festool rotary sander

Submitted bywarren williamson onSun, 09/16/2018 - 20:59

does anyone use the festool rotary sander for sanding strip built kayaks ?   i'm thinking about getting the 5 inch. 

Festool 571782 RO 125 FEQ Rotex Sander




Sun, 09/16/2018 - 22:33

Festool look very nice, and get great reviews.


I bought myself a Mirka Ceros a few years ago (big luxury!) and haven't regretted it for a minute.


(NB- that's a SK supplier so the pricing is in CAD)

One of those "why didn't I get something like this 20 years ago??" experiences.

The Mirka 'mesh' abrasives are excellent, also.

Rob Macks Laug…

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 10:34

I would not recommend this sander - Festool 571782 RO 125 FEQ Rotex Sander 4.4 lbs. (2 kg) $510

I don't like an offset handle. And it is Too heavy.

We sand concave and convex surfaces unlike almost EVERY other use this sander was designed for.

VERY few people know how to sand, even "professionals". I was taught how to sand by a jeweler.

Read this page to understand sanding - http://www.laughingloon.com/sanding.html

See this video on sanding - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbJ7BjyVftM

With my hand over the central axis of the spinning disk I can hold the sander lightly and follow the natural fair curves keeping them fair. With heavier weight and hand pressure offset, only part of the disk will contact the surface doing eraser sanding

This Mirka Deros sander is half the weight, which means your can hold it longer with less fatigue. This is especially important on your hull interior.

MID55020CAUS, Mirka 5" DEROS 550X CV 125mm Vacuum Orbit 5,0 Case US - • Weight 2.2 lbs (998g)

$610 USD



All the best,

Rob Macks

Laughing Loon Custom Canoes & Kayaks




“Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.” - Alfred A. Montapert



Mon, 09/17/2018 - 12:24

I should have added that I bought the Mirka vacuum when I bought the Ceros and the two units work well together.

Unlike a ShopVac (I hate 'em) the Mirka isn't very noisy. It's made a huge difference in the dust level in my shop.

I would second Rob's comments on the large Festool sander. It's a beast. May be good for large flat surfaces 

but overkill for fine work like strip (and definitely S&G!) building. I had one for a little while and sold it. 

I would also second the remarks about Mirka products, especially their sanding discs. Personally I don't

think they last as long as traditional paper backed ones but for me the dust collection is worth it. 

Nick Schade - …

Sun, 09/23/2018 - 12:05

The Rotex sanders are very nice. They have two selectable actions. The more aggressive mode has a fully geared orbital motion which is almost like a right angle grinder but much more controllable and leaves an excellent flat surface on wood and epoxy. The geared orbit means when you place the sander on the surface, the orbit can not be stopped, it continues a "random" orbit regardless of how hard you press on the sander. This aggressive mode will create some large swirls as any particular grain of grit travels completely around the diameter of the sanding disk as it spins

The finer-finish mode has a more traditional orbital motion where the secondary orbital action is free spinning. In this mode the disk will spin up when it is not touching the surface. The random orbit is created when you touch the sander to the surface, stopping the free spinning so the disk creates small orbits. This mode creates small swirls where a particular grain of grit only moves in small orbits.

The aggressive mode is very good for initial leveling of strips and early rounds of sanding the epoxy when working towards a leveled surface.

The fine mode is well suited to later rounds of sanding as you get to higher grits after the leveling has been accomplished.

This 2-mode ability of the tool makes it very quick and controllable for heavy sanding while also creating a nice finished surface during final sanding.

When I first tried a Festool Rotex sander in the aggressive mode I hated it. The geared action of pad can make the tool buck and jump around, but with a little practice I quickly learned how to control it and I now do most of my sanding in the aggressive mode which is faster and more efficient, leaving the fine mode for late stage finish sanding where I am trying to eliminate sanding scratches.

I also have a Rotex D90 which is about 3" in diameter. I use this on smaller areas. It also comes with a corner detail sander attachment which I don't use as much, but comes in handing occasionally.

The downside of the Rotex 125 is the size of the orbit in the fine mode. It is maybe 5mm. This may leave some visible swirls in some fine finishing applications. At this point for my final finish sanding I use the Festool EC125 which has a 3mm orbit. This tool is a similar form factor to the Mirka DEROS others have mentioned.

I have used the Mirka while teaching at CVSW. It is a slightly lighter than the Festool, and is an top-notch tool. Personally I don't like the top paddle switch. It forces you to hold it on the top, where the Festool can be held anywhere. I often find myself holding the Festool with my fingers around the waist keeping the center of gravity low for better control. The Mirka paddle switch also makes it a little harder to put down because when the paddle switch contacts something it may turn on. To fully turn off the Mirka you still need to turn off a switch.

When seeking a finish random orbital I looked at both the Mirka DEROS and the Festool EC125 and went with the Festool because it was less expensive (this is relative they are both very expensive), and it was compatible with the sandpaper ecosystem I already had.

If I were to choose just one sander I would probably go with the Rotex 125, despite being heavier, it is faster and more efficient for a wider variety of tasks. If weight and final finish are the primary concerns and speed and versatility are less important, the Mirka may well justify the additional cost.



Sun, 09/23/2018 - 13:03

Nick said:

The Mirka paddle switch also makes it a little harder to put down because when the paddle switch contacts something it may turn on. To fully turn off the Mirka you still need to turn off a switch.

This is correct. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who has set down a Mirka sander and had it roll over and activate the switch. It adds some unwanted excitement to the work process!


If (unlike me) you have used an air sander like a Dynabrade, you will be used to the top 'paddle' activator, so this won't be such an issue.

Note- the switches (on-off and speed up-down) are buttons - with LEDs- on the top of the sander so it just takes a quick button press to turn off the tool.


I like the light weight of the Mirka Ceros.

Other benefits - it uses standard thread 5/16-24 sanding pads which are available in different hole patterns.

The airflow is excellent, especially with the mesh abrasives. This not only keeps the dust down in the shop but helps to prevent those small 'lumps' that can stick to the pad and cause swirls.

The Mirka Ceros can also be used for wet sanding since the voltage at the tool is low, and it is sealed.

thanks for all this information nick. i just bought a fesstool dust collector and the / ETS 125 REQ 5" Random Orbital Sander and the,  RO 125 FEQ Rotex Sander.  do you find that the rotex makes a noise when you push down on it ? i called wood craft and the guy said that noise is normal.