units). It is done in under 30 seconds. The precision and quality of all units is what you would expect (just like the price tag and the dust collection… only have to pay for the leg stand, sliding table and extensions once though).

      The sliding table is great. Love it: makes cross-cutting, end grain routing, compound miters etc a breeze – safe, clean and accurate cuts. Also, someone above asked about dados in the middle of a large workpiece: I have an extension table to the right (would be behind the router fence in the video) with the micro adjustable table saw fence – so no problem. I don’t remember how much space you get between the router table fence and the bit, but there are two sets of holes to mount the fence in so it is more space than Marc’s video might suggest, but not enough for a really large workpiece (look carefully when he lifts the fence off and you can see the two sets of holes in the video at 2:45).

      Would I prefer separate, high-end, cast iron units. Sure, but I do not have the space and short of that the CMS is hard to beat.

      /Magnus

      PS I do not find the safety features get in the way much, but then I am from Sweden – saftey first (think Volvo) DS

  73. Anton September 15, 2013

    Nice review. I agree with the commentators who say that it is very expensive (this is true even if bought in its native Germany and imported into Switzerland (we get the German 19% value-added tax back)). US friends have been horrified. But the difference is this; they have big houses and big garages and big basements, I don’t. When I finish working, everything has to be packed away, so that I can get the car in. So, everything needs to be foldable and storable. This is where this system scores hands- down for me. I have excellent tools and complete storability – and of course complete transportability when I have to do something at the daughters’ places. Perhaps one day I’ll be old and rich (actually, I’m old now, still waiting on the rich bit) and be able to afford a nice big workshop where I don’t have to pack away my toys at the end of each day. But until thn, this Festool system ticks all my boxes

  74. Anton September 16, 2013

    P.S. You in the USA get off easy! The US price (ex Amazon) is $1200. The German price is €1519 ($2028)! Thank goodness for that 19% tax off!

  75. David February 10, 2014

    What about large pieces of wood? Have you tried doing any cabinets? Seems like you’ll have to do a bit of a balancing act unless they have an attachment for that.

    •  

      The table isn’t all that much smaller than your average router table, but it is a little smaller. Like any router table, larger pieces will always be a bit of a balancing act. So at some point you’ll want to go hand-held and bring the router to the work instead of the other way around. Of course roller stands can be a big help too.

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