Running a successful business: Hard work ethic, staying organized, and the right tools.

By Darcy Warner

When I was young, my summers were filled working with my grandfather and father on a wide range of jobs involving carpentry, farming, and mechanics. They taught me that when you put in hard work, you get quality results. While it wasn't fun at the time, those years instilled in me fundamental work ethics that help me run my business today.

My name is Darcy Warner, I run a carpentry, remodeling, woodworking business. I've been a carpenter for 12 years and most of my work is custom woodwork, onsite remodeling, finish carpentry, built-ins and trim work. Needless to say, none of the jobs I do are the same from one time to the next.

Doing totally custom work for my clients always brings a unique challenge, and I try to perform each project better and faster than the previous one. Inevitably you have to be shuffling tools from different job sites, so having the right tools will help you get to the finished product quicker.

When choosing tools, I always look for durability and quality. That's why I buy Festool tools -- because they hold up. The Systainer eliminates the effort I used to waste searching for tools. It organizes my tools, allows me to pull a tool out, use it for the task at hand, and put it back. No fiddling with supplies, buckets holding tools, or other materials. All my tools are in place, organized, and easy to access.

Festool's most recent update to the TS 55 is the TS 55 REQ track saw. I've been using the TS 55 REQ on a number of jobs from sheet goods, to straight-lining rough cut lumber, to putting in subflooring and custom trim work. It's simple to use and the mobility of the saw lets you take it into any indoor job site, so you don't have to take your material outdoors to cut. You can just about eliminate a big job site table saw. With the accessories that come with it, like different length guide rails, the CT dust extractor and clamps, it makes previously hard tasks quick and easy. That way, I can spend time focusing on the big picture of the project, rather than the small, individual tasks.

Festool makes products of heirloom quality and that's reflected in the work I do. I've been using their tools for the last 6 years and they're always consistent, durable, and most of all, accurate. Although they don't make everything, the tools they do make are sure a heck of a lot better than anything else.

The right cut, every time.

By Jory Brigham

Woodworking is something I got into from an early age. My dad was a finish carpenter, and I would go to work with him ever since I was little to learn the fundamentals of woodwork through him. When I turned 18, I got my own shop, started buying my own tools, and did work on my own.

My name is Jory Brigham, and I make custom furniture at Jory Brigham Design.

The most challenging projects always end up being my favorite projects. You put yourself through the different aspects of the job from design to the build, and let your creativity take over. It takes a lot of time to finish each piece of furniture, but I love working on a project for two weeks and then moving on to another challenge. It keeps things exciting. The one thing I’ve found that you can control is the tools you use--and the longer you work in this trade, the more you see the value in using versatile tools. Being able to count on a tool to do exactly what I need, every time, is something I value very highly.

When I have a $150 sheet of plywood, I need a clean cut. The TS, along with the guide rail and splinter guard, is what I depend on for that. The guide rail lets me move the saw along with the contour, while the splinter guards makes the cut clean. I just couldn’t do that with a table saw because it’s too hard to control if I have a larger piece wood, and a normal skill saw will make the cut sloppy. The TS makes a precise, clean cut and does things that I’ve never seen another tool do, including my table saw. It has exceeded every expectation that I ever had of a tool.

The only people you hear asking questions like “Is Festool worth it?” are those who’ve never tried Festool tools. Since I started using Festool, they’ve made my job easier and quicker. They’re tools that, after using once, I just couldn’t do without. They set and consistently raise the standard for all tools, even ones that Festool doesn’t make.

Smallerizing it: a philosophy of quality artisanship.

By Ben Riddering

Ben Riddering is a custom furniture designer and builder using mostly reclaimed materials. In this video, Ben describes how his passion and ideals for fine woodworking parallels those of Festool for power tools made to a higher standard.

At first, Ben was concerned that the price of Festool was high, but quickly realized after using his first Festool, the TS Track Saw, that the quality and versatility offered by Festool was uncompromising. He found that what Festool does with power tools is much like what he does as a producer of furniture. He builds furniture that's unique and made with high quality; choosing to work for those clients that prefer quality, rather than something that's mass produced.

