I wanted to stop this happening. My dear little Festool 1010 has had this problem most of its life, and it’s been back to the manufacturer for repair once; trouble is that they return it with no comment about the fault and there’s no way of knowing what they actually did to it if anything. Since I had a bad experience with another Festool product going back and showing the same fault again some months later, I decided not to pay to have this one fixed again. Instead, I tried one or two different ways to fix it myself.
The trouble is, the plunge mechanism is pushing against a very strong pair of springs which are trying to push the thing upwards, i.e. reduce the depth of cut. If you want to hold it in one place, which you absolutely do for a dovetail joint, you are provided with a knob on the side of the router which pushes a bolt against one of the pillars. It’s basically a friction stop, and I presume the idea is that you turn the knob as tightly as your muscles will allow. I am astonished that plunge routers don’t have a way to fix the depth of cut in a positive way. I tried bolting a piece of wood over the top of the router using the threaded holes provided for the guide, which as it happens I never use. Too clunky for words, and anyway didn’t hold the router firmly enough. So I took another look at the manual and another look at the router.
There’s a bolt on the router, whose only function appears to be to stop the thing from flying apart when you loosen the knob. It looks like an afterthought, and a lost opportunity. It is not mentioned in the manual. What I did in the end was to cut a piece of 10mm diameter aluminium tube that I happened to have, and put it round the bolt. I found the bolt came off easily enough but was held secure with Loctite as you’d expect. It’s well past warranty so I’m not bothered about being told off by Festool.
Now I can be sure that the router won’t start to withdraw the cutter into itself (and ruin the cutter in the process, due to its being too wide to fit through the guide bush) while I do my dovetails. The only downside is that you have to adjust the depth of cut now by moving the bit up or down in the collet: a laborious process involving a lot of patience, plenty of scrap wood for testing, a spanner and two steady hands. Mark 2 will probably involve a threaded bolt with a nut on it, which can be tightened down when the depth has been set with the knob. My friend Dave at Axminster Power Tools is going to suggest it to them next time he talks to them. I wonder that they didn’t think of it years ago. Meanwhile, you saw it here first.