The Festool DOMINO
A User's Perspective
Table of Content

(note: I'm going to be re-arranging things later so BOOKMARK this Table of Content page so "reload" / "refresh" the page when you get here next time)

Disclaimer: I have NO connection to Festool and I paid the "introductory price" for the DOMINO complete package used for this "article"., no kickbacks, no favors, no "compensation" from ANYBODY - zip, nada, nothing. My money - my opinion - hopefully, as you will see as you go through all this stuff on the DOMINO, an opinion based on FACTS. If you have questions, comments, suggestions or constructive criticism regarding any of the following information please e-mail me


The Mortise and Tenon joint is one of the oldest and strongest joints in woodworking. They allow you to dry fit as you go, and thus design as you go, based on what you've got so far - at full scale - with the actual wood. No tape measures, no tape reading or marking errors, just make parts to fit spaces you already have. THAT can be very liberating, especially for a relatively inexperienced woodworker. Start with a basic idea and evolve the piece as you create it, probably modifying things as you go. That also lets you "finish" parts as you go - which is usually a lot easier than finishing a fully assemple piece. It can also make cleaning up "glue squeeze out" quite a bit easier.

Cutting mortise and tenon joints by hand is time consuming and requires a fair amount of skill with layout tools, handsaws, bench chisels and maybe a shoulder plane. Now for the Neanders reading this, don't get me wrong - I have cut mortise and tenons by hand, and no doubt will again. There are times when you need a mortise and tenon joint that can't, or can't easily be done, with machines, with or without a jig or two. Working with hand tools, when things go well, produces a certain satisfaction that power tools and jigs can't provide. However, when faced with 32 mortises to cut, the hand tools satisfaction level drops off pretty quickly and the boring an tedious levels go up just as fast - for me - your experience may be totally different.

Even with a special router jig like the Leigh FMT, or the more expensive MultiRouter - and their templates and router bits, the true mortise and tenon joint is still a little tricky to make. "Loose Tenon" mortise and tenon joints, on the other hand, while maintaining the strength of the true mortise and tenon joint, are MUCH easier to make -with the right tools - and very difficult to make with hand tools.

Loose Tenon M &T joinery is also a low risk method of doing M&T joinery. Blow a loose tenon's lenght, width or thickness and you don't have to make a whole new part - or modify a bunch of parts - just make a new floating tenon - out of scrap. Blow the location of a mortise and it's easy to fix. Glue in a loose tenon, wait for the glue to set, saw it off flush and then cut the mortise in the right location. No need to make a replacement mortised part - ever.

I'm betting that had the Shakers been able to do loose tenon M&T joinery with the ease with which they can be made today - the WOULD HAVE. And I'd be willing to bet that Stickely would have used them too. Greene & Greene? Well maybe.

The Festools DOMINO - A Revoutionary New Type of Power Tool (and the most misunderstood)

You've heard the story of the three blind guys and the elephant - the guy holding the elephant's trunk is sure it's a BIG snake, the one holding an ear thinks it's some sort of weird bird and the guy at a front leg is certain it's a tree trunk he's feeling. Well the Festool DOMINO is sort of like that.

The guy at the back -"It's a barrel grip saber saw!"

The guy at the front - "It's got to be a biscuit joiner!"

The poor guy in the middle is just plain confused. There's a nob, a sliding click stopped "set of stairs", two levers and a button.

If any of them could see they'd notice the weird green things scattered over the tool.

What I hope to do with this "article" is to provide not only a description of the DOMINO, what's included in the Introductory Packages and their prices, but delve heavily into the details - with lots of scaled drawing - with dimensions, and get into how the DOMINO does what it does - and maybe why - from an actual user's persepective. I also hope to compare the DOMINO with other methods of cutting mortises for loose tenon joinery - specifically with the LEIGH FMT, the MultiRouter and perhaps the TREND M&T Jig. There are other methods - but it's the LEIGH and MultiRouter that the DOMINO competes with when it comes to buying a "big ticket" item for the shop.

Here's a hint about the comparison project - table legs - aprons - all joined with loose tenon M&T joints.

A Quick Tour of the DOMINO

The "packages" and prices - Sticker Shock?

A Quick Overview of The DOMINO "Presets"

Those Retractable Pins and Locating Mortises Using Them

That Stepped Thing - Positions the Fence Distance to Mortise Centerline? WRONG!

The Beauty of Presets - Two Examples

Step Backs / Reveals The Easy Way - Part One - When You Don't Want "Flush"

Step Backs / Reveals - Part Two - Simple Table with Set Back Apron Example

Those Outrigger Things

Tenon Sizes and Mortise Width Options

Mortise Offsets From A Reference Edge

Jigs - Getting Around Presets / Making Things Easier

Reproducability - Not Quite "UNDO", But Close (not available yet)

End Grain Mortising In Narrow Parts? (not available yet)

Getting Around Tenon Conflicts - Use Two Depth of Cut "presets" (not available yet)

Angled Mortises - the tricky stuff (not available yet)

In search of Underlying Principles (why the "presets" - added 5/17/2007)

Likes & Gripes (nothing is perfect)

One Page DOMINO Quick Reference Page

Visual Aids Anyone? ("templates" to help visualize where a mortise would be located -added 5/18/2007)

DOMINO Projects

Bonsai Display Table ( added 4/08/08 for Dale)
How about a SEVEN FOOT tall by five and a half foot wide gate? (added 6/17/07)
Refuse Container Surround (this one's CRAZY - "300 plus" mortises! added 6/17/07)
Four Raised Panel Doors Floor To Ceiling Linen Cabinet by a Newbie - 68 mortises & counting (8/08)

Interesting Techniques

Gary Nichols' Quick and Easy Louver Mortising (added 7/30/07)

Links to other reviews and stuff about the DOMINO

Why The DOMINO rather than the Leigh FMT / WoodRat/TREND M&T Jig or the Multi-Router

Comparison of what's required by each and how they work

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