As a carpenter specializing in custom cabinetry and built-ins, I prioritize the versatility of my tools. I don’t want a tool that can only perform a few functions. For instance, my router has multiple base attachments, allowing me to cut dadoes, notches, trim edges, and drill holes for hinges. With this in mind, when I decided to upgrade my edgebanding, I wanted a machine that could enhance my current work and enable future projects. As a passionate Festool user, the Conturo Edge Bander immediately caught my attention. Over the past few weeks, I have been using the Festool Edge Bander KA 65 Conturo for a large cabinet project, and I must say, it’s a beautiful machine that delivers exceptional results.
First Impression: A Solid and Professional Machine
The Festool Edge Bander KA 65 Conturo comes neatly packaged in Festool’s typical Systainer and molded foam. The machine feels solid and well-built, although it’s a bit heavier compared to other Festool products. One minor detail is that the Conturo’s power cord is not as flexible as a typical “plug and play” cord. However, this doesn’t affect its performance. The base of the machine requires some assembly before use, but overall, the Conturo looks and feels like a professional piece of equipment.
Favorite Feature: Versatile Edge Banding
The standout feature of the Festool Edge Bander KA 65 Conturo is its ability to apply edge bands on both inner and outer radii. Unlike most automated machines that can only band straight edges on plywood, the Conturo is handheld and can easily navigate curves. The Conturo Edging Kit includes an auxiliary roller that allows for edge banding on narrow fillets with great precision.
Another impressive feature is the Conturo’s unique glue mechanism. Instead of using a glue tank, the KA65 utilizes a sticky disc on top of the machine. The disc is melted to apply the necessary amount of glue per run, minimizing waste and enabling quick adhesive color changes.
The Festool KA 65 Conturo can also handle beveled edges in combination with the MFT/3 edge bander. While I haven’t had the opportunity to try this feature yet, I can see the advantage it offers when designing custom cabinets or furniture. This unique ability truly sets the Conturo apart from other edge banders available today.
Prepare for the Future of Work
Setting up the Conturo is a breeze. Most settings are displayed digitally on top of the machine. However, there are a few important settings to be aware of before using it. Firstly, you can adjust the temperature. Festool provides the option to display temperature settings in Fahrenheit, making it convenient for American users. Additionally, suggested temperature settings for the Conturo Adhesive are conveniently printed on the box. Simply use the buttons below the display to dial in the desired temperature.
The Festool Edge Bander KA 65 Conturo allows you to control the amount of glue applied. It may take some trial and error to find the optimal setting. Initially, I used too much glue, resulting in excess that needed to be removed. However, after some adjustments, I found that the lowest glue setting worked perfectly for the thin, pre-finished edging I was using on my current project. The Conturo has two speed settings: slow and slower. Use the trigger on the ergonomic handle to make adjustments.
How to Operate the Conturo
Operating the Festool Edge Bander KA 65 Conturo may take some getting used to. The machine performs multiple functions simultaneously, and you need to ensure it is properly positioned against the workpiece. Once the edging is cut to length and loaded into the Conturo, simply push the start button to begin. The machine will apply glue to the edgeband and feed it into the machine. At this point, press the automatic roller against the workpiece. Lower the machine onto the workpiece at the same speed as the Conturo feeds the edgeband.
It may sound complicated, but it’s actually close to being fully automated. You only need to position the machine correctly and let it do its job. For longer edging requirements, the edging kit includes a reel that attaches to the machine, allowing you to roll up the strapping while in use and prevent tangling.
Trimming and Finishing Touches
After applying the edge banding, you can start trimming right away. The trimming set from the Festool Conturo Edge Bander KA65 set is highly recommended. Acting like a guillotine, this trimmer delivers precise and flush cuts on the end of the workpiece.
For further refinement, I suggest using the Festool MFK 700 Edge Banding router. This tool not only trims the edge banding but also removes excess glue and bevels the edges in one pass. Additionally, a carbide scraper from Festool can be used to scrape off excess glue and further bevel the edges. Just be careful not to drop the scraper, as it can break into pieces. Once the excess glue is removed and the edges are beveled, sanding blocks, polishes, and pads can be used to achieve a pristine, professional finish.
Final Thoughts: A Versatile and Cost-Effective Solution
Most edge banders on the market have limited functionality, primarily designed for straight edge banding on plywood. Some automated machines can handle multiple tasks, such as applying edge banding, cutting off ends, and trimming edges in one pass, but they are still restricted to straight 90° workpieces. Moreover, their price range typically starts at around $10,000.
The Festool Edge Bander KA 65 Conturo presents a perfect solution for small custom furniture shops. Despite being a dedicated machine, it offers capabilities that surpass more expensive edge banders. This versatility was the decisive factor for me. I highly recommend this machine to all professional carpenters, especially those working in small shops producing highly customized cabinets. While the Conturo may not match the productivity of pricier stationary edge banders, it doesn’t need to. It stands in a league of its own.
Festool Edge Bander KA 65 Conturo Specifications:
- Heating time: 8 minutes
- Security level: I
- Weight: 17.41 lbs (7.9 kg)
- Melting temperature: 212 – 410 °F (100 – 210°C)
- Edge Height: 3/4″ – 2-9/16″ (18 – 65 mm)
- Power consumption: 1,200 watts
- Maximum Edge Thickness: 1/64″ – 1/8″ (0.5 – 3.0 mm)
- Feed Rate: 6.56 ft/min (2 m/min)/13.1 ft/min (4 m/min)
- Inner Radius: > 2″ (50 mm)
So, if you’re looking for a versatile and cost-effective solution for edge banding, the Festool Edge Bander KA 65 Conturo is the perfect choice. Upgrade your carpentry projects with this remarkable machine and witness the exceptional results it delivers.