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Domino vs dowel

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Forum topic by lightning33 posted 01-06-2019 04:47 PM 2691 views 0 times favorited 102 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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lightning33

11 posts in 111 days


01-06-2019 04:47 PM

Watching a bunch of YouTube videos regarding building a table, it seems the “gold standard” is the use of a Domino from Festool. What is the real difference between a domino vs a dowel of the same size? What about 2 x dowels right next to each other?

Just curious.


102 replies so far

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ArtMann

1336 posts in 1149 days


#1 posted 01-06-2019 05:05 PM

The idea that Domino joinery is stronger than dowel joinery is erroneous in my opinion. It depends on the situation. When Festool makes the comparison, they use one Domino and one dowel. Of course, that is just stupid. A person can use as many dowels on a joint as he can physically make holes for. I use the Dowelmax jig and it makes it easy to put an array of dowels to do the best job for the particular joint you are working on. I haven’t used a Domino cutter but it seems like a nice, if wildly overpriced, floating tenon cutter. I just don’t think it can make a stronger joint than a skilled user of a good dowel jig. If you go on the Dowelmax website, you can see comparisons of various joint methodology with calibrated destructive testing. I think the Domino is among the methods. Of course you have to consider the source but that is true of the Festool claims as well. “Strongest” is often a meaningless term anyway. In most cases, all the joinery techniques are gross overkill and you would need to do incredible violence to a project to tell any practical difference after it is complete.

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josephf

214 posts in 2429 days


#2 posted 01-06-2019 05:17 PM

i have the domino . i am sure that in most projects strength is not the issue . either method is plenty strong .the domino is a system .it is far faster to work with . i use it in joinery trimming houses .imagine the time involved if i put a couple of dowels at the miters of all the window casing in a house . it might be more accurate to compare biscuits to the domino tenon . biscuits have a little wiggle in the joint ,while domino register the joint tight . if your dowels work for you keep at it . they are more hands on ,far less expensive and work very well

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Fred Hargis

5459 posts in 2826 days


#3 posted 01-06-2019 05:34 PM

You’re comparing loose tenons to dowels. While I’d bet using the Domino for loose tenons would be easier, I’d also bet the difference in strength is strictly academic.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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lightning33

11 posts in 111 days


#4 posted 01-06-2019 05:40 PM

I’m a beginner, so excuse the ignorance, but isn’t a dowel simply a round floating tenon?

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AlaskaGuy

5197 posts in 2642 days


#5 posted 01-06-2019 07:04 PM

Doweling can be wildly over priced too;

https://www.timberwolftools.com/mafell-dd40p-duo-dowel-system

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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MrRon

5389 posts in 3576 days


#6 posted 01-06-2019 07:36 PM

Dowel joinery has been around for hundreds of years. It is up to the user as to how secure the joint is. Convenience (domino) is one thing, but good joints can be made using dowels. The domino just substitutes convenience for skill. Personally, I like the idea of perfecting a skill over depending on a machine to do it for me.

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MrRon

5389 posts in 3576 days


#7 posted 01-06-2019 07:43 PM



Doweling can be wildly over priced too;

https://www.timberwolftools.com/mafell-dd40p-duo-dowel-system

- AlaskaGuy


Definitely a non-contender.

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AlaskaGuy

5197 posts in 2642 days


#8 posted 01-06-2019 08:22 PM


Doweling can be wildly over priced too;

https://www.timberwolftools.com/mafell-dd40p-duo-dowel-system

- AlaskaGuy

Definitely a non-contender.

- MrRon


why?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1336 posts in 1149 days


#9 posted 01-07-2019 01:50 AM

Yes!


I m a beginner, so excuse the ignorance, but isn t a dowel simply a round floating tenon?

- lightning33


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Robert

3344 posts in 1813 days


#10 posted 01-07-2019 02:51 PM

Dowels were around long before the Domino. Perfectly suitable.

But, I will tell you the Domino was a game changer for me in my shop.

One big advantage to the Domino is if you make the opposite insertion slot one size wider than the domino, alignment is much easier.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2291 days


#11 posted 01-07-2019 04:18 PM

The Domino was a complete game changer after 18+ years of a variety of projects. Your work should be strong enough without a dowel or a domino. Neither is meant to make wood stronger.

For lining up, joining, and the flexibility of the domino… this is a great tool. Get the right size to your average workpiece. I have the 500 and it does a fine job, for large farm tables you would want to XL. If I get to that point, I will buy the larger one in addition to mine.

I was able to prep all the parts for my last project within about 30 minutes including marking, drilling, and testing and everything was perfect when I dry fit it.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View Notw's profile

Notw

708 posts in 2086 days


#12 posted 01-07-2019 04:39 PM

So just to add a wrench in the gears, how about domino to biscuit? I can see doing dowels somewhere a little bit of strength is required but if it for alignment of panels is there a benefit to the domino over biscuits? Seems like setup and use time would be about the same.

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BlueRidgeDog

479 posts in 112 days


#13 posted 01-07-2019 04:50 PM

I “think” the domino simply brings speed, accuracy and convenience to the game. We have been making great furniture for centuries without it, so it is not anything new (floating tenon is just that).

So if you want to make fast accurate floating tenons, they are hard to beat. I don’t have one, but if I did I would use it from time to time. There are a number of popular YouTube woodworkers that are doing projects with them, so folks think that is how it is done. The joint could just as easily have dowels or floating tenons or just a regular mortise and tenon.

I do have to say that prior to dropping over a grand on a hand tool for floating tenons, I would buy a much better hollow chisel mortiser for the shop.

View PPK's profile

PPK

1349 posts in 1142 days


#14 posted 01-07-2019 05:57 PM



Watching a bunch of YouTube videos regarding building a table, it seems the “gold standard” is the use of a Domino from Festool. What is the real difference between a domino vs a dowel of the same size? What about 2 x dowels right next to each other?

Just curious.

- lightning33

I’ve been wondering the same thing… I was actually tossing around the idea of getting the Triton dowel machine. https://bistritontools.com/tdj600-triton-doweling-jointer-710w.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiAjszhBRDgARIsAH8Kgvd0SQagPCsIOHFSa5r61EkUHXrDDwIV7VkVcyRrTqls5vxKJM9wuO0aAh0gEALw_wcB
I refuse to buy and over-priced Festool anything :-) (Not intended to be fighting words, just I am one of those guys that doesn’t see the value worth the price)

-- Pete

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Aj2

2138 posts in 2130 days


#15 posted 01-07-2019 06:23 PM

I like dominos better then dowels. The weird thing with dowels is they seem like they are too loose or too tight.
Dominos are pretty easy to make dowels. And dowels are not

-- Aj

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