If you work with sheet goods the Festool T55 plunge saw, with edge
guide, seems like a great idea - albeit an expensive one. Lay the
zero clearance edge ON THE LINE (rather than some offset FROM your
line), set the depth of cut and cut a straight line, on the line - even
you've got the blade over at 45 degrees. For $430 for the saw and
guide that's what you get.
But if you want to use the parts you cut - well there's something
missing - making the line you're about to cut SQUARE to either the
factory edge or the one you'd just cut. For ply cabinets you want
RECTANGLES - with square corners. So here's deal breaker #1
- no square attachment for the fence. You want square - you
need to buy their special table - another $400+.
Now I could make some sort of thing to square the guide edge to
a reference edge. But if I'm going to pay $430 I want THEM to
provide that little necessity. Oh, and if you want to cut a 4x8
sheet into two 24" x 96" pieces you need a guide extension -
for another $60 or $70 dollars.
The second deal breaker is that you have to use THEIR saw blades
- at 2 to 3 times what an equivalent "normal" blade would cost.
Sort if the multi-blade razors. The initial cost is maybe $12.
But replacement blades are $3 or$4 a pop.
Since the saw and guide system idea didn't fly - got the Domino
and the accessories along with the other bits AND a boatload of
"dominos" (they don't like it when you call them biscuits). Two
Systainers are thrown in for "free".
The Festool Domino is a chunk of change. However, when you
compare it to the Leigh FMT PLUS a router and you're in
the same price range. The Domino doesn't take up as much
room when not in use and has the ease of use of a biscuit
joiner with much stronger results.
Have four more bonsai tables to make this week. The Domini
should make cutting the 32 mortises per table, 124 total
go a bit faster than using either the mortising machine
which doesn't do end grain well - or the TREND mortise
and tenon jig. Will report back about how that goes.
I have been mulling over buying the Domino vs a Trend M&T jig for a
while. I have several routers so the Trend is an obvious choice from
a financial point of view but when I think of multiple slip tenons -
for a set of chairs as an example - the Festool looks like it will win
out in a race against time. From your last paragraph it sounds like
you are using the Trend so please let me know how you'd compare the
I have read other reviews of the Trend on this newsgroup and the
comments are mixed so I need some more opinions before I make a
Thanks in advance,
As you'll notice, the TREND MT Jig has a problem with tolerances
- if you're going to do both the mortise and the tenon with it.
the guide diameter and the router bit diameter, if they accumulate
your can get a very loose or very tight fit. For loose tenon work
that's not a problem.
The killer with the TREND is what you have to go through to switch
from cutting mortises in side grain (leg for example) and end
grain (table apron for example). Clamps can get in the way so
you have to take one or more off, then put it/them back on. That
often involves tilting out the pivoting support piece and removing
(and not losing) allen head screws - in a tight space.
Then there's the left/right stops. They slide between the jigs
table top and two guide plates. If the guide plates are set so
there's no mortise thickness slop then the stops are hard to
move in small controlled increments.
Any of the M&T jigs involve a fair amount of set ups and
changing set ups.
Let's take a simple example - a set of table legs and apron
parts. Legs are 1 1/2" square and the aprons are 3/4"
stock. You want the INSIDE face of the aprons flush with
the INSIDE faces of the legs.
| A |
| B | D
| C |
If you use leg faces A&B as reference faces for laying
out the mortise and inside faces C&D on the apron part
you may see the set up problem. When you cut the
mortise AD the leg mortise is cut with the leg horizontal,
face B against the back support of the jig, top end to the
right. But when you go to cut the mortise for BC, face A
is against the back support of the jig and the top end
is to the right. That means you have to reset the left/right
stops. That's two set ups to do the legs - AND you better
keep track of the parts orientation or you're screwed.
The process is repeated for the apron mortises so there's
two more set ups and you still better keep track of parts
Now if any part that requires horizontal positioning
is wider than about 2 1/2 inches, you have to REMOVE
the pivoting vertical "fence" - a two minute operation
but a) time consuming & a hassle, b) you now have some
allen head screws to keep track of. Lose one and you
make a call to TREND - or scavange one off the unit -
to be put back later.
With the Domino you've got built in left & right reference
pins that are spring loaded so they retract if not needed.
They position the center of the mortise 45 mm (about
1 3/4") from a reference edge or end. There's a pair
of adjustable, retractable, stop pins attachments that
mount on either side of the DOMINO's base that go from
100 mm to 205 mm (about 4" to 8"), with 1 mm lines
to set them pretty close to exactly where you want
them (within 0.04" or a tad over 1/32")
Ah hell - text only is just too limiting. I'll be putting
together some web pages on the DOMINO over the
next week or so - have more Bonsai tables to make
(if you think tools proliferate get into Bonsai). You
really need pictures and diagrams and illustrations
to show all the options this tool provides. These
guys built a boat load of features into what looks
like a biscuit joiner - on steroids and built in presets
for up/down, left/right, in/out etc. They've thought
of things you didn't realize are handy - and even
got the on/off switch right - push foreward to ON
push DOWN on the back of the switch and it pops
to OFF (wish they'd done that on their saber/sabre
saw - I hate to have to take one of my hands of
the tool while it's running in order to turn the damn
This is a whole new way of making mortise and tenon
joints - at least furniture scale mortise and tenon joints.
