Auxillary Workbench #2: Using the Festool Domino to bore all mortises to assemble the tressel bases...VIDEO

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Blog entry by mot posted 05-20-2007 08:56 AM 6490 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Stock Preparation Part 2 of Auxillary Workbench series Part 3: Using Dowelmax to join the bases with stretchers - VIDEO »

Yeehaw! I anticipated this step all day. I had originally planned to use Dowelmax to join these pieces because I was more comfy with the jig and this has to align perfect. I then though, phooey! I’ll use Domino and give it a good test drive.

The first picture shows the Festool Domino fitted with the Trim stop. This fitting allows you to “center or off-set the Domino joiner on narrow work pieces for perfect positioning.”

HA! If anyone can screw this up, I can! I defy a tool company to make a jig that I can’t find a way to ignore the instructions and eventually misuse….

Well, as you can see in the background, I had to get the instructions out. I couldn't figure out how to put the trimstop on the Domino. After about 4 seconds of looking at a picture, banging my head into the headstock on my lathe in self disgust, I fit the trimstop on and centred the unit to the test piece that I had measured and marked, and made a test cut.

After making the first cut, I just stuffed each piece into the the trimstop and cut the remaining 15 mortises. Clarity of thought might have led me to take my time and measure each one to ensure that I was going to end up with the right alignment in the end, but trust tthe tool, I always say. Sometimes, I end up being the "tool."

They look okay, but time will tell. There is another essential step or two to see if I can pull this off. As you can see, I decided to put two (2) dominos in each joint just to really test the limits of measurement error or success.

Now, when I went to measure and mark where I wanted the ajoining mortises on the tressel base and top, the indexing pins on the Domino were too close to the edge. I tossed on the outrigger attachment and found to my horror that I was in the "in between zone." Crap! Well, just move where you want the mortises. Right? That would be too easy. Lets find another way to index. I started thinking, "What would Dowelmax do?"

I didn't really think that, but the indexing rod for Dowelmax was sitting on the bench and I just happened to pick it up.

I lined up the Domino on the first cut, set the indexing rod, and proceeded to cut the remaining 15 matching mortises in the tressel base and tops. This is NOT going to fit. No way, no how. But, I press on!

Just when I must be looking like a genius to everyone reading this, my humility knows no boundries. So I have therefore included a video of me trying to use the darn indexing rod. I mean, this is really Keystone Cops stuff. In my defence, however, if I held the Domino with my right hand, and the indexing bar with my left...even with the opposite side cross-over maneuver, then this entire process goes REALLY easy...I may remember that for next time...may.

Well, they look pretty good to me. They still have to fit though. You see, back in the beginning, I forgot to mention how I had chosen to make this EVEN MORE difficult. I could have milled the tressel base and legs to exact dimensions. Then just set the fence on Domino (hereafter affectionately named, Lucille (BB King Joke).) Instead I wanted a reveal on every leg. I'm going to make this so there is not a popsicle's chance in the Bayou of working....this involved some test cuts and measuring on some took about 20 minutes to get things setup where I thought they were pretty good.

Well, so far so good, eh? (I'm Canadian)

I didn't get too excited, as anyone that has made a piece with slats or spindles knows, the big gal hasn't sung yet...I still have to lined up the ajoining piece of tressel top. I'm admittedly equally excited and nervous at this point.

I put glue on (more than the picture shows) and drove the pieces together with my handy dandy mallet and a piece of scrap wood. This little endeavour met with a knock on the shop door and a rather annoyed look from my sleeping...banging...all that...yada yada yada...I'm on a role...I'll fix the damage to the upper two floors in a second.

Well, nobody was as shocked as I. They both fit. I tossed a couple of K-bodies on them and left the shop for the night to tell my imaginary friends of my exploits of precision and design...or blind assed luck...depends on how well you know me!

The project forges forward!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

8 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5150 days

#1 posted 05-20-2007 09:05 AM

Very nice. I may have to buy one just in case….

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5214 days

#2 posted 05-20-2007 12:14 PM

lol I enjoyed “watching” this process.
A little perseverance, a lot of brainstorming, and a dash of “faith” and voila!!! :)

Congrats Tom.

