Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 141, May 2017 Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
The Down to Earth Woodworker
By Steven D. Johnson
Racine, Wisconsin

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And Baby Makes Three

Before she became famous for her portrayal of Della Street in all 271 episodes of Perry Mason, Barbara Hale starred in "And Baby Makes Three," a 1949 romantic comedy worth seeking out, if for no other reason than the superb directing… but I digress. "Baby Makes Three" is what I thought when I unboxed my Festool CT Mini HEPA Mobile Dust Extractor ; a splurge, surely, but a good one.

Between my CT 36 and my CT SYS I had the two size extremes of Festool Dust Extraction well covered, but my large CT 36 unit stays pretty much "put" in my shop, doing double duty as a dust extractor for my miter saw, and proximal enough to use for sanding, connecting to the TS 55 Track Saw and the OF 1400 router via the Boom Arm Set and the 10-meter long Sleeved Hose. My CT SYS, initially used as an on-site dust collector during remodeling, has found a semi-permanent home next to my coffee roasting operation, used for vacuuming up the chaff that is produced when turning green coffee beans into brown nectar-rich nuggets of joy. So, yes, purchasing a CT Mini was a "splurge," but I wanted a multi-purpose "shop vacuum" that was powerful, efficient, easy to carry, easy to roll, and that would last past the infant mortality rate common among big-box store brand shop vacuums. The CT Mini fits that bill perfectly.

Figure 3 - No mistaking the genetic link between the CT 36 and the CT Mini
--- purebred Festool
At just 21 pounds, the CT Mini is easily moved, and the large well-designed wheels make it easy to roll. Unlike the CT SYS, the Mini has the same variable speed control as its "parent" units, a tremendously useful feature. The collection bag 2-gallon equivalent capacity is big enough without being overly large, and the little guy is super quiet. The HEPA filtration assures that the air coming out is cleaner than the air going in.

The other image I conjured up when first unboxing the CT Mini was that of an elephant and her child. No mistaking the lineage or genetics with these two lovely animals. The same goes for the CT Mini… it is pure pedigreed Festool, just smaller. Systainers fit on top, same great antistatic hoses work, and the same tool-triggered or manual switch controls the unit. Alike in every important way, just smaller.

The CT Mini was an extravagance, but it has proven to be the best money I ever splurged. I use it all the time, in my shop, in the house, and even to vacuum out vehicles. Powerful, easy to transport and use, and legendary Festool quality. Maybe it wasn't so much of a "splurge" after all.

Next month...

Do you really know the difference between a bolt and a screw? I thought I did, but lately I have been going "nuts" trying not to "screw" things up when talking about hardware. Next month we will get it sorted out. We will also delve a bit deeper into why woodworking is so energizing and work-working is so draining. Be sure to check out Part 3 of the Rolling Bypass Door video series and see how I made the mortises and drilled the door frames for the hardware.

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Steven Johnson is retired from an almost 30-year career selling medical equipment and supplies, and now enjoys improving his shop, his skills, and his designs on a full time basis (although he says home improvement projects and furniture building have been hobbies for most of his adult life). Steven can be reached directly via email at sjohnson@downtoearthwoodworking.com

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