Woodworking Tools and Supplies Lie Nielsen Planes

Festool Vecturo - A Knife for Wood
by Jim Randolph, of Sticks-in-the-Mud Woodshop
I'd had my new Festool Vecturo for only 24 hours before I had a job for it.

You might think that with office hours of 8-7 weekdays and 8-12 Saturdays, I spend enough time in our clinic without volunteering to stay even later.

Alas, sometimes there are things that just can't be done during regular office hours. With that in mind, I set aside a Saturday afternoon to catch up on reviewing some medical records and evaluating radiographs (X-rays).

After several hours of clerical work, I was ready for some woodworking. A DIY job would be as close as I could get. I needed to modify the platform that supports our central air conditioner's air handler. The ancient faucet in our bathtub needs to be replaced, and part of the platform's framing was in the way of the access panel for the faucet.

We always want to make things as easy for our plumber Terry, as we can.

When plumber Terry assessed this job, his first lament was that one of the framing members for this AC air-handler platform was right in the way of reaching the bathtub faucet inside this wall.

Our answer? "We can fix that!"

The challenges:

• Support the platform without tying into the opposing wall, then,

• After fashioning a new support, remove a portion of the decking. This could be a major challenge, as there wasn't room for a circular saw or jig saw to make a plunge cut. Even a saber saw might require more room than was available.

Twenty-five years ago, when I first built this shelf, I had the choice of running a full-length 2x4 east-west or north-south. Too bad I didn't have the foresight to have chosen differently. Now, the long board needs to be made short, and the two short boards will need the support of a married member.

Enter: the Vecturo.

I say, "Vecturo is like a knife for wood."

The first step was to install a "scab," a board laid alongside an existing frame member. That would allow the weight to be carried by the front and back of the frame, even as one side was being removed.

As two objects can't occupy the same space, half of the old joist had to go.

Enter Vecturo, a knife for wood.

Vecturo's oscillating action made it a simple matter to slice the joist flush with the two blocks that were helping support that part of the deck.

Now, space was available to insert the member to be married.

In these tight quarters, predrilling the new board made driving the attaching screws reasonably easy.

The edge of the scab would define the new edge of the deck, which meant it was now time to start cutting plywood. Easy-peasy with the Vecturo, the knife for wood. All I had to do was rest against the 2x4...much easier than following a line!

Using the 35 mm wide, 50 mm long bimetal Universal blade (USB 50/35/Bi), I just made a plunge cut into the decking from the underside. Because the Vecturo can be operated at a wide variety of angles, a simple adjustment with the Fast-Fix handle allowed me to change the angle as I approached framing components. I didn't have to make a single stroke with a handsaw, the Vecturo took me all the way to the edges.

While it would have been nice to cut from the top side, and not have sawdust falling on my safety glasses and dust mask, the AC condensate line was in the way. The piping meant depth of cut was important in this task, too.

Removing this condensate line was too much trouble just for the convenience of being able to cut from above. I resigned myself to working underneath, and having sawdust in my face.

Enter: Vecturo Depth Stop Kit. These Festool people think of everything! I measured the thickness of the plywood, then added a couple of clicks more depth, allowing me to fully penetrate the deck while still avoiding the AC drain.

Here you see the Vecturo depth stop device attached, with the depth of cut being set just over the thickness of the plywood, but not deep enough to reach the AC's PVC drain.

There is one change I would make in the execution of this job, if I had it to do over. I ordered the Vecturo Set, which adds a 100mm diameter Round Wood Blade*. With the long, narrow blade I plunged initially, then used a combination of plunging and progressing cuts to complete the plywood removal. Next time, I'd like to try the round blade, because I think I could have just made one continuous cut, which would have been both smoother and faster.

*along with the a Wood Blade 50 mm long x 35 mm wide (same dimensions as the Universal bimetal blade, but unable to plunge); and the above-described Depth-Stop Set with Plunge Base.

The final result was quite good, and I was in bed long before midnight! Terry will be happy to have more room to perform his plumbing chores.

Live and learn. After all, it was my first outing with the new tool. And, as I approached the 15th working hour for the day, I was focused on getting finished and going home.

Which sounds like the beginning of a Two Minute Safety Tip to quit working as soon as one is tired, doesn't it?

CLICK HERE for more information or to purchase the Festool Vecturo

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda's home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home. Questions and comments on woodworking may be written in the comments section of each tip in the Highland Woodworking Blog. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.
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