With Festool, Ben is able to do things in his small shop without the use of large stationary equipment. He learned that a single Festool can replace multiple conventional power tools, allowing him to take the tool to the work rather than the materials to the tool. To quote Ben, he said, "If you show me a tool that performs well, saves time and takes up less space, now you've got my attention".

Increasing efficiency and profitability.

By Dan Rush, Professional Trim Carpenter in the Chicago area

Part of my summer time job was to paint walls and the local principal asked me if I wanted to paint his house. I said sure and while I was doing that he said, "well, can you fix that door", and all of a sudden I became a handyman. All throughout college, that paid for my way through school and I became a carpenter. I'm Dan Rush and I've been a trim carpenter for 25 years specializing in custom cabinet installations for the last 10 years.

My clients expect the very best. There can be no mistakes. It has to be right the first time. Right now, 95% of my work is on location. The new TS 55 REQ is a game changer. It changes your whole outlook on bringing the tool to the work as opposed to bringing the work to the tool. The TS 55 REQ really works for me when I cut down extended stiles when scribing to walls. What used to be a 20-25 minute task is now down to about 5 minutes. Multiplied by maybe 10 or 15 cuts per day, that's a huge time savings. Having the right tool every time, every day is truly the answer.

Because I am a site worker, I want to know what it's going to do for me onsite and count on it not letting me down in the middle of a project. For it to get the job done correctly and to get me home.

The accessory I use most with my saw is the rapid clamp. It allows me to affix the guide rail onto a cabinet box and accurately cut a scribe. The dust extraction is impeccable. It keeps the jobsite cleaner and keeps my customers happier, plus it really sets me apart from the other workers onsite.

I used to have to carry my tools in all of the different plastic cases that were all different sizes and shapes. Now, with Festool's Systainer and Sortainer system, everything is unified and very systematic so I can get in and out of jobs very quickly.

Festool has absolutely saved me time and that means profitability. More important to me is that it gets me home earlier. So, I'm not onsite for 10 hours a day and I can work a 6-7 hour day and still get the same amount of work done. I buy Festool power tools because they're built for contractors and to be used every day. I use my all the time, every day, and I've never had to send one in for service. They're not built to be trophies, they're built to be used.

Mike Sloggatt

Track saw tutorials.

Mike Sloggatt has been in the construction industry since 1972 and opened the doors to his remodeling company in 1979. After many years of learning his craft, Mike has begun to share his knowledge with others.

You can read many of his articles in Publications such as the Journal of Light Construction, Fine Homebuilding, LBM Journal, Tools of the Trade, Coastal Contractor and many others.

Mike has also collaborated with Gary Katz and the Katz Roadshow in recent years to continue to share his knowledge and expertise with professionals around the country with live clinics.

In this video series, Mike covers several examples of how you might use a Festool track saw in your shop or on the jobsite. As you can see in the videos, Mike is working out of a small garage-based shop. He's able to process sheet goods in a one-person operation and with limited space, something that wouldn't be nearly as easy with a table saw.

The Festool Plunge Cut Track Saw System.

What is a plunge cut track saw and guide rail system? Some people would describe it as a circular saw riding on an aluminum rail. This would be a gross understatement, and would overlook the major advantages that a plunge cut track saw system offers. Designed properly, a high-quality plunge cut track saw and guide rail system are precise pieces of equipment, as well thought out as most stationary equipment. The combination of a precision track saw, and a guide rail will create a system that generates precision cuts anywhere on a panel quickly and safely…cuts that should never be attempted with a traditional circular saw.

The smooth pivoting action, and minimal blade exposure during the cut is ideal for starting a cut in the middle of a panel. This design allows the blade to pivot into the material smoothly and accurately. Precision cuts starting from any point are easily accomplished. The track saw can be used for many common tasks: Ripping sheet goods, creating straight edges on rough stock, jointing boards, cutting to scribe lines on doors and cabinets, cross-cutting, and creating openings in panels, sections of flooring, and cabinets.

Buy with confidence. Know that if you are not completely satisfied with your Festool power tool purchase, you can return it to your place of purchase for a full, no-questions-asked refund within 30 days. Festool power tools are covered by a comprehensive three year warranty. Festool manufactures its power tools at it's facilities in Germany to ensure the highest level of quality.

Your only regret may be that you didn't buy a Festool track saw sooner.