Festool’s trim router aims for versatility

Festool USA provided a sneak peek last December of the company’s new trim router to a group of woodworking magazine editors.

It was only a prototype, the editors were told, and the real thing wouldn’t be ready for sale until the late-spring or early summer of 2008.

True to its word, Festool introduced the MFK 700 trim router in May. It features two base attachments for vertical and horizontal operation, and is designed for trimming veneer, laminates and edge banding, edge forming and other light-duty routing applications.

Festool's trim router“We’re billing it as a modular trim router. We don’t want to limit it to being called a laminate trimmer,” says Rick Bush, Festool’s product manager. “You can use it for so many other things. It’s a very good entry-level router for general routing tasks. It’s lightweight, easy to use and, with its wide base, you can put two hands on this thing. Most laminate trimmers have a square or round base, and half of it is sticking off the material.”

In the design phase, “we looked at how people are using this tool. What do they need to accomplish? We built the tool around that,” says Bush.

The variable-speed (10,000 to 26,000 rpm) router is powered by a 6 amp/720-watt motor with Festool’s MMC electronics, which provides a soft start, constant speed under load, and built-in thermal and overload protection. “The MMC simply extends the motor’s life and improves the router’s performance,” says Bush.

Both bases extend about 5" from the center of the cut and have fine adjustment (1/256") controls. The vertical base can be used with a parallel edge guide accessory (sold separately) for routing grooves and flutes, for example.

“The horizontal base is also very wide, which makes it very easy to hold the machine on the work piece,” says Bush. “The base and bit are inclined at 1-1/2 degrees, which is really radical. You don’t have to come back and break that hard edge with a file or sanding block. You can do it all in one step.”

Bush also points out that, with the horizontal base, there’s no need to use a bearing-guided bit. “We use a bit without bearings because the bit doesn’t need to make contact with the surface anymore. The base makes the contact.”

The router also has an arbor lock, so only one wrench is needed to change bits.

Festool, a German manufacturer, launched the router in Europe and the U.S. about a month apart. “We’ve never launched this close before,” says Bush. “This MFK was primarily designed for the U.S. market. They did one thing special for us that they didn’t do for Europe, and that’s in the vertical base. It accepts threaded guide bushings for template work.”

The MFK 700 has a suggested retail price of $510.

Contact: Festool USA, Tooltechnic Systems LLC, 400 N. Enterprise Blvd., Lebanon, IN 46052. Tel: 888-337-8600. www.festoolusa.com