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Thread: Good excuse to buy a Domino?????

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Seattle
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    266

    Good excuse to buy a Domino?????

    Making a desk for grad school daughter--she likes mid-century modern--I have only done M&T and dado joinery and this design has angled joints in major support areas that would be difficult to make "perfectly". The pic (FWW Design Book Three 1983, desk by JB Sagui) shows the angled legs and the cantilevered drawer boxes. Won't have drawers on top and size is different--pic is 72x18x30--hers will be 50x24x30--. Need suggestions on joinery style and if Domino would be better than conventional joinery? Which model is appropriate?-- I do slab tables etc. and the larger tenons could come in handy occasionally but would be for usual 3/4 stock. I have been exceptionally good this year so an early visit from Santa isn't out of the question. Thanks,
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  2. #2
    I bought a Rotex after everyone said they were amazing. I think it's OK.
    I bought a Festool Vac after everyone said they were amazing. It's ok.
    I got a Domino a few weeks ago, and....well, you can pry it from my cold dead hands.

    Summary of all the reading I did on the 500 vs 700 (XL): The big one can do everything the small one can do with some inexpensive adapters. Some people think it's more ergonomic; others find it to be harder to handle. Bigger dominos may be useful, but you can always double-up on the smaller ones, so it's not a "must have". Ultimately, I went with the smaller one because it was substantially cheaper.

    One last hint: if you buy the systainer full of dominos (and the cutters), buy it from amazon.de. The price is ~half the US price, and you can still get 2-day shipping.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Camas, Wa
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    3,209
    I'm not seeing how a Domino would make the legs any easier. There is no way with the Domino to get at some of the angles unless you make some kind of jig. It would be easier for me on a table saw with the blade tilted. Pocket screws would be pretty easy also. But to answer your real question, Yes you should get a Domino if you want one.

  4. #4
    That is a good summary, with one exception.

    You can double up with the 500 but you cannot go as deep as the 700 can.

    I am not quite sure how slab tables would benefit from large dominos.

    You won't go wrong with either. It does make some angled joinery situations easy. Deep offsets require some thought though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Northern Illinois
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    Always great to have a good reason to buy a new tool; especially when it's the Domino. The Domino is the most versatile, useful, easy to use tool I've bought for . . . well, maybe ever. It opens up many possibilities for creative joinery which would otherwise be much more difficult to accomplish.

    Hard to tell what the angles are in the desk, but I doubt there is any reason the Domino couldn't do all the required joinery.

    There is no reason to buy the 700XL unless you are going to do very large projects. While it is true the 700XL seems to be a slightly better designed machine, it is cumbersome for smaller projects. The 500 and 700XL are similar in design but made for joinery in projects of a much different scale. I have always disagreed that buying the 700 with the adapter set for smaller bits is a good idea, but I know many have done just that and seem satisfied. Just a matter of opinion and differences between people and what works for them. For small and medium sized projects (maybe even some much larger), the DF500 is all that is needed. A 10X50 Domino makes a very strong joint.

    Almost any project that can be made using mortise and tenon joints ends up being much easier to do with the Domino.

    While there are great and mediocre Festools, the Domino is one of those tools that changes the way you look at woodworking and opens up your mind to make and design items you might not otherwise consider.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Newark, Ohio
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    335
    Go to a dealer. Put your hands on both the 500 and 700. See if they let you try it, they should. I went with the 500 and have no regrets. I also made a desk and night table for my daughter and the dominoes were fine for that application. Check out you tube videos such as Half inch shy, on the domino those are some of the best I have seen. Donít pay for shipping, several distributors offer it free. You wonít find many on the used market unless you are lucky, but I preferred peace of mind and a warranty for the expense involved. They donít go on sale very often, but it is one of the best tools I own.
    Good Luck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    NE Connecticut
    Posts
    382
    I doubt you will regret buying a Domino. Almost any joint where you would use M&T, dowels, biscuits, or pocket screws will be made faster and easier with a Domino, and usually stronger as well (M&T excepted, probably). I bought the 700XL with the adapters from Seneca that enable me to use the 500 series cutters and dominos. This has worked just fine for me, although I must point out that I have never used a 500. There have definitely been several instances where I needed the bigger dominos and was glad to have the 700, but YMMV.

    I will second Kevin's suggestion that you watch some Half Inch Shy videos where he reviews both Dominos in great detail as well as some adapters for the 700.


  8. #8
    One needs no excuse to buy a Domino. It is revolutionary and work saver. I liked the 500 as it is lighter and smaller to work with. I have found the 500 to do everything I need.
    Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning, the devil says, "oh crap she's up!"


