Do More with DominoComments (0)
When I had my first
look at the Domino DF 500, I wasn’t that impressed. The tool’s resemblance to a
biscuit joiner left me wondering why Festool would try to compete with
well-made tools from Porter-Cable, DeWalt and Lamello. I was in for a surprise.
Instead of milling narrow, shallow biscuit
slots, the Domino cuts precise mortises of different sizes with surprising
speed and precision. This performance is possible because of a unique
drivetrain that combines router-level RPMs with oscillating action. By using
different spiral-fluted cutters and making adjustments on the machine, you can tailor your loose-tenon joinery to
fit your project. To make the job even faster and easier, you can buy
ready-made loose tenons that match your mortise sizes.
Building on the popularity of the first Domino joiner (the DF 500), Festool developed an XL model that can mill mortises that are larger and deeper. Like other Festool power tools, both Domino models connect with a tool triggered vacuum to deliver close to dust-free performance. Every Domino owner I’ve spoken with agrees that these tools are expensive, but worth every penny. See if you agree.
Domino Joiner DF
500 Q $895.00
The Domino DF 500 was Festool’s first portable mortising machine. With four mortising widths, this tool can handle anything from face frames and delicate slat assemblies to small furniture projects and cabinet doors. Basic price includes: Systainer, power cord, wrench, 6mm cutter. Three other cutters available, along with matching Domino tenons. (Left)
Domino XL Joiner DF
700 - $1,310.00
The DF 700 takes up where the 500 leaves off, offering larger and deeper tenoning capacity that’s suitable for full-size door construction and larger furniture. Basic price includes: Systainer, power cord, wrench, cross stop, trim stop, 12mm bit. Three other bits available. (right)
features save time when a project needs many mortises
Festool tool designers are adept at anticipating real-world uses for their tools and incorporating features that save time and improve ease of use, without sacrificing precision. They did their homework with the Domino, using detents for common fence angles, adding stops for different stock thicknesses, and developing useful attachments to facilitate spacing mortises and mortising small parts. The cross-pin and trim stop attachments shown below are Festool accessories that can be purchased separately for Domino joiners or bundled into “sets” when buying a new machine.
Mortise alignment without
measuring. Attach the cross-pin adapter to set regular
intervals between mortises. This attachment eliminates the need to make matching
alignment marks across joining parts.
solution. The trim attachment has a pair of adjustable fences that keep small
parts (like the stretcher rung shown above) perfectly positioned for mortising.
Repeatable fence height settings. The stepped design of the fence height gauge provides multiple stops that enable you to quickly return to a specific setting. Aftermarket gauges are available that show imperial rather than metric stops (see p. 34).
Designed by Domino.
Projects like this small bench show how
Domino joinery can impact the design of a woodworking project. Deep mortising capability
makes through tenons possible with the DF 700. The DF 500 excels at
smaller-scale joinery like the slatted stretcher assembly.
mortise length settings enable you to achieve exact alignment and easy
assembly. The snug-fitting mortise setting was used for all mortises on the
near stretcher, and for the two outermost mortises on the far stretcher. Longer
mortises for all remaining tenons make for easier glue-up.
Different Options for Dominos
You can make your own loose tenons to match Domino mortises. But it would be very difficult to duplicate the precision and machining that makes Festool Dominos so useful. Standard Dominos are made from European beech. Mahogany Dominos are available for outdoor projects.
All Dominos have size labels incised into their faces, along with shallow recesses that do a good job of holding glue. The tiny grooves along the curved sides provide an escape route for air and excess glue, allowing each tenon to seat fully in its mortise.If you’re buying a Domino joiner, it makes sense to buy a Systainer that contains your tool’s full range of Domino sizes. Otherwise, you can buy smaller boxes of individual sizes.
Select your size. You
can buy a Systainer containing an assortment of Domino sizes or small boxes of
Aftermarket accessories add versatility
Domino joiner’s popularity, it’s not surprising that different accessories have
been developed to make the tool more useful. Seneca Woodworking has the largest
selection of these aftermarket items, offering useful accessories for both
Domino models. Two of my favorites are shown below. It’s important to note that
using non-Festool products may void the tool’s warranty.
hardware for 14mm mortises
Domino Connectors is
a new system of knock-down hardware designed to work with the DF 700’s largest (14mm)
mortise. The entire hardware kit comes in a standard-size Systainer, as shown
below. The KD components enable you to make frame connections (like bed rail to
post) and butt-joint “countertop” connections. 14mm Dominos are included with
the kit, for use in maintaining strength and alignment. Although the bin of
components looks daunting at first glance, the system doesn’t take long to
You must be logged in to write a comment. Log In