The Stickley / Greene & Greene / A&C folks (with some
bucks to spend) are gonna love the DOMINO
I'll post the url to my take on the tool here when it's
Here's my take on the TREND M&T JIg
I built four Bonsai tables with loose tenons using the TREND.
Sixteen M&T joints - 32 mortises per table, in two sizes. The
DOMINO would've done the job in a quarter of the time - or less.
If you're not in a big hurry and decide on the TRENT M&T JIg,
I can make you a good deal on my used one. Won't be needing
Thank you very much for your description - and I read every word. I
think I made my decision and now all I need is to set aside some money
for that Domino. I think the introductory price is in effect until
the end of May (According to one local - Maryland - dealer) I was
discussing its expense with another woodworking buddy and I told him
if I build 6 chairs by Thnaksgiving it will prorate out to $160 per
chair but if I decide to make 8 chairs I'll doit it for 125 a seat.
He said to build 10 chairs and give him 2 and said I'd better buy it
so he could borrow it. I think I'll finish my cherry bed first and
then look into buying the Domino once the bed is in place.
Thanks again for your comments; they were very helpful.
I could never see the appeal of this thing. Making a cutting guide (no
offsetting needed) takes about ten minutes and will work with the circular
saw you have. Want a more elaborate system that captures the saw? They are
available from a few sources for far less than $400.00.
Even if they supplied you with a square attachment, that wouldn't
guarantee that the factory edge would be square, or straight. I NEVER
use the factory edge for anything. The odd time a sheet of MDF has an
edge which I trust/use. I don't know if anybody here will, but I never
use the factory edge.
So, when you're checking, put down that line, and cut along a line you
That's a savings to those who don't want or need a long edge. That is
why it is called an option.
The plus side to an extension, is that you can set up your next cut at
the same time as the first when you don't need to make an 8' cut.
(Besides, you can never cut a 4 x 8 foot sheet into two 24" wide x
96" long strips....but I knew what you meant. <G>)
I would WANT their blades.
Price: $48.50 (Festool Fine tooth saw blade 160 x 2.2 x 20 - ATF 55 -
ATB - 48 Teeth for an absolutely superb blade which a supplier of mine
uses to cut 12' sheet goods to required length. He's been using the
same blade for 2 years and uses it every day.
So less than 50 bucks isn't bad for a superb blade like that. I think
they are a very good value.
I buy all kinds of blades and things for specific tools, my table saw
blades don't fit my circular saws or my jig saws..LOL
Are these prices any good?
Festool seems to require the same sales price for all their
resellers. The prices at the link you provided are the Intro prices
everybody is selling them for ('til the end of the month?). The
whole system comes to $920 - before tax, license, dealer prep,
special floor mats , . . .. The $80.50 for the state sales tax
is a PITA but hey - it's California - and Northern California at
that. Mail / on-line order would've been cheaper even with
shipping, assuming it's less than $80.50 and no sales tax
-but then I'dhave to wait and listen for the UPS/FedEx truck.
That's fun in a way - but I want to PLAY NOW!
The T55 kit is only going to go up about $10 so I may go that
route in the future - or - fine tune the set up on the sliding
table of my Robland X-31.
These shows sure put a hole in the bank account - twice
I am toying with either getting a combination machine with a sliding table
or a T55 kit.
I have to upgrade somehow but have little room to do it. The T55 will
certainly take less room.
(It is also much cheaper, but that isn't my prime consideration)
It sounds like you think it is a better option also?
A sliding table with a 52" cross cut fence takes up a LOT of space and
ain't fun climbing under it to get to the ON switch. The idea of a
leg table with pull out ply sheet supports you can saw through without
having the table cut in two was appealing enough to plonk out $320. Will
be nice to not have to worry about the cut off falling - on my foot.
a kitchen worth of ply cabinets to make in the next few months. Baltic
birch ply comes in 5x5 sheets so it won't be quite as cumbersome as
ps - the TRENT M&T Jig is gone. Gave it to a person with
the woodworking / furniture making addiction/ passion
and not a whole lot of money. Hope it makes things a
little easier for her. The lady's dad was a carpenter
and cabinet maker and she grew up in his shop. He
must've made it fun because most kids avoid their
dad's profession like the plague and she really enjoys
designing and making things.
You can sell or trade the tools you upgraded fun -
and get back some of the money. But if you pass
it on to someone who could use it but didn't have
the money to by it - pricelss.
Why would you spend $400+ on their MFT table instead of $71.50 on
their Combination Angle Unit? Do you get a thrill out of spending 6
times as much money to get the same result? Or you could just use the
saw and guide rail to square one edge of a piece of plywood, then use
a metal carpenters square, that you have checked for accuracy by
flipping it over and drawing the lines on top of each other. A metal
carpenters square will make make an accurate 90 degree line very
quickly and easily. I use one to establish a 90 degree line to a cut
edge when needed. Its not difficult.
