Festool Domino - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-11-2007, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Festool Domino

This a copy of an earlier post with a "review" of the tool at the end of it. Hope it helps out anybody that may or may not want to look into the Domino.

"I have been building furniture for quite a while now, and in starting to upgrade my tools, I have decided to start subscribing to the "Save your money and get the best tool" theory, instead of the "This should do for now" theory.
Well, my first purchase was the Domino, by Festool because I make a lot of tables and just don't have a lot of time to hand make the mortise and tenon joints. Sooooo, I saved up and took a shot at buying a Domino.
I have NEVER, in my life, seen a machine as PRECISE as this one, and accurate. I have built 3 tables in the amount of time it would have taken me to build 1, AND, I was able to set up the aprons and legs without making ONE pencil mark to align the machine. My next job was to tackle a bookcase using "Domino Joinery" and the thing went together easier than anything I have ever put together in my life, AND it was 10 times faster that my old Rabbet-and-Dado construction.

On bad thing about the Festool stuff: Make sure you keep a metric-to-fractional conversion chart in your apron/pouch with you. You are going to need it!!!!"

The Domino by Festool is one of the few "new" innovations in handheld power tools that has come along in a long while. For an age old craft, such as woodworking, you wouldn't have thought that they could come up with something new. But, they did.

In it's "basic form" the Domino is a glorified biscuit joiner that uses domino shaped loose tenons to join wood, instead of football shaped biscuit. And, for the most part, that is true. There isn't anything that you can do with a biscuit joiner that you can't do with a Domino. It is the things that you CAN'T do with a biscuit joiner, that makes this tool stand out.

The Domino had two depressible pins that stick out from the front of the machine. These two pins are spaced PRECISELY to the same measurement left and right of the center of the cutter. The advantage to this, that you don't have with a biscuit joiner, is that you can use these pins to reference the edge of a workpiece without ever having to mark the workpieces. For example: you have 4 legs and 4 aprons that you are going to make a table with. You slide the Domino from the top of the leg up to this pin and plunge. Then, you reference the top of the apron from the pin and make that cut. Then, you tap the Domino home (yes, it is so precise that you need to tap it down lightly). When you put the pieces together, your apron and leg are lined up EXACTLY even with each other. It will even hold together without any glue. No measuring, no marking, and you have a strong mortise and loose tenon joint. The biscuit joiner cannot do that because they allow room for play. (The Domino does have a setting to let you make wider mortises if you need them. The only disadvantage to this is: If you are off even 1/32", then you have problems because this machine is that exact. Biscuits have a "slop factor" that allow you to slide the pieces up and down.

For longer runs, like joining boards for a tabletop, you can slip the pin into the previous hole you cut and keep running along the board precisely. (they also have an attachment that you can buy to make much longer runs of holes, as well).

Another advantage that the Domino has over a biscuit joiner is that there is no "jump" or "lunge" to one side when the cutter comes in contact with the wood initially. Actually, in my experience, the Domino seem to "grip" the wood as you depress it and there is no slippage whatsoever. Pretty nice, if I do say so.

The Dominos are actually structural, whereas the biscuits are not.

In all fairness, there are 2 things that I need to point out that I DON'T like about the Domino.
1. It is all in metric. I would have liked to see them convert the markings to the fractional system for the models for sale in America. So, like I mentioned above: If you don't know the metric system, keep a conversion chart handy, you ARE going to need it.
2. The obvious one: THE PRICE. This puppy isn't cheap by any stretch of the imagination. If you build a lot of furniture, or have a little side business where you make cabinets, or furniture, then you can REALLY save a lot of time and money by buying this. But, if you are only going to use it once or twice a year, this machine makes you think twice about spending all that money. The machine and the biscuits together will cost you about $1,000.00 to get it. However, once you use it, you will be LOOKING for reasons to use it again. Trust me on that one.

Well, thanks for taking the time to read this long post. Hope it helps some of you out. Feel free to ask any questions you may have and I will be more than happy to answer them to the best of my ability.

Have a good one!!!!
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-12-2007, 07:39 AM
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Hi atogrf1,
Great review. But a couple extra points, if I may.

