Festool DOMINO - the Beauty of Presets - Two More Gems

The more I explore the "built ins" in the Festool Domino the more I come to appreciate its built in features.
THIS IS NOT - a biscuit joiner - just a slot mortiser with the ease of a bicsuit joiner
IT IS - part of a System, and a well thought out System at that - a VERY versatile tool for making mortises for loose tenon joinery
I've been focusing on the Fence to Mortise Centerline "presets" on the DOMINO. After heading off in the wrong direction because I was thinking in terms of how a biscuit joiner is used, I finally "saw" how the DOMINO is intended to be used.
No if you've done Loose Tenon joinery before, either handcut, chisel and bit mortiser or router and jig, you know that laying out the mortise is VERY important, as is the use of The Reference Face and Reference End of the part to be mortised.
Now if you use the wrong Reference Edge for the second end of the part you can get this
Top +------------------------+ | | +--+ | Left | | +--+ right |--+ | | | +--+ | | +------------------------+ Bottom
And if you use the wrong Reference Face for the second endof the part you can get this
Left End Right End +--------------+ +--------------+ | +-----+ | | | | +-----+ | | +-----+ | | | | +-----+ | +--------------+ +--------------+
AND - if you're like me (or am I the Only One?) you can make BOTH mistakes.
Well the DOMINO's symetric Left/Right retractable Stop Pins solves one of those problems. Use the Left Stop Pin to reference the mortise on the "left end" and the Right Stop Pin to reference the mortise on the "right end" and Potential Problem One is solved.
It's for Potential Problem Two that I've found the DOMINO's "almost idiot proof" solution. And in the process I also discovered their "built in REVEAL" capability.
So - here are two more web pages I've put up that hopefully will explain and illustrate the power of the DOMINO's built in presets for FENCE TO MORTISE CENTERLINE.
http://web.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/DOMINO/DOMINO_3.html
http://web.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/DOMINO/DOMINO_Reveals.html
Sure wish someone would do a user's manual for the DOMINO - working out the use of its built in features, while interesting, is time consuming and headache creating. Imagine if it came with a Users Manual like the Leigh Dovetail Jig.
The DOMINO is a VERY versatile tool that can produce a HUGE range of Loose Tenon mortise and tenon joints. But right now you really have to dig to find all the gems built into this thing.
Hope this stuff makes it a little easier for the next guy, or helps anyone thinking about getting a DOMINO with their decision to buy - or not.
As always, comments, suggestions, constructive criticism will be greatly appreciated.
charlie b
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charlieb wrote:

Comments? Yeah... thanks for convincing me this is a must-have. Now just hope my wife doesn't find out where you live....
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charlieb wrote:

Okay, I buy the fact that they've done useful things with the presets...but there's nothing stopping a company from doing similar things with a biscuit joiner. Also, if the Domino is a "system" then so is a biscuit joiner or a dowelling jig.
Sure, the Domino will give a stronger joint due to the larger tennon, but to me it's an evolutionary product rather than a revolutionary one.
I'm not saying it isn't useful, but fundamentally it is nothing more than a particularly well-thought-out portable slot mortiser.
Chris
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That's how I see it...still want one...
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Chris Friesen wrote:

Beg to differ with you. Biscuits accurately postion on one axis - they've got slop along their slot's length AND the bottom of the mortise is an arc. The loose tenon mortise fixes the postion of the part on two axis - with some slop if you choose to use that option.
So they could use the DOMINO fence to mortise centerline presets idea AND the retractable stop pins for postioning the center of the biscuit slot - but yuo're still playing with a biscuit in an arced slot - one axis positioning only

By "system" I mean a tool that fits in with a set of tools made for a "system" of furniture making. Festool made a "system" of tools that work with each other for making funriture using a "system" ie The 32mm System.
No other tool manufacturer that I know of (at least not that a "hobbiest" can afford) makes guides, work tables, clamping devices, plunge saws, plunge routers, hole drilling jigs, cordless drills and something like the DOMINO - that are DESIGNED to work together - with at most TWO power cords - one on the Dust Extractor (vacuum cleaner) and one that plugs into the end of EVERY non-cordless Festool power tool.(if you haven't created a Gordian Knot with your power cords - one for the saw, one for the router, one for the sander, one maybe for a hand drill . . . just Festools One Power Cord to ALL power tools "system" can't really be appreciated.
Sure - you can adapt tools to work together as part of a "system". Festool has, and no doubt will continue to add to, a "system".