For $71.50 they do provide that optional accessory. Kind of like
routers come with a basic, almost worthless black sub-base and then
you buy or make other more useful ones. Or like combination squares
come with a square head and then you can buy the centering head and
the angle head to attach to the ruler. Optional accessories are very
common with woodworking tools.
Oh, and if you want to cut a 4x8
Festool sells many lengths of guide rails. Long 3 meter ones down to
800mm ones. A length to suit any purpose. Personally, if you are
going to make long cuts, get a long guide rail so you know it is 100%
accurate. Joining two shorter length guide rails is convenient for
carrying the guide rails and cost, but its not as accurate if you want
a 100% straight true line. You may not be familiar with this, but
Delta sells its Unisaws with 30" or 50" fence rails. Buyer has the
option of which length to purchase. Festool gives you the option of
different guid rails.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)9416011%2C552292&sort=salesrank&emi=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=gp-center-4&pf_rd_rMBCRMCEGFDCJVGE501&pf_rd_t1&pf_rd_p(3723401&pf_rd_iU2262
Using 7.25" circular saw blades as a comparison product. $20.20 for a
40 tooth Freud. $123.95 for a 60 tooth Forrest. $22.80 for 48 tooth
Milwaukee. $19.50 for 40 tooth Porter Cable. Festool charges $40 for
40 tooth, $53.50 for 48 tooth, $30.50 for 12 tooth, $36 for 14 tooth.
And the Festool saw comes with the 48 tooth, $53.50 balde as standard
equimpment. Unlike every other saw sold with cheap blades where you
have to immediately buy a quality blade. Festool does not cheat you
in that regard.
You made a poor economic choice. You fell for the package deal. For
$200, you get the size 2 case and biscuits and all 4 cutters. But the
Domino itself comes with the 5mm cutter. The 5mm cutter sells for $27
individually. Why did you buy an extra 5mm cutter by buying the
package? Do you really think you will wear out the 5mm cutter that
quickly that you need two brand new ones before you even turn the
machine on? Is this like the sawblades above where you think you will
wear out the high quality 48 tooth Festool sawblade that comes with
the saw and you think you have to buy several extra blades to have
sitting around for years and years? Or do you just like to spend
money? Nothing wrong with that as long as you admit that is what you
enjoy doing. The free size 2 case cost you about $40 when you factor
in the cost of the biscuits and cutters in the package. You paid full
retail price for the plastic size 2 case by buying the $200 package.
Biscuits are priced at $65 for the various sizes. Different amounts
depending on size purchased. You can easily figure up the per biscuit
cost. Wiser choice is to bypass the expensive plastic size 2 case and
use margarine containers or plastic tool boxes to hold the biscuits.
And then just buy the biscuit size and cutters you will actually
need. What does the 6mm size do for you that the 5mm or 8mm cannot
do? Why buy the 6mm cutter and biscuits? Think about the size of the
biscuits and what size wood they will work in. What thickness of
wood would 6mm work in that 5mm or 8mm would not also work? Think.
Of course many people love to buy whole sets of things. Like every
size chisel in 1/16" from 1/16" up to 2". Mounted in a display case
it looks pretty. Not useful, but pretty. Some people are like that.
This thread brings to mind sporting equipment such as skies and tennis
raquets. You can buy ever more expensive tools (Read Festool ) but
there is a limit on how much improvement you will see in your work
product over a high quality but less expensive tools(Read, Porter
Cable, Milwaukee,Hitachi et al).
Even if I buy the most expensive raquet in the world, chances are I'm
not going to beat Pete Sampras, nor will I be able to beat Tiger with
the most costly clubs.
No doubt that is true, but it is an inappropriate comparison. You probably
couldn't even use Sampras' raquet or Woods' clubs. They are designed to be
used by experts with perfect form; a non-expert will find them very
unforgiving. After not skiing for a while I couldn't make a turn without
falling on my expert skis; had to go back to my softies to get my form back.
Professional woodworking tools are easier to use, more precise, do things
automatically that are difficult to do otherwise, and more durable. They
won't make an expert woodworker out of you, but they will sure help.
I might not have explained my point well enough. I tried to say that a
high quality tool, but not necessarily the most costly is preferable
to the highest cost tool (where the intangible differences are
measured in small increments.)
For a pro who earns his living at ww or that rare woodworker who has
no budget limits, the very top of the line may be worth it.
An aside: There is also the affliction of tool lust. It may take the
most costly to satisfy that itch.
Expensive tools don't necessarily represent the best value for most users;
that is certainly true, and is probably your point. But sometimes they are,
and they are often good value, if not the best.
I am eying both the T55 and the Domino; just haven't worked up the nerve to
actually buy them.
I just bought a very expensive elliptical trainer though, and damn it is
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