Looking for advice: Festool Domino, router, drill press or ??? for making M&T type joints.

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Forum topic by Micah Muzny posted 07-30-2014 05:26 PM 4135 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Micah Muzny

185 posts in 2618 days

07-30-2014 05:26 PM

I was looking at maybe getting the festool Domino 700 with the seneca adapter so I can use all sizes of bits. The total would be around $1940 for the domino machine, adapter, the bits and domino systainers. This seems like a high priced deal, I could buy a mortising machine and nice tenon jig and a Leigh D4RPRO dovetail jig I want also and have some money left over. I suppose I could even use my router and drill press to make mortises also. Anyone have any advice on a “fast”, simple method that will have good results with a easy learning curve?

18 replies so far

View CharlesA's profile


3446 posts in 2683 days

#1 posted 07-30-2014 05:32 PM

You’re right. There are lots of methods.

Mortising machine, Dado blade to make tenons, chisels, block plane. That works pretty well. lot less than $2000.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6508 posts in 3378 days

#2 posted 07-30-2014 05:33 PM

A Mortise Pal and a router does a nice job for loose tenons. Even an FMT would be cheaper than that, and they are quite good as well, though that’s an integral tenon system.

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

View JAAune's profile


1888 posts in 3202 days

#3 posted 07-30-2014 07:44 PM

The best method depends upon the type of work you do. For smaller scale work where the setup is always changing, the Domino is faster than anything else I’ve used. It’s also good for large scale work where bringing the wood to the machine is impossible.

If you aren’t selling your work, speed isn’t as big an advantage. The Domino is also limited to specific sizes which may or may not be a disadvantage.

-- See my work at

View Loren's profile


10719 posts in 4533 days

#4 posted 07-30-2014 08:11 PM


Domino cannot do Craftsman through tenons, for
just one example.

Have you considered just learning to cut them
the old fashioned way? Is speed so important?

I dowel everyday stuff now. It’s reasonably easy to
get it right. I build chairs and I use real old-fashioned
mortise and tenon in some of those joints. Honestly
I wouldn’t want to use Dominos in most fine chair
joints anyway.

Then there’s the humble biscuit joiner. I don’t use
mine much but for angled joints it makes things
easy and for many applications biscuits are strong

View waho6o9's profile


8947 posts in 3462 days

#5 posted 07-30-2014 09:15 PM

1460.00 There abouts

285.00 for the Dominos

100.00 or so for the Seneca plate.

I’d get the Domino 500 for around 1850.00 and you’re good to go.
The 700 is icing on the cake.

Good luck on your decision.

View CharlesA's profile


3446 posts in 2683 days

#6 posted 07-30-2014 09:37 PM

If I had a domino I’d probably use it at every opportunity and love every minute of it. But as someone who has relied on CL for tools, I’ve spent less than $1800 on my 113 craftsman table saw with shop fox classic fence, bosch router set and router table, ridgid planer, ridgid 12” miter saw, craftsman 12” bandsaw (rikon), and my multiple corded and cordless drills and drivers.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16945 posts in 3503 days

#7 posted 07-30-2014 09:41 PM

Make your own mallet ($0) and buy a set of three high-end mortising chisels ($200), spend the rest on materials to build that M&T masterpiece.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

490 posts in 2566 days

#8 posted 07-30-2014 09:43 PM

It’s hard to beat the domino for it’s blend of speed and strength. The question that only you can answer is how important is that to you? If I was trying to make a living in a small shop selling my work I would probably own a domino as it would make a lot of sense. Making furniture for family and friends I can think of a lot of other things I would rather spend that much money on as speed isn’t my primary concern. But for you the equation might be very different.

There is nothing the domino can do that a few chisels and saws can’t except the domino is able to do it faster and with less of a learning curve.

View RockyTopScott's profile


1186 posts in 4364 days

#9 posted 07-30-2014 09:45 PM

Domino. End of story.

-- “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 Sundowner's profile


42 posts in 2820 days

#10 posted 07-30-2014 09:48 PM

I have a domino, a benchtop mortiser, and several mortising jigs that I use with a router and a spiral bit.
the mortiser gets 95% of the action in my shop becuause it’s that much easier to use via the repeatability of the fence, and I like seeing my layout marks when I punch the holes. The Domino gets used for anything that’s too big or awkward to easily handle in the mortiser and for all table top glue-ups

View Ocelot's profile


2621 posts in 3523 days

#11 posted 07-30-2014 09:54 PM

We all have different visions of tools we want. My vision is smaller. I’ve been drooling over a set of 6 Narex mortising chisels from leevalley for about $90.

If you’re going to blow the big money anyway, you could go ahead and order a set of chisels. If you don’t like them, you can give them to me!


-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View ChuckC's profile


844 posts in 3820 days

#12 posted 07-30-2014 10:06 PM

If you want to be a craftsman and learn woodworking get some chisels. If you want to be a technician get a Domino.

View Loren's profile


10719 posts in 4533 days

#13 posted 07-30-2014 10:20 PM

+1 ChuckC

View mbs's profile


1685 posts in 3825 days

#14 posted 07-31-2014 04:25 AM

You could probably get a used JDS multi-router for that price which has much more versatility than a domino. The multi router is a 4 axis woodworking mill. But the domino is faster that the multi-router because the setup takes about 5 minutes or so depending on the complexity of the job.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Domer's profile


252 posts in 4251 days

#15 posted 07-31-2014 03:38 PM

I have the Festool Domino and it does a great job. It is easy to use, quick, and repeatable. Another strength of the Domino is that you take the machine to the wood so using it on large pieces is pretty easy. Also, used with a good shop vac, it is virtually dustless. So you can actually join the wood in the house. I have built several fairly large pieces with it and have had no problems with strength.

The drawback to the Domino is that it is a fairly expensive piece of equipment up front.

I did see an article on the Domino that suggested that Domino users should not let beginners know about it because it is so easy to use and would take away some of the mystique of woodworking.

Doing mortise and tenons by hand takes time and patience plus a decent learning curve. None of which is my strong suit.

There is a jig called the Router Wizzard that helps you use a router for the mortises and can also be uses as loose tenons. The biggest drawback that I see, is that you have to take the wood to the jig and if you are using fairly large pieces or want to put mortises in the end of a piece, it is more difficult.

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