Strongly Considering Domino Purchase


Jonathan McCully
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So, as the title says, I’m really considering purchasing a 500 but have some questions for those of you that use one.  Do you use all of the different cutters or generally stick with one size? Is is worth it to purchase the $330 sustainer with multiple dominos sizes and all of the cutter sizes?  Do you make your own dominos or just purchase them? If you make them, how do you go about doing that for reproducible results?  Has anyone used the new connectors for knock down hardware?  As someone who moves around quite a bit, the possibility of easy knock down furniture is intriguing.  Appreciate your responses.

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Do it. It's worth it.

Buy the systainer kit to start with. It gives you a range of options. You can work out which  dominos you'd use the most.  I've made floating tenons where I want a bigger size than what the domino would allow for. You can double up on the domino but making them was simple enough. For the standard sizes, though, I just buy them. There are some arguments for making floating tenons out of the same timber you work with but I've found the beech tenons strong enough so far.

From memory, these were about 50-60mm wide. Used for table legs.

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Mine came wth a 5 mm bit. I bought a 8 mm bit a year or 2 later . It took 8 years to get the 4 mm, 6mm and 10 mm bits. I bought them as I needed them. Same with the dominos.  I made my own tenon stock in 3 different widths w planer & router table and cut them to length as needed.  The accesssories rarely get used in my shop. Aftermarket Domiplate by Seneca is the only accessory that gets used frequently. You must use a vac to run the machine but I used an adapter & a Fein vac that I already had for many years.  A Festool CT26  vac has improved my results with my ETS 150/3 random orbit sander but the Domino results didn't change. 

I've had my Domino about 10 years and it gets used daily . Broke it once, my fault and Festool sent parts quickly.  I've got 3 Lamello biscuit machines that rarely get used since I got the Domino. 

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Great tool!  As for what you want for bits and dominos, that depends on what you build in your shop.  I shoot 8x40s more than anything else.  I didn't buy the systainer kit and have not regretted it.  I have added a couple different cutters and minimal dominos for those one off jobs that I needed them for.

As for the dominos themselves, I just order them and be done.  I'd rather spend my time building furniture rather than making dominos.  Maybe you view your time differently and that's ok..  It's your shop!

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Yes get it. Don't have to keep yourself in the domino box either you can use it as a replacement for any other way you'd cut motises and then make integral tenons to fit.

I make my own often enough but that's because i size stock to fit the mortises  it cuts for A&C slats as can be seen in some of my journals. So cutting up the off cuts and excess parts to domino size is a no brainier. If you have a drum sander turning your scraps into tenon material is a good way to keep your scrap pile low. I don't see the point in rounding the corners i jut make a wider mortise and have a small rectangular tenon in a rounded mortise. The rounded areas don't offer any strength which is why the domino system has 3 different width settings to allow for slop movement.

I bought the $330 systainer and cutter thing and in hindsight it's meh. The only reason i use 4mm is because i have them and i want to use them for something. 6mm and 8mm are mot go to sizes lately 8mm. 10mm is less commonly used and i used 5mm in making cabinets again because i had them and they were cheaper compared

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I can't think of a project I haven't used the domino on since I got it a few years ago. I bought the set with all the different sizes because I'd rather have it and not need it and its nice having a systainer for all the dominos, I use 6 and 8mm the most but have used 4 and 10 too. I also bought the set with trim stop and cross stop but if I did it over again I would skip the set, trim stop is handy for narrow parts but I haven't found a good use for the cross stop. Never made my own dominos except a few times when I needed extra wide ones, if I can avoid a tedious task like that I will. I have the connectors and really like them, I am finding many uses for those too but the cost of them is something to consider at about $2 each.

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I have the 500 and have used it on one project so far.  Standard M&T or router made floating tenons just happened to lend themselves to other projects.  My current project will again use the Domino in 1/2" stock.  I have whatever cutter came with it and two others . . . I think they are 4, 5 and 8mm with the smaller and larger ones being CMT bits.  All seem to work well. Made a ton of dominoe stock for all three sizes out of scrap.

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I have the 500 and love using it on pretty much every project. I have the set with the 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 cutters and dominos. I've used all the sizes, but mostly the 6 and 8, since most of the pieces I've worked with are 7/8" or 1". The 4mm came in handy for some 1/2" slats, though.

I recently made my own dominos because I wanted very wide ones I could put a dowel through for attaching a breadboard end. Other than that, though, I buy the beech dominos. I have not tried the new connectors. 

The domino has become a standard step in my workflow. 

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Yes, do it, worth it fully.

I think all the bits are not needed. 5, 8& 10 have done me perfectly 

With that said, I don't think a crap ton of Domino's you may not need in the box is a waste.