(oh.. sorry.. I should have been whispering. The kids are trying to sleep)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 5259 days

#3 posted 05-20-2007 12:50 PM

Hi Tom;
—-yes, I liked this demo using the Domino!

Great sense of humor you have also….which you play into your stories and video’s.

Improvise….improvise and then create a new way to get the project done, this is the way of all great worker’s of wood. No mistakes as these are only the previous step before my next step of success.

Keep the blogs and video’s rolling….
Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 5214 days

#4 posted 05-20-2007 04:55 PM

Wonderful work Mot! A nice example of how to use the Domino to its fullest capacity. Keep this up and Festool will be asking you to make demo videos for them!

Good ingenuity and perseverance. Keep those videos coming.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 5130 days

#5 posted 05-22-2007 05:34 AM

Compaired to part three (Dowelmax) this Domino is much louder that your drill. Never the less this is a great demo Tom. That helps me (us) out a good deal.

Question, do you like the Dowelmax better?

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5089 days

#6 posted 05-22-2007 05:42 AM

Question, do you like the Dowelmax better?

Nope. Dowelmax is like the Little Engine That Could. It is a terrific tool, but I like the positive piston fit of a non-expansile tenon. The Dowelmax uses expansile 3/8” dowels and there is an iddy biddy looseness of them as they are meant to swell with glue.

The Dowelmax also makes a bigger mess as whenever you pull a spinning bit out of a hole, you get stuff flying all over the place.

Now, I answered, “Nope,” to the question that was asked. If I was asked, “Which one do you like better?” I’d say, “I like them both the same.” I can’t decide which I will use more. I think that if I’m in a hurry, I won’t hesitate to grab the Domino. When it came to making the stretchers for this, the anti-rotation pin seemed like a better idea, and frankly, to index from end to face in the middle of that leg?? I didn’t even want to fiddle with the Domino, as I think it would have been too tight of a position to squeeze the tool into. A 5mm domino serves the same anti rotation concept though and prior to gluing up the legs, Lucille would have worked great. I was too focused on seeing if the leg glueup would even work. If I planned better, I might have grabbed her for that job. Instead, Pedro (Little Mule) was up for the task. (I need sleep…just primed a bathroom with oil based primer and I think my mask wasn’t working….)

Heck, I dunno. I like them both so much, have no buyers remorse with either, and enjoy using them both. They’re just different. I guess the best thing I can use as an analogy is asking which one of your kids you like the best. Depends on the day. :)

Now, for those that may wonder if I’ve ever had buyers remorse with tools? Yes. I bought an Arrow electric brad nailer about 7 years ago that I wished would go away but everytime I open my eyes it’s still there. Total junk!

Anyway…LOL…I’m rambling.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View TomFran's profile


2964 posts in 5047 days

#7 posted 06-20-2007 09:30 PM

If you didn’t have it in your budget to buy a Domino, which tool would you buy first if your choice was:

  • Dowelmax
  • biscuit joiner
  • pocket hole jig (Kreg)

Maybe someday Walmart will sell the Domino, and then I’ll be able to afford one of those.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5089 days

#8 posted 06-20-2007 09:49 PM

In terms of versatility, I’d go with the Dowelmax. In terms of speed, the Kreg jig. The Kreg jig really excels at edge to face and end to edge joinery. It works really well, produces a strong joint and it needs no glue. However, no matter how well your jig works, your outcome is dictated by how well you clamped the pieces together. Pocket screws tend to drag the workpiece in the direction of the screw travel so you can get 1/16” alignment problems is your piece isn’t clamped solidly before you drive the screw.

The Dowelmax needs glue, is slower than the kreg jig, but is probably best suited for joinery that you can glue and clamp. It’s also limited by how well you line it up, but you have to really go out of your way to screw that up. It can, however, be done. If you rush, you can mess it up.

I think, if you have a good corded drill, you can’t go wrong with either tool. I would have to lean towards the Kreg jig if I was going to buy just one of them though.


-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

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