The puppy is expensive the puppy chow even more so. Making your own is a walk in the park. A friend of mine here in Melbourne has it sussed. He creates chamfered dominoes by cutting a blank to size (e.g. 10mmx20mm, then chamfers the corners using his jointer. They don't look exactly like dominoes with the rounded sides, but they have two great advantages.
1. Since the DOmino digs holes for a living, you may as well use the biggest hole it will dig, which for the 10mm cutter is 10x32x26 (allowing for glue in the mortise. Yoe can cut this yourself for a lot less than buying the standarad sizes.
2. Because the corners only are trimmed and you are using a large domino, you get an increased gluing surface and the glue is less likely to be trapped at the bottom of the mortise, causing the possibility of fracturing the workpiece. (trust me, you don't want this.)

Again since the domino digs holes, but only to 28mm deep, through mortises up to 56mm are a cinch. Mark upp from the bottom of the leg or whatever to where the bottom of the mortise will be. Allowing that the cutter uses a pendulum action and will cut to 32mm wide, set a matk at 16mm abiove the bottom mark and mark it square right across the workpiece. Then measure upanother 32mm and do the same and so on until you have the siz mortise you wish. Use the appropriate cutter at maximum cut width ad plunge route. You will most likely have a "widows peak" in the middle of the two passes. This can be cleaned up by just plunging over it. Forgot to mention, just keep changing the Domino cut depth to get the depth of mortise you want. you want. Now, because you have the marks visible on the opposite side of the workpiece, just repeat and you will have one very clean, very easy through mortise exactly the size you want.

Whwn you want to rout dadoes for drawer bottoms, mount the 5mm cutter and set an appropriate depth, then do consecutive cuts. You can pencil mark where you want to stop if you wish, but either way just do consecutive plunges until you reach the end, AND, you can ride yp with the cutter to finish the job. Four drawer panels should take about 3-4 minutes.

That is all for now. I have some other stuff, but I'll talk about that later.


Damn Fine Furniture...
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-14-2007, 08:05 AM
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I found this guy on YouTube last night. I don't know much about this hobby but I liked his videos. In "Tenons Anyone? pt2" he makes use of the Domino at the end. Pretty neat little tool.

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post #4 of 6 Old 08-14-2007, 09:40 AM
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Orson that's great additional info. Do you suppose the Dominos would be better for joing large slabs for table tops than would biscuits? It would seem to me that they would but on really big slabs I wonder if even they would suffice.

In the past where I was joining boards too wide and thick for biscuits I would use full length splines but I am gonna do the mm to inch conversion to get an idea of how big the largest domin really is.

So have you used them on really big slabs ever?
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-14-2007, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by rob.hough View Post
I found this guy on YouTube last night. I don't know much about this hobby but I liked his videos. In "Tenons Anyone? pt2" he makes use of the Domino at the end. Pretty neat little tool.

If you look on the right hand side of his website you will see that we sponsor his show: http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/


"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-14-2007, 11:50 PM
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Hi Tex,

Remember, you're only digging holes with the Domino, so you can make them any width and depth (up 28mm) that you want. On really large slabs, where I guess we're talking say 2" thick, placement of two rows of 32x10 dominoes every 8-12"dominoes to well prepared and square timber will help keep the joint straight. I agree at this size you probably need something extra, maybe butterflies or assume you're doing butt joints and if you have good enough pessure clamps, use them as well as the Dominoes. The dominoes in this situation will help keep the two boards close to level on top and bottom, meaning there's not a lot of further processing required for a flat surface. The largest single rout mortice is about 1 1/4" wide, just over an inch long and abou 3/4 deep. But using mutiple passes will give you more. Here's something else, the maximum cut height on the standard Domino is 30mm (about 1 1/4". By removing ythe two plastic lugs over the top of the slide, (you'll know when you see them) you can increase the height of cut to allow centering on a 4" piece! Just be careful that you have a good tight hold as not much is keeping it level but you.



Damn Fine Furniture...

Last edited by Orson Carter; 08-14-2007 at 11:56 PM.
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