I buy Domino's. Not worth my time to make since I don't need non normal size ones really at all. I build with the joinery in mind.

 

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16 hours ago, Chestnut said:

Yes get it. Don't have to keep yourself in the domino box either you can use it as a replacement for any other way you'd cut motises and then make integral tenons to fit.

I make my own often enough but that's because i size stock to fit the mortises  it cuts for A&C slats as can be seen in some of my journals. So cutting up the off cuts and excess parts to domino size is a no brainier. If you have a drum sander turning your scraps into tenon material is a good way to keep your scrap pile low. I don't see the point in rounding the corners i jut make a wider mortise and have a small rectangular tenon in a rounded mortise. The rounded areas don't offer any strength which is why the domino system has 3 different width settings to allow for slop movement.

I bought the $330 systainer and cutter thing and in hindsight it's meh. The only reason i use 4mm is because i have them and i want to use them for something. 6mm and 8mm are mot go to sizes lately 8mm. 10mm is less commonly used and i used 5mm in making cabinets again because i had them and they were cheaper compared

Now that I think about it, your absolutely right. The rounded ends of a tenon won't add any strength anyway making the sizing of tenons easier. Why didn't I think of that.

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7 minutes ago, Leaseman said:

Now that I think about it, your absolutely right. The rounded ends of a tenon won't add any strength anyway making the sizing of tenons easier. Why didn't I think of that.

I mean no offense to any one but common convention tends to make people not think about things. Everyone sees all the videos and pictures of tenons that perfect fit in mortises either rounded or squared and assume they have to do the same.

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I bought the kit, and probably could have lived without it, but I’m glad I did. While I use a few sizes most of the time, I have used all of the sizes. I’ve also made my own when I wanted a wider size (not thicker), but that tends to be ‘one off’ situations so I don’t worry about repeatability. Get the Domino, it is cheap for what it does. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, I'm reviving this thread because I found I have another question.  After doing some reading, it seems that quite a few woodworkers recommend purchasing the 700 and then buying an adaptor from Seneca in order to use the 500 bits in the 700.  Are any of you familiar with this and if so, does it work out well and would you recommend doing it this way?  I don't have specific projects in mind for this tool, but don't want to confine my ability to make both large and small projects with it.  

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3 hours ago, Jonathan McCully said:

Thanks Chestnut, I appreciate you weighing in and I value your opinion.  I was hoping that this would be the case.  I don't really want to buy a 700 plus an extra adaptor, but also didn't want to regret purchasing a 500 down the road.

I bought the 700 first, because I had several large projects to build.  I also bought the Seneca adapter.  They are both a great set.  My only problem with the 700 is that I now have the 500 as well, and I am getting old.  Well the old part added with arthritis makes the 500 much easier for me to use.  But the 700 with the Seneca plate and adapter for the smaller bits would work very well for a person that just wanted one domino, with the added benefit of being able to build any  large project that comes around. 

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1 hour ago, Jonathan McCully said:

Yeah, agree with all of you. Bought my 500 last night and am super eager to put it to use 

Congrats bud, you’ll love it. It takes a little practice getting use to. You’re probably better at metric than me but, if you find a depth (up and down, not deep) setting that you like and think you might reuse it, make notes. Did you buy the vac to go with it? 

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See, i think the 700 is a much better tool. There are a dozen features on the 700 that are improvements upon years of feedback and learning from the DF500. Pins on the front of the 700 are superior to the 500 paddles. The mortise depth gauge is much easier to adjust with more stops. You can also set two distinct stops when your joinery demands a deeper mortise in one piece and not the other. The handle on the 700 is much more ergonomic, in my opinion. Yes, it weighs more, but it engages larger muscle groups in your arm when you can grip a proper handle. The 500 would exhaust my forearm after a lengthy session. I can plunge mortises with the 700 for 30 mins and not get fatigued. Another thing with the 500 grip is if you are right handed you constantly ram your hand into the dust port for every plunge. Im sorry, but the majority of the world is right-handed, so this is particularly dumb. Finally, what are you doing with 4 and 5 mm dominoes? I find the majority of chairs and small to medium tables are covered by the 8-10mm tenons. Both tools do that size well, but when it comes to beds and dining tables then the 500 is inadequate. With the plunge depth of the 700, id say it does 8-10mm better too, but 12-14mm dominoes arent that out of the ordinary. If you are using 8/4, then you really should be using 12-14mm dominoes and not 8-10. Anyways, you made your decision already so all of that is fallingon deaf ears. I had the 500 for a year or more, and couldnt wait to buy a 700.

 

By the way, CMt makes bits that are about half off festool prices. I also think you can order the boxes through amazon.de and get the festool sytainers half off the american prices. Food for thought.

 

https://www.holbren.com/festool-domino-bits/

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