Monday, February 21, 2011

Festool Domino Review

The Festool Domino might be Festool’s most controversial tools. Festool is known for its high quality products and the high price to match, but at $800 the Domino makes everyone raise an eyebrow. For some, the Domino is a glorified biscuit joiner, for others it is just a hand-held mortise maker and some might even consider it to be a extreme dowel tool. They are all right, of course, but it’s better to look at the Domino as a whole system including the Domino tenons.

The Domino can be used where you’d use a biscuit joiner, but provide greater strength. It can make mortises, but it does it in the palm of your hand. It can be used in place of dowels but with the added benefit of not twisting. That already is like having 3 tools in one! When you throw in the Domino tenons there is even greater time savings not having to make your own tenons.

The Domino is well built and feels solid in your hand and I especially like how it is designed so that you can use it with markings instead of measuring. For example, putting a mortise in the middle of a ¾” piece is a matter of just letting the fence rest on the face of the board or using the stops that are already on the tool. Even the accessories allows you to place your mortises where you want them without heavy measuring. I’ve used the Domino from building cabinet doors to simple through slots for holding my chisels and it is easy, quick and accurate.

As good as the Domino is, there are still some small things that I’d like to change. Attaching the dust collector hose can be a pain sometimes. The depth of the mortises is limited pretty much for the tenons so it’s not as general as a mortising machine. The switch to set the mortise width should only be used when the tool is running so why doesn’t it lock when it isn’t on?

Is the Domino worth it? I would recommend it especially if you don’t have biscuit joiner, mortiser, or doweling jig since the price of buying the 3 tools starts to put it close to the Domino. If time is a premium then this makes it worth it too. I was able to build two cabinet doors in 30 minutes (my very first) compared to how long it would’ve taken me to do it otherwise.

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