Reviewing tools helps you understand whether a product works well in your shop or workspace. Accessories can also enhance your workflow. On occasion, they can even create a new way of thinking. Not too long ago, a couple of us spent some time over at Seventeen20, a local furniture shop here in Lakeland, Florida. There, Jonathan Bucklew, one of our writers and a consummate craftsman (don’t tell him I said that—he’ll get embarrassed), makes unique furniture from steel and various species of wood. Needless to say, he does a LOT of sanding. We “borrowed” his shop to create some tables for our office and our weekly PTR Live show. In the process, we got to test out the Festool Workcenter Organizer and Festool Boom Arm accessories. To say that it sped up the sanding process would be an understatement. It creates a whole new level of productivity and convenience. Keep reading so you can decide if it makes sense for your shop.
Purpose of the Festool Workcenter Organizer WCR 1000
Before we get into the features, what’s the big picture? Quite simply, the Workcenter WCR 1000 takes any Festool CT 36 or CT 26 and adds a variable-height raised metal pegboard and tray as well as a couple hangers for your sanders.
It allows you to quickly access sanding pads, sanding discs, clamps, accessories, and more. It does this right where you’re working. Forget having to run back to the shelf or toolbox. Everything can be loaded up for the job and made very accessible. You can see from the photo how quickly you can just grab the sander and get to work. Need to flip sanders, discs, or pads? Just store them right there and grab what you need and keep working. While we were sanding our ash table, we swapped from 5mm to 3mm on the Festool ETS EC brushless sanders right where we were and stepped down the sanding grit as needed.
Adding the Festool Boom Arm (Model 203151)
Adding the Festool Boom Arm just puts the icing on the cake. If the Festool Workcenter Organizer gives you access to the accessories you need to work more quickly, the Festool Boom speeds up the actual work itself. With the boom arm, you accomplish two things. First, you can use the Festool Hose w/Sleeve to combine the power and hose and send that up overhead and out of the way. You gain maneuverability. Second, doing that frees you from a majority of the hose and cord weight. Sanding without dragging that hose and cord along the edge of the workpiece not only makes for an easier process—it saves you from having to constantly protect workpiece edges from accidental abrasion.
Assembly & Build Quality
I won’t bore you with the assembly instructions. We put together the Festool WCR 1000 Workcenter in short order. The system comes almost fully assembled. It fits neatly atop a CT 22, CT 33, CT 26, CT 36, or CT 48. The CT 36 AC (AutoClean), however, has the top clasps reversed, so the Workcenter will technically work, but it would just be rotated 180 degrees. It allows you to attach another Systainer atop the base, giving you even more options for storing sanding discs, accessories, and even tools.
The Festool Boom Arm fits the CT 22 and CT 33 as well as the CT 26 or CT 36. It will not work well with the CT 36 AC due to minor differences in construction. The boom also requires the 452921 handle for mounting onto the CT 22 or CT 33 dust extractors. If you have a CT 26 or CT 36, you need the 495802 handle and boom arm support bracket (496780). There are small “outriggers” for the Festool CT Boom Arm that help stabilize the rig from tipping. We configured ours as designed, with the cross bars underneath the wheelbase of the CT 36. You could, we suppose, flip this around should you decide to favor the boom arm off the back of the CT dust extractor rather than the front.
Using the Festool WCR 1000 and Festool Boom Arm
We found ourselves configuring and using the Festool WCR 1000 for every sanding project. Once you put everything in place, the system is simply too handy to ever go back. The boom arm gave us excellent clearance over the material—and we had several large pieces of ash that needed sanding. Starting with 80 grit and working down towards 220, the WCR 1000 Workcenter and boom arm sped up the process. It not only made swapping out of sanding discs quick but also the pads. We like to use a softer pad in addition to a lower oscillation diameter (3mm) when sanding roundovers and final finish sanding. Storing everything (including the Allen wrench) on the Workcenter put everything within reach.
Even manipulating the CT 36 dust extractor around the shop was simple. You’d think the counterbalancing stabilizers would put up some resistance, but the entire unit moves smoothly. The wheels clear the cross braces, and the entire unit slides across the concrete. When finished, we simply backed it up against the shop wall.
If you do a lot of sanding, the Festool Work Center and Festool Boom Arm will most certainly improve efficiency. It also makes sanding less of a hassle. I love a smooth finish as much as the next guy, but sanding takes time. If you’re going to spend hours each day on a task, make it as easy as possible. All of the components that accompany these accessories seem well-built. Having used the system and witnessed it in production for over a year, I can attest that it has the longevity you’d expect from Festool.
The Festool WCR 1000 Workcenter Organizer runs around $415. That includes the adjustable height unit, peg hook tray, universal double hook, double hook tool rest, pivoting storage tray, and 6 peg hooks.
The Festool CT Boom Arm runs about $375 and includes a 5 ft electrical extension cord and a 50 mm x 5 ft anti-static hose with female coupler. To put everything together, you may be in the system for another $850 or so not including the cost of the dust extractor. Festool clearly knows they aren’t selling tons of these accessories—which is likely why the price comes in at such a premium.
All told, this system targets the serious woodworker or semi-production environment where you truly require the greatest possible efficiency and workflow. It’s also key in environments where dragging a hose along the edge of the workpiece simply isn’t an option and will ruin your material. Where time equals money, I find it easy to recommend this system to Pros.