Festool

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Late again to a thread but here goes.
Re: Marketing to Elitists
When I find a tool or machine that works as well or better than the tool or machine I'm currently using - and it's notably eaiser to use and faster (those two go together), I'm very interested. If I buy it and it doesn't live up to expectations I tell other woodworkers who are considering getting one why I personally was disappointed by the tool or machine. And if it meets or exceeds my expectations I tell other woodworkers who are considering getting one why I personally like the tool or machine. In either case, I try to provide emperical data to support my opinion of the tool or machine.
In the case of the DOMINO, which is often perceived as merely a very expensive biscuit cutter, I try and educate woodworkers who have a need for a tool like the DOMINO. The motivation is to provide information that may be useful to a purchasing decision. It's not a show off thing - "look what I can do that you can't" or "look what I have that you don't" - I enjoy helping people, to be of service to others - it just seems the right thing to do.
So let's look at the DOMINO, what it can do and leave the "Is it worth it? up to others to decide.
The mortise and tenon is a great joint - but it takes some time, knowledge, skills, abilities and tools to make them. If you lack any of it's requirements you probably won't use them often, if at all. So you go with pocket screws and/or biscuits, maybe even dowels. Each will hold two pieces of wood together end grain to side grain - square to each other. But each alternative involves a compromise - in strength, appearance or both. How much compromise you're willing to make is up to you.
Since cutting the mortise part of the mortise and tenon joint is the most time consuming operation if done with mallet and chisel, a chisel and bit mortising machine can get you over that excuse for not using M&T joinery. Most drill presses either come with a "mortising accessory package" - adapter, chisels and bits, some sort of fence and hold down. That makes cutting mortises a little easier and a little quicker - but not by much.
A little dedicated bench top chisel and bit mortising machine does the job a bit quicker and quite bit easier than the "drill press add on" - and they're not prohibitively expensive/ BUT - a really good dedicated chisel and bit mortiser - one with a 3/4 hp or more motor, nice beefy guides and ways, a long stout handle, a larger, solid table and fence and a good hold down and hold in system to keep the stock in place, PLUS some easily set left/right stops - makes the job SO MUCH EASIER - to set up and use. Add an XY table, with in/out stops you can easily set, and the job of cuttng mortises gets even easier - and more likely to be used.
Now a dedicated horizontal boring/mortising machine will make cutting mortises even easier and faster - and can be use to make the tenons as well.
OR - a router based mortising jig will make cut mortises quicker and easier.
But - after you've done a bunch of mortise and tenon joints and appreciate this joint - and have a way of quickly and easily cutting the mortises - in both side grain AND - with a horizontal boring/mortising machineor router and jig - it soon becomes obvious that an integral tenon on each end of the "tenons" part a) wastes nice wood - the tenons won't be seen b) is a high risk thing - blow a tenon and you have to make a WHOLE NEW PART c) isn't necessary if you can mortise the part that would normally REQUIRE a tenon and go with a seperate loose /floating tenon. Just as strong if not stronger and it can be made from scraps you'd probably otherwise throw away or burn. AND - the loose/floating tenon part can be of some other wood - perhaps a stonger/harder wood if it's size must be small.
So - traditional mortise and tenon joinery gets replaced by loose/floating tenon joinery, the mortises all done with a router and jig or a horizontal boring/mortising machine.
Now if you went the mortise and tenon route, starting with saw, chisel and mallet then upgraded over time through the mortise cutting machine or machine and jig you'd have spent as much or more than the whole DOMINO package - AND you would've spent hours of tedius and sometimes irritating time setting up and using the tools, machines and jigs that the DOMINO makes unnecessary.
If you were an advanced beginner, or an intermediate woodworker (enough experience to appreciate what the DOMINO does FOR you) wouldn't you want this tool? Not because it's REALLY EXPENSIVE or LOOKS REALLY REALLY COOL - but because it will enable you to make more and better pieces quicker and easier.
So "spreading the word" - for me - is more "evangelical" - here's a better way. I'm a DOMINO Evangelist. I'm also a JoinTech Cabinet Maker Router Table System and AKEDA dovetail jig sytem evangelist. These things do things other tools and machines CAN do- but do them quicker, easier and more accurately. In the case of the JoinTech, it also does things nothing else can do, at least not anythng I can afford. If I can "enlighten" a woodworker I've done my job. If that person "converts" - that's THEIR choice.
Elitist I'm not. Helpful - well I'm working on that one.
charlie b
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Some of the features on some of the Festool tools probably justify the twice the price. The circular saw and guide rail system and the Domino are the ones I think have unique features you cannot find elsewhere. So for them its twice the cost of nothing. No one else has a tool with those features. (I know several brands recently came out with plunge saws and guide rails as mentioned in another thread.) Some tools like the jigsaw and some of the sanders, its hard to justify the twice the price. I have one of their orbital sanders and its nice. But twice as nice? Jigsaw is a jigsaw basically. Some rave about the Rotex sander. Maybe it is a unique sander and justifies the twice the price. Haven't used it. I recall an article on cabinet installation in Tools of the Trade by the bearded skinny Rhode Island guy. He used the Festool cordless drill. The $400+ one with the eccentric and 90 degree chucks and removable chuck to make it a very short maneuverable 1/4" hex driver. I don't install enough cabinets to justify a tool that has useful and unique features like the cordless drill. But he might and the tool cost is immaterial when installing $50,000 kitchens once a month. Those extra features more than pay for themselves. I like the circular saw and guide rail. But if I was a framer/roofer cutting OSB for sheathing I would have no need for the Festool accuracy. A 2x4 guide rail is more than good enough. Or a freehand cut is good enough with enough experience. So a roofer/framer would have no need for the Festool circular saw unique features. But someone who does not have a sliding panel saw may be able to get similar results, but slower, with the Festool when cutting hardwood veneered plywood. Maybe comparing the Festool circular saw to a sliding tablesaw is a more appropriate comparison than a sidewinder saw. Maybe.


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