Yesterday, while visiting Coastal Tool, I got to paw over a Festool
Domino for quite a while.
NICE tool! It has a very high quality feel, smooth action, nice
ergonomics. The tenons seem to be of high quality, too. The Domino is
expensive, but I can really see 'em getting as popular as biscuit
joiners. While I know the Multi-Router can do more, I wonder how many
of them get used mostly for mortising, and how the Domino might compare
to the MR.
Hmmmmmm... Time to research. <G>
I have been looking at the Domino also, on-line, so you suck.
One thing that I have noticed, unless I am mistaken, is that the Domino
cannot make compound mortises. I am not sure that you can cut mortises on
narrow stock that has been cut off at an angle.
Did you find anything contrary to those thoughts???
Yeah that is what I have heard and what some of the finished projects have
suggested however none of the demo videos show this.
There is an attachment for holding narrow pieces and if it can be adjusted
to an angle I believe compound mortises would be possible. So far that
attachment appears to only hold narrow pieces perpendicular to the tool
First impression, just on the basis of the math. The Multirouter is about
4x the price of the admittedly not cheap Domino. And not portable, either
out of the shop, or to the work.
Probably a place for both, in the very-well-stocked woodshop. Not mine,
this year, though.
I use the MR almost exclusively for mortising. My guess, talking with other
MR owners, is that "loose tenon joinery" is high on the list of "most used
for" applications on the MR.
Although I have not "pawed" it yet, after reading the literature and seeing
what it can do, If I did not have a MR, I would not hesitate to give
_serious_ consideration to the Domino for what I do with the MR.
That said, I would NOT trade my MR for one, so forget it. :)
I stopped by the Woodsmith Store and used the Domino Saturday
afternoon. Unfortunately the Festool expert on staff was not around
so three other employees assisted me. I wanted to try the other size
cutters besides the 5mm to see how they worked but they could not be
found. So I just cut with the 5mm.
Joined boards like a biscuit cutter, as if edge joining for a panel.
Made 90 degree joints. Machine is nice and the cuts are very quick.
1 second or so per cut with the 5mm cutter. I could not get the edge
joints to line up perfectly 100% flush. Maybe user error. But two of
the employees also tried and the edges were not 100% flush. The 5mm
tenons allow a little bit of up and down slop. They are tight in
their mortises, but there is still a bit of up and down movement
allowed. So I could force the edges to align perfectly, but it was
not automatic. I plan to go back another day and give it another try
to see if I can get the edge joints to be perfectly aligned.
I used the setting that cut the mortises the exact width of the
tenons. I used pencil marks across the boards to line up the
mortises. Easy to cut the mortise exactly where you wanted it. No
problems having the mortises line up exactly on the two boards when
putting them together. So you don't have to use the wide settings to
be sure the mortises line up when edge jointing.
While making the 90 degree butt joints the Domino slipped out of place
a bit and the mortises were not lined up too perfectly. I'll
attribute that to user error and the fact I was not using the shoe
thing they include. And at home I would have mounted the boards in a
vise standing up istead of flat on a table and putting the Domino down
into the board.
Using the built in pins to move the Domino to the next spot is not
perfect. You just don't slide it along and the pin pops in
automatically. You have to look and move it to be sure. Minor issue.
Someone asked about compound miters with the Domino. Sure. If you
have something on the piece to push the fence against, it will work.
It need not be flat surface. A reviewer at Wood magazine was telling
me that he used the Domino to build a Mission rocking chair with it.
One of the rails on the rocker was curved so he pushed the Domino
against two edges and slid it along to cut the mortises. The whole
fence was not against the wood. Just the edges inside an arc. I
think he was cutting mortises for slats, not the official tenons.
The Domino seems to be a handheld slot mortiser. Similar to the ones
that attach to the European jointer/planer combination machines. The
Domino can only cut 28mm deep into a surface. So the longest loose
tenon is only going to be a bit over 1 inch long. Slot mortisers or
the Multi Router are able to make much deeper mortises. This would be
useful on certain size furniture pieces. But for most furniture, a 1
inch long tenon is long enough. By moving the Domino along the
surface, you can cut mortises as long as you want. And by adjusting
the fence height, you can cut mortises as wide/tall as you want.
Without much effort you can cut a mortise of about any width and
length, but its limited to 28mm deep.
For edge gluing boards into a panel, I don't think so. There was
enough up and down slop to move the boards up and down a tiny amount.
Fractions of a millimeter. But still enough to make the boards to be
flush or not flush when running the fingers across them. Maybe I was
shaking a bit and the cutter moved up and down a bit to create a 5.1mm
slot instead of a 5mm slot. Thus the slight movement. But I doubt
it. Or it could have been the edges were not really 90 degrees so
when I pushed the Domino fence against them, there was a slight angle
to each cut. I just used whatever scrap baltic birch plywood they had
on the MFT 1080 table. At home I would of course try to have 90
degree edges to join.
I think this slight(very slight) slop would be one place a dedicated
slot mortiser of the Multi Router would have an advantage. You are
forced to make your own loose tenons so you would plane them down to
an exact piston fit. Whereas the Domino premade loose tenons are not
a piston fit. They can get stuck in the mortises and be hard to pull
out, but its still not as tight as you could get a loose tenon you
plane down yourself. Whether this makes any difference in building
furniture, I don't know. And it may be you really don't want a piston
fit that does not allow any room for glue.
I have the DeWalt biscuit joiner. But based on one of the videos the
Festool Domino site has, I expected the edge gluing of boards into a
panel to produce an exact, perfectly flush fit. In one of the
"independent" reviewer videos the person is amazed at how perfectly
aligned the edges are. I did not achieve this. At least not in a dry
fit. By pushing the boards up or down, with the slop, I could get the
edges to be perfectly aliigned. I'm not sure how this would work when
clamping the boards though. Cauls and wax paper required? I was
expecting the Domino to eliminate the need/luxury/reason for a biscuit
I'll head back to the store sometime in the next month or two and give
the Domino another test.
I guess one could make tenons for the Domino, as well. I didn't mean to
directly compare the Domino and MR, only to suggest there's a LOT of
stuff the Domino can do for 1/3 of the outlay.
I plan on doing the same. At the time, I was in the store for something
else, so I didn't have time to take advantage of the demo setup Coastal
has in place.
I'm not even in the market for a mortising system, the Domino simply
caught my eye. <G>
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.