Another Domino or DowelMax thread -

Some time ago, I had a few hand powertools stolen out of the garage. One thing I never replaced was my PC plate joiner. For small to medium blanks, I figured I could get by with a router slot cutter if needed (proved to be a bit sloppy for me) - and careful clamping.
Works well enough for those smaller projects, but I've never been too satisfied with my results - always some alignment issues - but nothing a #7 can't resolve. However, for my dining room table project, I'm tempted to get something to help with alignment.
Certainly I could glue up one section at a time - and am half tempted to go that route given the visibility of the project. I've also been investigating the Dowelmax - which looks to be a great thing. If it were even just $200, I'd pull the trigger. But it's $270 base - over $350 for the 1/4" guides. Given what I've read, it could be an "every project" type tool... Even at $350 - I'd go that route before getting another plate joiner.
Given the price though, it's 1/2 the cost of a Domino - another ungodly expensive tool. Mix in the price of an FMT (which has called to me for years) - I could get Dowelmax ($350) for now - and FMT ($600-700) when the chair project comes around after the table...
Struggling a bit with the options. I've learned to wait till the need dictates a purchase - and buy once with no regret about cost; but having trouble with this one. "Speed" isn't really a selling point to be honest with you - I don't mind being in the shop woodworking (This is a hobby - not a profession). If the DowelMax takes 5 minutes longer for an apron joint or 10 minutes longer for a panel - I think I'm ok with that. Precision, flexibility and strength in my joinery are the top criteria. I'm trying to look ahead and see where I'd say - "Rats, I should have gotten the Domino for this."
My heart says DowelMax and FMT, but my head has been conditioned to lean towards the Domino for that combined dollar range. What's worse - I've seen a few postings that seem to indicate that the Domino makes everything else obsolete (FMT, Dowelmax, BeadLock, biscuits). Yet the cynic in me thinks this is similar to a new restraunt that opens up; the hottest thing for a while - and then is just another place to eat.
Eh, back to the research....
jbd in Denver -
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When it comes to making chairs (for which I wouldn't trade my Muti-Router for all the above, including the Domino) I would most definitely choose the Domino over the option above.
AAMOF, had the Domino had been available prior to my M-R purchase, I would have had a hard time justifying the M-R, even though it is more versatile and certainly not a 'one trick pony', like the Domino.
Just my tuppence ...
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wrote

Do you ever use your M-R for dovetails? In a few months I expect a couple of projects with lots of same size dovetails and I am starting to investigate options.
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"Frank Drackman" wrote

I use an older Leigh D-4 for most of the dovetails I do.
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If I didn't have a ShopBot on the way, I'd be all over the M-R. As my thinking seems to be constantly clouded by 'production'-type thoughts, I felt the FMT and the Domino didn't appeal to me on an industrial level. Between the biscuits, a few hand-drilled dowels and a pocket screw set- up, all the one-offs are dealt with adequately. No doubt that the Domino is more elegant than a biscuit joiner, but as Leon mentions, $1400 is starting to inch away towards the M-R and IMHO the M-R is a far better long term investment. It is industrial grade. ( AAMOF, the M-R can do things the 'Bot can't.) There is something to be said for having the axis on the horizontal. Don't get me wrong, I like the Domino, but it's too much money, IMHO. The M-R looks like it could be a tool hanging off the side of a Felder.
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wrote

I know that the M-R is great for MT joints but I am looking for a dovetail solution.
Do you plan to use Shopbot for dovetails?
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"Frank Drackman" wrote

The M-R will certainly do dovetails, with the extra templates which I never purchased because I own a Leigh D4 ... I just use the Leigh, not the M-R, for dovetails out of path-of-least-resistance, lazy familiarity.
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At some point maybe. Dovetails aren't my thing....not as long as there's a product like Metabox.<G> If a client wanted all dovetailed drawers, I would just buy them. I think that if I was to seriously consider doing a lot of dovetails, Leigh jigs would be the way to go. Their promo DVD sure makes it look easy and should sustain some pretty good production rates.
r
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I want both MR and Domino. I'll get the MR first. I used to think the FMT was next on my list but after seeing real demos of both MR and FMT it was evident which one was the more pro tool. Of course I think I could build some fine chairs with the FMT but the MR does so much more and much more stable to use and way more consistent output.

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"SonomaProducts.com" wrote

I took a close look at the FMT at one point and, while it is a fine jig and undoubtedly up to the task, the extremely well engineered x/y/z axis capability of the M-R certainly lends itself to precise and consistent output for small production work.
If you're going to get a M-R, and have a set of chairs in your future, take a look at the jig I devised to cut mortises in curved chair rails with the M-R. IMNSHO, it's an elegant solution to the task ... AAMOF, I was more tickled coming up with it than most of the furniture pieces I've done. :)
http://www.e-woodshop.net/Jigs.htm
Scroll down to "mortises in curved work - Method 1"
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Nice design.
I am wondering if you have any experience with deep mortising. I am considering how I would do through mortises with the MR. I want squared corners, even though I have seen through mortises with rounded tenons. I could cut square tennons easily enough with the MR but would need to under cut the through mortises slightly and square them by hand. My concern is I'd likely need to go a full 2" deep or more. Have you found end mills long enough enough for that and do you think it would be stable enough on the cuts if you were careful?

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"SonomaProducts.com" wrote \

In the past, I've used my hollow chisel mortiser for squaring rounded, through mortises cut on the M-R.
My concern is I'd likely need to go a full 2" deep or more. Have

A 2" cutting depth has never been a problem with any size end mill I'ved used in oak, thus far
That said, with square, through tenons that are deeper, I usually route the mortises from each side, both on the M-R, and then a squaring pass on each side with the mortising machine, deep as I can to get a good reference edge for the chisel cut.
The only caveat with the M-R is that you really need to measure your stock thickness carefully so that the formula:
(bit diameter + stock thickness)/2
... works to allow you to position your cutter at the exact center of your stock thickness ... you can't be too precise with this step, IME.
(apparently a lot of folks think 3/4" stock is 3/4", even when you milled it yourself, which we know is not always the case, thus drilling from the opposite side, using the opposing face down on the M-R table for the second cut, won't guarantee the cuts meet precisely enough for the purposes of a through tenon)
IOW, take the setup time, with some test cuts, to verify that both faces of your stock are equal as a "reference edge/face".
Once you have that dialed in, the M-R can easily cut through mortises in some pretty wide/thick stock precisely from either face when making the opposing through cut.
I haven't had any trouble using a 5/16 or 3/8", four flute, end mills for boring deep on the MR ... a long 1/4" end mill may give you a bit of flex in some material at depth, but I've not really had any problem with routing through tenons in 3/4" QSWO using a 1/4" end mill.
I buy mine from:
www.travers.com
PDF of their catalog online at:
https://www.travers.com/htdocs/catalogs.shtml
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Thanks, this is great information.
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Cool info. Yeah, shooting from two sides is always difficult to get precise. I think I would try to work from the same down face on the table and change the end stop, so flipping the piece the long way instead of rolling it over. I think some difference in the length of the mortise would be an easier variable to deal with. Of course this won't work on some types of parts like the back legs of a classic chair.

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Keep in mind that the Domino starts at about $700. Then you have the Domino tennons to buy and it does need dust collection to keep the machine and mortises cleaned out. My investment with all the stuff including the Festool CT22 Vacuum and Domino Systainer assortment and accessory guides was about $1400.

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