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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut
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    5,360
    John

    That's a very interesting design. Those legs have an interesting taper to them as well as being angled.
    Domino, or not, I'd like to see it when you're done.
    The Domino may need to have a jig made to control it for some of those joints, which I think may be easier on a table saw for me, but that doesn't mean they'd be easier for you.
    I don't own a Domino myself, but I can easily see their appeal. I don't think I've read a post where a person regretted buying one. I say get one and see where it fits into your wood working.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    I hear you...I'm hoping to do the same within a few months, myself, as I can see the value for work I do and work I have coming up. At the present time, I believe it will be the 700XL which I will later get the Seneca adapters if I feel the need for working below the 8mm Domino size.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    266
    Thanks for all the help!!
    Joining the verticals to the bottom of the desk top frame is my main concern. The tapered "leg" carries the load but the side panels would be in tension pulling down on the joint. Front to back dim. is 21" with 3/4"(width of vertical and thickness of the frame--domino penetration) stock so ?? is there enough glued surface area with dominoes to hold drawers loaded with books, paper, etc. The drawer box bottom will be solid stock and the two other dividers will be frame style slides. No mechanical slides. The trapezoid should be plenty stout but if the desk is lifted on one end and moved--dragged--perpendicular to the "leg" would this design resist?? I'm using cherry so it will be heavy.

    Cary and Mike--The drawer dividers/quides would need to be stop dadoed so the angled joints spiked my interest in a more simple--predictable--method than tilting a dado stack on the TS.

    Prashun--I made a waterfall slab console table(1 waterfall joint) and 9' x 5' L shaped desk(2 waterfalls and a 45 36" long) and ended up using steel angle iron and plate to secure joints. Worked great--lots of work and challenging to index.

    Anyone have experience getting a Systainer down a chimney??

    Thanks again,
    John--Bioscience trained--engineer wannabe

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    166
    As much as I wish I had a Domino, I don't but I do have a Lamello biscuit tool. I would have no hesitation using biscuits to hold a desk like that together, never fearing a joint fail. The small loose tenons will do the same for you.

    When the Domino first came out in Australia a guy on another forum made a Zig Zag chair with the machine and it worked well. So if a chair will hold up so with a desk.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Pleasant Grove, UT
    Posts
    1,402
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Womer View Post
    Go to a dealer. Put your hands on both the 500 and 700. See if they let you try it, they should. I went with the 500 and have no regrets.....Donít pay for shipping, several distributors offer it free. You wonít find many on the used market unless you are lucky, but I preferred peace of mind and a warranty for the expense involved. They donít go on sale very often, but it is one of the best tools I own.
    Good Luck
    If you do go to a dealer and put your hands on it, then buy it from that dealer, unless their service is lousy. The price of the tool itself will be the same no matter what dealer you buy it from.
    It came to pass...
    "Curiosity is the ultimate power tool." - Roy Underhill
    The road IS the destination.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Northern Illinois
    Posts
    169
    Quote Originally Posted by John C Bush View Post
    Thanks for all the help!!
    Joining the verticals to the bottom of the desk top frame is my main concern. The tapered "leg" carries the load but the side panels would be in tension pulling down on the joint. Front to back dim. is 21" with 3/4"(width of vertical and thickness of the frame--domino penetration) stock so ?? is there enough glued surface area with dominoes to hold drawers loaded with books, paper, etc. The drawer box bottom will be solid stock and the two other dividers will be frame style slides. No mechanical slides. The trapezoid should be plenty stout but if the desk is lifted on one end and moved--dragged--perpendicular to the "leg" would this design resist?? I'm using cherry so it will be heavy.

    Cary and Mike--The drawer dividers/quides would need to be stop dadoed so the angled joints spiked my interest in a more simple--predictable--method than tilting a dado stack on the TS.

    Prashun--I made a waterfall slab console table(1 waterfall joint) and 9' x 5' L shaped desk(2 waterfalls and a 45 36" long) and ended up using steel angle iron and plate to secure joints. Worked great--lots of work and challenging to index.

    Anyone have experience getting a Systainer down a chimney??

    Thanks again,
    John--Bioscience trained--engineer wannabe
    The Domino joints are solid with regular wood glue. I have made drawers for shop furniture, including my bench and other cabinets. If they can hold heavy tools, etc. they can hold office supplies with no problem. As far as dragging a desk across the floor, the Domino joint is a strong joint; maybe close to equal to a well-made standard mortise and tenon. It's just easier and more consistent to use the Domino. The fit of the Domino in the slot is very tight and the ridges on the loose tenon allow the glue to be retained. When the loose Domino is slipped into the slot the glue gets spread, I think, more evenly and consistently than when you spread it yourself. Anyway, I've never had a Domino joint let loose. The wood itself would break first before the glue joint.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by John C Bush View Post
    Thanks for all the help!!

    Anyone have experience getting a Systainer down a chimney??

    Thanks again,
    John--Bioscience trained--engineer wannabe
    I know I had to give ole Santa a break on my DF 700 and buy it myself - I ain't been that good and the less the wife knows about how much that puppy costs the better. I've never felt so guilty when I walked out of the store with a tool in my life but no regrets as it will pay for itself many times over in time and aggravation saved.

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