HOMEMADE Festool Domino XL DF 500 style mortising machine

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Project by Don Johnson posted 06-05-2014 01:31 PM 70092 views 31 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my version of Stumpy Nub’s latest creation, which is showcased on YouTube at

Built from Stump’s excellent plans – available at – using an old Bosch POF52 router I found on Gumtree (like CraigsList) for ¬£10.00, and the same slides as used by Stumpy (which I found are made in the UK), I only had to make a couple of minor changes. These were mainly due to the difficulty of obtaining T-Nut components in the UK without purchasing a complete jig-making set. I also used a glued-in Nylock nut on the swivel retainer so that I can still easily disassemble the unit. I used the same technique for the depth stop, which can be adjusted by hand using the large knob, as I found that vibration tended to unscrew the wing nut originally fitted. I’ll probably add the chip extraction vacuum connection when I can get my old shop vac to create enough ‘suck’.

I’ve tried a couple of test joints using a 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch router bits, and they seem to be fine, even though I’m using straight cutters rather than expensive spiral upcut routers. All I need now is a project requiring some mortise and tenon joints, and I’ll be able to give the tool a proper test.

When I was looking at spiral upcut routers, the shop assistant (sorry – they call them ‘colleagues’ now) asked what they were for. He was rather taken aback when I mentioned the Festool Domino tool, but that I was making one out of wood!

-- Don, Somerset UK,

29 comments so far

View WhattheChuck's profile


474 posts in 5051 days

#1 posted 06-05-2014 01:34 PM

You know, they probably mocked up something like this at Festool pre-production!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View a1Jim's profile


118333 posts in 5067 days

#2 posted 06-05-2014 02:58 PM

Nice work Don that crazy Jim (AKA stumpy) has a very creative mind.


View Julian's profile


1695 posts in 4180 days

#3 posted 06-05-2014 03:14 PM

Great jig. I would guess most woodworking hobbyist would not spend hundreds of dollars on a Festool machine. This is a great alternative. Festool makes some great tools if you have the $.

-- Julian

View DW833's profile


251 posts in 3373 days

#4 posted 06-05-2014 06:25 PM


It looks great. I bought the same plans, but haven’t had a chance to built it yet.
Do you have any pictures of the mortises made with it?

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

751 posts in 4271 days

#5 posted 06-05-2014 07:02 PM

DW833 – Do you mean like picture 3 above ?

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1392 posts in 3203 days

#6 posted 06-05-2014 07:27 PM

Saw Stympy Nubs video on this machine and thought of building it as well. My only hessitation is that having the router both move on drawer slides and rotating on a single pin would give a little more flex than optimal and therefore making the mortices too wide and not prezice enough.
What are your thoughts and experience regarding this?


-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View Oldtool's profile


3537 posts in 3681 days

#7 posted 06-05-2014 08:06 PM

Nice one, great looking tool. Now it’s time to enjoy it & make something.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

751 posts in 4271 days

#8 posted 06-05-2014 08:26 PM

kaerlighedsbamsen – The slides are very rigid, and I do not find any apparent play there.

With regard to the single pivot, I too wondered about this aspect, thinking that the countersunk-headed machine screw acting as the pivot might eventually wear away the associated hole in the plywood of the sliding tray.

Instead of a countersunk-headed screw, I have a large-headed machine screw which has a hex hole for an Allen key in its rounded top. With a washer underneath the head, I can adjust the pivoting action by tightening the screw into the Nylock nut until it is ‘just so’. I applied some Renaissance wax to the adjacent surfaces of the sliding tray and the pivoting router holder to reduce friction there, so I can get everything quite ‘tight’ but still swivel OK.

If wear does happen, then I will enlarge the hole in the sliding tray and insert a metal bush having an internal diameter to suit the screw. Should THIS not prove to be good enough, then I would use a small ball-bearing of suitable dimensions to replace the bush (but probably need an even larger-headed screw).

I have to say that during the tests, I have not had any problems in regard to these aspects, any variation in the shape of the mortices has been due to the weight of the tool making it difficult to hold it in position – probably because the Bosch router is rather heavy. This was considerably eased when I cannibalised its router base, taking the large knob to use as the hand grip.

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View Fettler's profile


206 posts in 3487 days

#9 posted 06-05-2014 09:19 PM

Very nice. I’m surprised harbor freight hasn’t made an imitation domino style joiner yet.

-- --Rob, Seattle, WA

View srzsrz's profile


37 posts in 3357 days

#10 posted 06-05-2014 10:45 PM

Fettler, the problem is that Festool has a patent on the Domino. You can find it on Google Patent Search: “Fr√§smaschine mit einem Pendelgetriebe”, EP 2527111 B1, complete with a questionable English translation including such lovely sentences as “The famous milling machine is compact.”. (

Festool isn’t going to go after the occasional hobbyist for making a homebrew jig that kinda looks like their patent. Fortunately, with patents, unlike with trademarks, there is no requirement that they zealously enforce their IP or else lose the protection. But if you mass-produce a product with the same mechanism without doing a license deal, you’re sure to get sued.

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4637 days

#11 posted 06-05-2014 11:54 PM

Looks like your edition of Stumpy’s domino came out great! I’m sure you’ll get lots of good use out of it!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View NiteWalker's profile


2743 posts in 4067 days

#12 posted 06-06-2014 12:43 AM

Great job with the build. I bought the 500 mainly because of the sale, but also because I use it to make money and being more efficient with paid projects leaves me more time for hobbyist projects. :-)

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1137 posts in 3802 days

#13 posted 06-06-2014 08:40 AM

Glad to hear it works for you. I’ve been thinking of one of these (homemade) for a while. Did you get the slides from B&Q? They also sell the T-nuts that are needed. Are the domino biscuits easy to find? Very nice outcome.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3898 days

#14 posted 06-06-2014 10:22 AM

Nice job on this and an additional tool for the shop.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View hunter71's profile


3564 posts in 4677 days

#15 posted 06-06-2014 10:45 AM

I love homemade jigs and such

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

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