Festool domino joiners

Louie

Louie
User
So I’ve been tasked with building 4 twin beds and 2 farms house tables, I have been wondering if I should invest in a festool 700 domino joiner.

Would you buy one if you could?


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Bonanza

New User
David
If you live next to me, I think you should so I can borrow it! :)

Watched a video on it and it looks nice.
 

drw

Donn
Corporate Member
I have the festool 500 domino and I use it all the time. I have used it to build a couple of sets of bunk beds and two large dinning room tables. On rare occasions, the larger 700 would have been handy; but for the vast majority of my projects the 500 works very well.
 

Bill Clemmons

Bill
Corporate Member
Over the years I've built a lot of furniture without a domino, so I would have to vote no. I still use traditional mortise & tenon joinery. In fact, I was cutting mortises in the legs for a coffee table today. I do use a power mortising machine, so I guess I'm not totally old school.
 

Martin Roper

Martin
User
I recently took the plunge and bought a DF 500. OMG, this thing is stupid easy. It's as easy as a biscuit joiner but makes much stronger joints.

If I was doing this as a business I'd own the DF 700 too.
 

decibel

Patrick
Corporate Member
I would go for it if you can and want to. I fortunate enough to have both dominos and only used the 700 on a couple of projects bit wife wanted to buy me something.
 

Louie

Louie
User
Ok maybe I need to ask a simple question can the 700 work with all wood sizes. Or is it limited to bigger woods, I mean I would like to be able to use it on all.

Somehow him getting this feeling that I would have to buy both the 500 and 700

Am I wrong


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decibel

Patrick
Corporate Member
You can get the 700 to work on thinner stock using some accessories and even use the 500's cutters with an adaptor. So you could look it at as the 700 can do pretty much what the 500 does if you add the right accessories. With all that said most of my work falls in the realm of 500 and if I had to pick one I'm usually reaching for my 500. Partly because it's more familiar to me and more so because it's lighter.

You can always go with stacked rows of dominos to give more surface area with the 500 but you can't plunge as deep as the 700. Not sure there's really a wrong answer in this case.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I use a Domino 700 with a Seneca adapter and CMT bits. I also mostly use home made tenons. The CMT bits are about half the Festool price and work fine. You need the Seneca adapter to use the 6mm and smaller bits intended for the 500 on the 700. I've used it to make large slot mortises, up to 3 inches or so long - actually in one case significantly longer. I just plunge repeatedly to make the longer (I think more normal) mortises. I've made a crib with my 700, a queen sized bed, and a bunk bed. I also used it to make joints including drawer corners in a dresser. The drawer joints were fine but I will do carcase joints other ways in the future. The project is fine but it didn't locate the dividers as well as my normal shallow dados.

I also made mortise and tenon joints for years without a domino. A plunge router works well and can make mortises in both pieces so you can use the same sort of inserted tenons. I have a hollow chisel mortiser and it works. But the bit is difficult to get back out on the first cut and the mortises don't look as nice as a router or domino make. But they work fine. My point is just that you can do mortise and tenons very successfully other ways. But the domino is the fastest and easiest way to do them.

The project you mentioned that most indicates a domino is the table. It isn't super easy to make tenons on the ends of apron pieces. Best way I've found is with a dado cutter on my RAS then trimming with a shoulder plane. That works fine but takes MUCH more time than plunging a domino into the end grain of the apron. A router can also be plunged into the end grain but if the table is big, it isn't easy to get the piece vertical and cutting on an angle with a router isn't super fun - but very possible and I do it sometimes.

The biggest bit a 500 can use is a 8mm - about a third of an inch. The deepest it can plunge is about an inch. The 700 can use a 14mm cutter and plunge 2 3/4 inches. It's more money but I'm glad I got the XL.
 

ncfromnc

neil
User
I don’t see any difference in the various biscuit joiners and saw a Ryobi on CL for $50 used. Almost bought it but didn’t...
A domino is nothing like a bisquit joiner other than outward appearance. The Domino cuts a true mortise and uses floating tenons. MUch much stronger than a biquit joiner.
I'm a one man funiture shop for a living. I couldn't compete cutting mortises and tenons by hand. This will do it in a fraction of the time. NO loss of strength.
 

cyclopentadiene

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User
Another advantage of the Domino is the ability to make joinery at unique angles. I have done angled Mortise and Tennon joints and it is extremely tough. I would build the piece using pine to get the setup, then build the actual piece.
using a Domino, ican do this right the first time
an example was the Wharton Esherick music stand that I built a few years ago. Every joint used a Domino and nothing on the piece was 90 degrees
 

Martin Roper

Martin
User
The biggest bit a 500 can use is a 8mm - about a third of an inch. The deepest it can plunge is about an inch. The 700 can use a 14mm cutter and plunge 2 3/4 inches. It's more money but I'm glad I got the XL.
My DF 500 can handle 10mm which is 13/32nds.

I'd love to have a DF 700, but couldn't really justify it because I can't envision making enough large things to justify its cost. I bet it would kick butt at dining tables and bed frames.
 

tarheelz

Dave
Corporate Member
$1000 for a 500? Unless I could convince my wife that it has SawStop technlogy built in, I doubt I can get spousal approval.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
They are definitely expensive. But they are also pretty safe. I managed to cut my self bad enough for stitches with a biscuit joiner years ago. I tried recutting a very small piece and the second or third time I did it, the bit caught the workpiece and threw it and my little finger hit the blade. If you did something equally stupid with a domino you could get hurt. But with reasonable care in use, your hands should not be near the bit.
 

cyclopentadiene

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User
Perhaps I am just lucky but the majority of injuries in the shop have been with hand tools. I respect my power tools and go the extra step to keep my hands safe.

However, using hand tools I typically get sloppy and so not clamp or rush. This has led to almost every shop injury that I have experienced.
The domino takes both hands and I always clamp the piece. If the piece is narrow, I clamp a piece of the same thickness on each side so the width is the same as the plate. If the piece is less than 8” long, i do not feel comfortable clamping it and assume a dowel should provide adequate strength
 

mkepke

Mark
Senior User
A domino is nothing like a bisquit joiner other than outward appearance. The Domino cuts a true mortise and uses floating tenons. MUch much stronger than a biquit joiner.
<snip>
A properly made biscuit joint is pretty strong..studies have estimated about 80% of the strength of a M&T. That's close enough that to me as a hobby woodworker as there is no appreciable difference in strength (I can't think of a project where only a +25% increase in strength is a deciding factor in the joint).

That said, there are some applications where M&T are better for other reasons, and that includes narrow stock, thin-stock and high-risk applications. With narrow stock, there's no getting around the wide slot cut by the biscuit joiners blade. Thin stock - the swelling of the biscuit may telegraph to the finished surface. High risk applications like chairs suffer a lot of abuse to their joints and if/when the joints fail a M&T will start to pull apart. A biscuit, having much less depth, will go from 'starting to fail' to 'totally failed' much more quickly.

But doors, bedframes, cabinets,.. - all fine applications for biscuits.

All that said, it would be cool to have a Domino. By all indications, it's a quality piece of machinery that produces a high quality joint.

-Mark

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Matt Furjanic

Matt
Senior User
I have a domino and used it mostly to make chairs. The joints are so tight, one can sit on an unglued assembled chair. It’s like most other power tools - a time saver. You can make joints just as good and strong without the domino, but you just cant do it as fast.
 

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