In one way I have to agree. There is very little new "under the sun". I don't think there's much "creativity" (making something out of nothing) - it's almost all "synthesis" (combining existing things in a way they have not been combined ever before) - what you might call "evolutionary"
But - if something makes it possible to do something you weren't doing before - or it was too much of a hassle to do - AND - sginificantly changes HOW you do something THEN I consider that revolutionary.
The circular saw was revolutionary in terms of its impact on woodworking, as was the bandsaw and the handheld router. Those were almost quantum leaps in woodworking. The biscuit joiner - well maybe.
For furniture size mortise and tenon joints (as opposed to timber framing or boat building) the DOMINO gives you a boatload of mortise options, minimal "set up" time, easy as pie mortise cutting AND all in 1.25 cubic feet/ 1 square foot of space for the tool, ALL its accessories AND ALL the supplies to go with it (11 1/2" tall, 15 1/2" wide - that's TWO stacked Systainers).
Got a chisel and bit mortiser? How much space does it need? Would you carry it to a job site? Hell, would you pick it up at all if you didn't have to?
Got the Leight FMT mortising jig - AND the router to go with it? How big is just the box you probably made to put all its accessories in? How much space does the jig and router take up? Would you take everyting you need for it to a job site? If you did, do you think everything would make it back to your shop.

Yup - and a Formula One "car" is funadametally nothing more than a particularly nice looking, fast, fun to drive Yugo - without the corresponding price increase. You can substitute the BMW Z3, Porsche Boxster or Countach for "Formula One".
I've got a 200+ pound General International 75-0750M chisel and bit mortiser sitting on the cabinet I made to hold it off the floor- the cabinet being on wheels. It got a lot of use when I was buidling DAS BENCH and infrequent use since then - it doesn't do mortises in end grain. It cost about $800 and there's another $50 in wood for the cabinet and and another $25 for the wheels for the base.
I HAD the TREND M&T Jig which was pushing $300 for the jig, the router guides, the router and the router bits. About a third the price of the DOMINO full package - or the Leigh FMT. Add the plunge router and you're still at half the price of either the DOMINO or the Leigh FMT. BUT - while it was easier and quicker than handcutting mortises, it was somewhat of a hassle to use and not very "idiot proof" (I'm the poster child of idiots - at times).
The Leigh FMT - well cutting mortises in the end grain of a part longer than say 40" gets you working with it - on a ladder. I've fallen off a ladder on a "few" occasions. The idea of falling off a ladder - while holding a router spinning an exposed bit at 28,000 rpms scares the crap out of me. Were the jig itself to land on me AFTER I landed on the ground/floor and was already bleeding due to contact between skin and maybe tendons as well as bone(s) and a sharp piece or two of spinning carbide . . .
At 7 pounds - a falling DOMINO might cause a bruise or a bump - no blood loss since the sharp spinning carbide would have retracted into the tool.
The DOMINO is going to significantly change how I make things. To me at least, it is revolutionary. Your mileage may vary.
charlie b
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Back in the 70's maybe early 80's B&D had the detachable power coards that would interchange with other B&D tools. Apparently that idea did not go over very good. Perhaps it was the design but I personally disliked the concept. Perhaps its was a good idea at the wrong time. Oddly I like the idea of the Festools having seperate cords. I'll bet the Festool has a better design in that reguard.
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I have a few Milwaukee tools with that feature. Never did figure out what the point of it was. Never had a problem with them either.
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I see the advantage if you are going back and forth between tools and only have a single ended extension cord. It is easier to unplug the tool at the tool rather than pulling up the cord to get to the end at the extension cord. Do you also remember the B&D tools that had the 6" cords? LOL
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Leon wrote:

Think Carpenter / Job Site.
You're up in the attic walking on the ceiling joists and you've got your circular saw, SawzAll (bayonet saw) and maybe a HoleHog (right angle drill) with a paddle bit in it. Oh - and you've got the plastic bucket you carried them in - and ONE cord with you, rather than THREE.
Now remember how power cords somehow mysteriously ALWAYS tie themselves into the 21st Century version of the Gordian Knot. Do YOU want to untie it - while balancing on ceiling joists?
Went through exactly that helping a neighbor with his MAJOR addition/ remodel (New master bedroom off one side of the existing house, bumped out the kitchen off the back wall and expanded the living room off another side wall - while keeping the existing roof. Working in three different new "attics" was "fun" - NOT!)
charlie b
ps When a neighbor asks if you'd give him a hand with a "short beam" - ask for ALL the dimensions before you answer. "It's ONLY an 8 footer" doesn't tell you that it's a paralam which is 8 feet - of 6" x 14. Just a tad heavier than a 4x6 or 4x8. Did I mention that it needed to be up in an existing attic - with a 28" x 28" attic access opening - during the summer?
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Oh heck lets not even go there.. I have a hard enough time at the work bench and not unplugging the wrong tool if there are 3 tools and 2 extension cords. And how often when changing tools do I grab the cord and extension, seperate them, and throw the extension cord back on the ground? Too many times. ;~)
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On job sites, power cords get beat up or cut pretty often. With the detachable cord, you can (safely) replace it quickly. I like the fact that they have a 25' cord as an option as well.
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Leon wrote:

I still have a B&D hedge trimmer from that period. B&D basically just put a male plug on the trimmer - no locking mechanism - just friction to hold the extension cord on it. A real PITA cause the cord would pull off the trimmer all the time.
Festool solved that problem with a twist lock set up. Plug in the cord, twist the plug and it locks in. You can swing the tool around by the cord and they WILL NOT come apart. Bosch has something similar - at least on one of their circular saws - and they added an LED to the tool end of the power cord so you know if the cord is plugged in. THAT is something Festool overlooked, or didn't think was important enough to include in their power cord design.
charlie b
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All of the "woodworking" B&D power tools that I saw and the drill that I owned had a lock built in to the handle. 2 little tabs on opposite sides of the handle that turned about 30 degrees to lock or unlock. I will say that the fit was, ummm, imperfect and was a real PIA to get the lock to lock unless every thing was aligned perfectly.
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<snip>
I have one of their leaf vac/blowers from last year, and they use the same system. There's a swing-down holding latch, though it's not perfect.
Patriarch
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Leon wrote:

Nah. I still have one of those old B&D 3/8" drills around somewhere. Problem is that the tool end of the cord is proprietary. If it was made for a generic power cord it might have been more useful. But it has a very short cord, so you almost always need an extension anyway, If you could plug the extension right into the tool (and lock it there somehow) it would have been far better.
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Yes it was proprietary, but would interchange with other B&D tools with the same set up. I had the drill and IIRC the sander and could use the cord on either tool.
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So the farthest that the Domino can offset the center of the mortise from the face of the piece is only 20mm? That seems like a rather small range.
Suppose you have 1.5" material and want to use double tenons, as shown below.
<---1.5"-----> +------------+ | | | +-+ +-+ | | +-+ +-+ | | +-+ +-+ | | +-+ +-+ | | | +------------+
The Domino apparently would not be able to cut both mortises referenced off the same face, because one of them would be more than 20mm from that face. Is the Domino precise enough that you could cut one mortise referenced off one face and one off the other and still get it to fit?
Even worse, suppose you want a reveal between the two pieces you are joining? How could you possibly get both sets of double mortises to align when you can't do all the work off of one face?
Or suppose you're building a table with 2" square legs and a 1" thick apron that you want to center on the legs. Even with single tenons it would be impossible to place an 8mm tenon in the center of the apron piece (the ideal size and placement if you use the 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 rule). You would wind up with an undesirably thin mortise wall that would weaken the joint.
I could come up with other examples, but I think you get the idea.
Is it really this limited or am I misinterpreting what I've read?
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