Festool Domino Machine

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Forum topic by cathyb posted 10-20-2013 09:31 PM 3238 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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843 posts in 4208 days

10-20-2013 09:31 PM

Today Woodcraft had their annual wood show. There were plenty of demonstrations and lots to buy.
I finally broke down and shelled out the big bucks for the Domino Machine. I have a mortising machine, even so you do spend quite a bit of time with mortise and tenon joinery. I am willing to give this tool and chance to save me time.

Does anyone have one already? What advice do you have for me?
As always, I appreciate your wisdom and vast knowledge of all things to do with woodworking…

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

23 replies so far

View oldnovice's profile


7699 posts in 4332 days

#1 posted 10-20-2013 10:23 PM

Can’t advise you on the Domino, wish I had one, but as far as the dedicated mortiser goes I sold mine about a year ago because, well … it was too dedicated, under utilized, and just taking up space in my small shop!

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4272 days

#2 posted 10-20-2013 10:53 PM

The Domino is a quality and versatile tool and I hope it gets a lot of use in your shop. I saw a demo of it several years ago at a show and was impressed but decided against buying it at the time. Since Festool never has any buy it now specials I didn’t have the incentive to buy it that day.

We all have machines that we cannot live without and some of them seem to gather dust after a few uses. It all depends on what type of projects we do on a frequent basis. I bought a Powermatic mortiser and didn’t get a whole lot of use out of it. I bought a MortisePal and it had seen a lot more use than the Powermatic ever did.
I also bought a Porter Cable biscuit joiner and never use it.

View JayG46's profile


139 posts in 2822 days

#3 posted 10-20-2013 11:02 PM

Cathy, I bought a used Domino a few months ago and have been really happy with it. I have the smaller one and have used it for a ton of projects from table top glue ups to stool leg joinery to frame and panel work.

It is really easy to use as long as you keep your reference faces straight and mind the settings of the tool. Judging by the quality of the stuff you post here, that shouldn’t be an issue. Swapping the bits out is super easy as are any set up changes.

There will still be occasions when you will want to use traditional mortises and tenons of course, but this will make quick work of small jobs and allow you do to do things that are not possible or practical otherwise. For instance, angled frames like the side panels in this piece go from extremely difficult to very simple.

A few things that I can pass on:

- The machine is so quick and easy that you need to slow yourself down a little bit to make sure you have the tool in the right place. I have made some dumb mistakes because I was whipping through the process and had the workpiece in the wrong position.

- Try to clamp the workpiece down and your joints will fit a lot tighter. If you try to hold it down manually, the piece can jump around and blow out the mortise a bit. It takes a little more time but it is worth it.

- Learn the settings and how they correspond to the dominos. There are also tighter and looser side-to-side fits for them and times when each is appropriate.

This is obviously an expensive machine but I think you will find that it can pay for itself in fairly short order if you are using it on a regular basis. Best of luck and keep up the great work.

-- Jay Gargiulo, Naples, FL "Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things."- Miyamoto Musashi

View a1Jim's profile


118153 posts in 4541 days

#4 posted 10-20-2013 11:02 PM

Sorry I’m another person who does not own one,but I know Charles Neil uses one he might have some tips for you.


View Roger's profile


21047 posts in 3768 days

#5 posted 10-20-2013 11:07 PM

With your fantastic projects, I don’t think you needed that expensive tool. But, I’m sure you will turn out some more super, super, projects. Carry on cathyb, carry on. Work/Play safe. Keep makin dust.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View cathyb's profile


843 posts in 4208 days

#6 posted 10-20-2013 11:16 PM

Well guys thanks for the tips. I do own a General Tools mortiser and I was thrilled to have it. There are times that it just doesn’t work out. On my last project the mortises for the stiles were in a six foot long rail. My mortising machine sits near my lathe and beside my drill press. I had to move the drill press and climb onto the lathe just to pull down the handle. At the time, I thought it was a pretty ridiculous thing to do. The domino machine would have made that process so easy! I wish they didn’t charge so much for the tool, but I do think it will be a good addition to my shop.
Have a great day….....

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View AandCstyle's profile


3290 posts in 3221 days

#7 posted 10-20-2013 11:19 PM

Cathy, my buddy loves his Domino. Perhaps you can find more user suggestions on the Festool Owners Group. HTH

-- Art

View RockyTopScott's profile


1186 posts in 4443 days

#8 posted 10-20-2013 11:20 PM

I have one Cathy and love it.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View waho6o9's profile


8963 posts in 3541 days

#9 posted 10-21-2013 12:06 AM

Congrats on purchasing a domino CathyB. They are fine machines
and make quick work of the job at hand.

If you lift up the domino from the end close to the plug and slowly
make your mortise you’ll find a cleaner cut made. At least it helped
me and I learned that on the Festool forum.

Art has good advice in learning from the FOG as well.

I find using a Domiplate especially helpful.

View cathyb's profile


843 posts in 4208 days

#10 posted 10-21-2013 01:07 AM

Thanks guys. I cut up some wood for legs and an apron, ran it through the sander and got all my parts ready to go. Tonight I will hit those sites that you mentioned. Tomorrow will be my first domino experience. I am pretty excited about this….....
Have a great evening….....

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View cathyb's profile


843 posts in 4208 days

#11 posted 10-21-2013 03:13 AM

Okay couldn’t wait until tomorrow. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is an awesome tool. I’ve got the mortises in my apron pieces, which took about five minutes. Four and half minutes to figure out how to make the settings and 30 seconds to cut 8 mortises. My life will never be the same, in a good way :)

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View waho6o9's profile


8963 posts in 3541 days

#12 posted 10-21-2013 03:15 AM



View JAAune's profile


1910 posts in 3281 days

#13 posted 10-21-2013 04:06 AM

I use one frequently. One thing that you should know is that the joints it makes are not as strong as a real mortise and tenon. This has something to do with the stamped tenon stock they sell. Apparently they do not swell up when exposed to water so there’s not nearly as much wood to wood contact as there is on a properly fitted mortise and tenon joint.

I use the joint in places where I don’t need a lot of resistance to forces that want to pull the joints apart. If extra strength is needed, it is possible to use the Domino to cut the mortises then make some smooth hardwood tenons to fit them. These give more surface contact inside the joint.

As long as you understand the limitations it’s a great tool.

-- See my work at

View cathyb's profile


843 posts in 4208 days

#14 posted 10-21-2013 04:21 AM

JAAune, I totally get the point. In my usual overkill, I generally reinforce my joints. It is clear from the ease of using this tool that my productivity will certainly increase. It is in many ways a knock off of the biscuit jointer and I didn’t think that tool was a stand alone solution, but still quite helpful.
Thank you so much for your suggestion of making my own tenons, makes sense to me. After I use up all the tenons I purchased from Festool, I will only make my own tenons.

Have a great evening….....

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View jasonR's profile


19 posts in 3591 days

#15 posted 10-21-2013 04:55 AM

I really like my Festool Domino because of ease, quickness, etc. Check the blog . The author, Paul Marcel, gives the best overview, hints, accessories of the domino I’ve seen anywhere by far. You can learn a lot on his site.

-- Jason

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