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Welcome to the forums Joe.

I have no experience with the Dowel Max but the information on their site would lead me to believe that it would work fine.  The main purpose of the dowel or domino in a project like this is alinement.  Another possibility to accomplish this would be to use a spline. 

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Thanks Kurt, would love to go to the"green side", but need to save up $$, and I thought the dowelmax would be a cheaper alternative.

Totally. That’s why I got it. I’m sure the Domino is incredible, but I can’t justify it as a hobbyist. Functionally speaking, not much separates the Domino from the Dowelmax. Domino would be faster, and would make it a smidge easier to do loose/wide settings for cheater breadboard ends. It allows more angles, whereas Dowelmax mostly just gives you 90 and 45, though there are ways to do other angles sometimes, depending on the joint and your creativity.

It’s every bit as accurate, though, and the final joint would be similarly strong between the two systems. And, yeah, the cost savings are pretty significant.



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2 hours ago, Pantherjoe said:

Thanks Chet, have you any information you can lead me to about the spline option?

Actually the more I think about it, it was a dumb idea for working with a slab.  You would have to cut your slots on the table saw and that isn't going to work.

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I have a shop made jig for holding my router at 45, which would allow you to cut spline slots perpendicular to the miter cut face. You should use a spline with grain oriented the same direction as the slab so it will expand the same.

You can also make a very simple dowel drilling guide, if you don't want to invest in the dowelmax.

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The dowelmax kit is in line with the triton dowel tool. I would imagine that provides good results even if not the best tool out there. Never used either though so maybe somebody else can give a review. I do love me some power tools though (Tim Taylor grunt)

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14 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

I have a shop made jig for holding my router at 45, which would allow you to cut spline slots perpendicular to the miter cut face. You should use a spline with grain oriented the same direction as the slab so it will expand the same.

Any chance you've got a picture of your jig? I've considered doing something similar.

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I thought I had a photo, but all I found was this pic of the prototype, in use to make an odd-angle chamfer on a table edge. I have disassembled the prototype, with plans for version 0.2 to mount the router in an inverted lift mechanism, and on trunnions to keep the arc center at the work surface. Version 0.1 was just a hinged base, which required a loooong bit to do much of an angle.20180310_154422_HDR.thumb.jpg.2dad96ce1578cb94ead0673dae914b13.jpg

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I guess if it were me i'd buy a router with the $300 and do loose M&T. Or if you have a router grab a good edge guide and save the $300 toward the domino if you get sick of doing it with a router. Or spend the $300 on some nice wood.

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I've got one of the early dowelmax type jigs. It looks like they have improved it quite a bit. With careful use and sharp bits those jigs can deliver good results. Patience and practice helps a lot. Yields stronger joints than a biscuit machine for sure.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm glad to see comments on the Dowel Max. When the Festool domino came out, my first thought was that the Dowel max was a poor man's Festool. I have no experience with the Dowel Max so I am glad to read that it is a good alternative. They even sell a router bit to make your own tenons.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/20/2018 at 12:01 PM, Just Bob said:

I used the Dowel Max for years.  It is a great tool, no where near as fast as the domino though.   Just gave mine to my son, because I bought the domino a few years back and haven't used it since.

Just to be clear, you've fallen in love with the domino and haven't used the Dowel Max since then?

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