You may have heard through the grapevine or through my own lips that I’ve decided to pare down my Festool collection. Well, it’s true! But I promise you the story isn’t quite as interesting as you might think it is.
In spite of what many seem to think, Festool has not been an official sponsor of The Wood Whisperer since 2009 when they decided not to renew our agreement. A year later, Festool came on as a regular advertiser and giveaway partner and that was the extent of our relationship until just recently.
So why didn’t I seek out a new portable power tool sponsor back in 2009? Because for me, it’s not all about money. The “smart” business move would have been to contact other potential sponsors and try to arrange for a new deal. But because of my personal enjoyment of the tools and the relationships I formed with several Festool employees, it just didn’t feel right to completely bail on them. Being true to myself, I WANTED Festool’s presence in my shop. Furthermore, Nicole and I were already cooking up a new idea for bringing in revenue that would allow us to pick sponsors by preference, not by necessity. That idea was the Wood Whisperer Guild.
As time went on, it became clear to me that incorporating more accessible brands into the show would ultimately increase our appeal. After all, people tend to enjoy seeing someone build things with tools they can actually afford. But because I do this for a living, I can sometimes justify having tools that are out of reach for the average weekend woodworker. But by the time every single portable power tool in my shop featured a bright green logo I started to feel like the pendulum may have swung a bit too far. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I was able to turn so many people on to Festool and what their tools can do but ultimately my goal is to encourage quality woodworking, not necessarily quality tool-purchasing. So this idea of a brand shift was something I’ve been mulling over for years and it’s at the heart of my current decision to scale back my Festool collection.
Recently, after a bit of an internal reorganization including the departure of my primary connection to the company, Festool backed out of a year-long advertising agreement suddenly and without notice. Business is business so I don’t take this stuff personally. But it did allow me the opportunity to reflect upon my tool choices and the brands I use. While Festool makes great tools, there are certain tool categories I feel I’d be just as happy with if they were yellow, green, blue or whatever. And coming from a Festool-centric experience, I feel there’s a real opportunity in evaluating some of these other brands and reporting back on how my supposed “downgrade” is going.
So that’s the deal. I’m getting rid of much (not all) of my Festool gear and replacing it with more accessible brands. I’m picking the brands I think would be good contenders (Milwaukee, Porter Cable, DeWalt, Makita, Bosch, etc), using them over the next year and either selling or giving away the ones I choose not to keep.
So what’s staying from the Festool lineup? ETS and Rotex sanders, TS55 and MFT, a couple CT Vacs, and the Dominos. The Rotex, TS55, MFT, and Dominos are what I consider to be game-changer tools so they aren’t going anywhere. The ETS sander is very high quality, but I’m only keeping it because I have lots of Festool paper and the Festool sander integrates well with the CT vac. What’s going? Everything else! Drills, various format sanders, Kapex, and the routers. As you can see, this isn’t meant to be Festool mass exodus. Instead, I’m just paring down to what I consider to be the Festool essentials. I still love the brand and will continue to explore what they have to offer in the future.
So there’s no ill-will here, no fun story of vengeance or rallying against corporate greed, and certainly no reason to question my integrity (which I always find amusing). Just trying to make lemonade from a few lemons.