The Festool OF1000e is a rather small router with a unique handle arrangement. The tool is designed to be used with a multitude of Festool accessories centered around the Guide System; this is one reason for it's small size.
The OF1000e comes in a large Systainer with ¼" and 8mm collets (a 1/2" collet is not possible), two guide positioning devices, an edge guide, a wrench, and a special "shoe" called a Guide Stop for use with the Festool Guide System. The motor is a 900w (1.2hp) variable speed (10k - 22k) unit with soft start. Also of note is the 13 foot long power cord. I think it's also important to note that Festool offers a 3 year warranty as well as a 30 day money-back guarantee.
The handles of the router are configured differently than most routers. Instead of vertical handles either side of the motor, this router most resembles a sander with it's horizontal handle. I was curious to see if this unique handle configuration would offer as good of control as other routers, the answer is definitely yes.
Even though the grip is far away from the centerline of the cutter and the plunge bars aren't even in line with the center, it is very easy to control the plunge action with one hand. The round knob on the front is twisted to act as the plunge lock.
I am more accustomed to using larger 2hp and 3hp plunge routers with mostly ½" shank bits. As such I was somewhat predisposed to think that this smaller machine would be a little challenged for some of the tasks I would have for it. I was pleased to find that this is absolutely not the case; it handles every reasonable task I have thrown at it and often with greater dexterity due to its small size.
The machine is quite smooth and has no real vibration. The 1.2hp motor is powerful enough for most tasks like trimming, grooving, profiling, box joints, and all but monster size dovetails.
One "Euro" feature found on the OF1000 is a small support "foot" that stabilizes the tool when used in situations where only a portion of the base is providing support. This little foot is no gimmick; once you have gotten used to it you'll wish all routers has this little gem of a feature.
There is a pretty standard rotating turret for setting plunge depths. Instead of a micro adjustable plunge, the depth setting rod is micro adjustable.
The OF1000 has a typical Festool oval port for connecting up to their vacuum systems. There is a special cut-out in the base that allows the system to work in conjunction with the supplied edge guide and a low clear shroud around the cutter. Even though this shroud is low the dust pick-up is pretty decent.
There are a multitude of Festool accessories designed for this machine, chief among these is the Guide System; that explains the inclusion of a Guide Stop with the OF1000e package. The Guide System is basically an aluminum extrusion that can be used to control the movement of the router (as well as several other Festool tools). Although it isn't really obvious, the Guide System allows for straighter and better quality cuts than what I can achieve using either a clamped board or one of the Tru-Grip type clamps. Again, this isn't obvious from just looking at pictures of the system. I think the better performance is due to the fact that the router is riding on a very uniform surface as well as how the Guide Stop is constrained by the Guide.
There are quite a few other unique accessories for the OF1000, another that utilizes the Guide System is a 32mm hole drilling jig which uses a special Guide with locator holes. This allows the drilling of 32mm system holes in cabinet components as well as door cup hinge holes. Festool has metric sized guide bushings but not inch sizes; Leigh however offers a PC style adapter that can be used with the OF1000.
I really like the ergonomics of the machine as well as the dexterity it provides in use. I also like it's integration with the Guide System and all the capability that this allows. A router is one of the most versatile tools in the shop, the Festool Guide system with a router is especially versatile. I do however wish it had a true micro-adjustable plunge instead of the micro adjustable depth stop. The OF1000e has made me change my mind about ¼" routers; I am finding now that I tend to reach for this router first if I have the proper ¼" shank bit. As evidence of this I've bought a handful of new ¼" bits just so I'll be able to "reach" for it more often.
|Here is a view of the right side of the machine, Visible on this side is the support foot that can be dropped down below the level of the sub-base to help stabilize the router when using the Guide System or any other time. This is also the position where a few other Festool accessories can be attached instead. These include bearing followers and a few other handy items.|
|This is a view of the entire kit, the kit comes in a
Systainer of its own. the rectangular black object is the "shoe" that
rides on the Guide System. The edge guide rods are used to connect it to the
The edge guide has a small clear plastic shroud on the bottom to help with dust collection. The irregular cutout in the top of the guide allows the DC porting in the bas of the machine to work with this.
|Here is a view of the OF1000 in place on one of the Festool
Guides (not included). This particular guide has a series of holes spaced 32m apart;
these are utilized by a special hole drilling jig (not shown) and the router for producing
the 32mm system holes for cabinets or shelf pin holes.
I have modified my Guide Stop by using a couple of 5/16" dia. rods so as to eliminate any change-over time to swap the rods from the edge guide. Ive also installed a couple of 10-32 screws in the guide on the router edge that calibrate it with the Guide and a ¾ dia mortising bit (for dado work).
In the interest of full disclosure Festool provided this product to facilitate this review.