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To Domino or not to Domino

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Blog entry by Bill posted 05-13-2007 09:42 PM 2410 reads 0 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ok, so I am sitting here weighing the costs of some tools. On the one hand, the Festool Domino set with dominos, guides, and a dust collector for approximately $1300. On the other hand, I need a table saw and a planer. The money for the domino would likely cover these items. Which way do I go?

The Domino would allow me to do mortise and tennon joints much more easily than now. It would have the greater flexibility of positions, large sizes, etc. compared to the mortise machine. But the cost makes me gulp! A Jet mortise machine is only $300, or a quarter of the cost.

The table saw I do need, but have been working in my Dad’s shop and using his equipment. So, I could get by without that for awhile. However, having my own would allow me to work directly out of my shop. The Ridgid table saw runs around $600.

The planer is a definite need, since my jointer is only 6 1/2” wide. No wide boards through here. So far my boards usually have been less than 6” wide, so I get by with the jointer. But, it would be helpful to use wider boards on occasion. A DeWalt benchtop planer would run approximately $600.

So, $1300 for a Domino set-up, or $1500 for a shop set up. Of course, thinking outside of the box would say make the investment in my business and get all, plus a bit of wood for $3000. Funny, but that was the dollar figure I had in my mind earlier this year about the amount of tool purchases I need to make this year.

Well I sure better sell a lot more items soon!

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com



29 comments so far

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1765 posts in 2814 days


#1 posted 05-13-2007 10:20 PM

Hi Bill….My opinion….Get the tablesaw and planer first. You can do so many things with the table saw and some jigsl. The domino only does one thing. Mortise with a router or drill press and chisels. If you have tons of cash and can get it all go for it…. But a tablesaw is a must.

If you have a homeDepot credit card they send 10% off coupons once in a while.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12300 posts in 2822 days


#2 posted 05-13-2007 10:46 PM

I would tend to agree with John. Are you making lots of stuff using M&T Joints?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8791 posts in 2824 days


#3 posted 05-13-2007 11:24 PM

Bill,

You know I am all about the Domino and will have one soon. As a professional it is a no brainer to get the Domino.

But, I would tend to agree with the other guys about buying the basics first. If your tool usage priveleges are good and not too inconvenient, you might shoot for the Domino. The ease and speed of joinery is very dramatic compared to a mortiser and I have a good floor model mortising machine too. My opinion on the Domino is based on using it in my shop on a real world project and not on a couple of test cuts in the store.

Wayne brings up a very valid point, how many M&T joints will you be making? The Domino would pay for itself quickly if you are doing very many, and by improving your profit margins you will be able to get the other tools any way. Cabinet shops do all kinds of projects and never have to use M&T joints. It just depends on what you plan on building.

I almost forgot to add that you can buy just the Festool hose and hook it up to your existing shopvac. That is exactly what I do and I use an electronicly switched outlet from Sears or Woodcraft. I empty my shopvac 2 – 3 times a day and blow out the filter as needed. The Festool bags would get pretty expensive if throwing them out at that rate.

Good luck with your decision.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3024 days


#4 posted 05-13-2007 11:40 PM

I’d go for the saw, & accessories first. Wait, & get the Festool later. Besides I’m sure the competition may come out later with something that’s comparable bringing down the price.
I remember when biscuit jointer’s first came out, they were pretty pricey.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1765 posts in 2814 days


#5 posted 05-14-2007 12:57 AM

I agree Dick… The prices will come down once Jet or someone makes their own version..

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2761 days


#6 posted 05-14-2007 12:57 AM

Hi Bill,

I have a Domino and it IS the best thing since sliced bread. However, I wouldn’t trade my planer or tablesaw for one. It’s a fantastic tool. It allows me to do things in a way that goes beyond just mortise and tenon joinery. If you look at the Festool Owners Group, you can see the absolute wonderful things that I’m sure not even Festool considered. BUT, and it’s a great big BUT…the tablesaw and planer, followed by a jointer and bandsaw…then the Domino. You see, there alot of things that have to happen before you can join wood. Dimensioning it is the real big one. Good luck with your decision!

Tom

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2761 days


#7 posted 05-14-2007 01:00 AM

Just a quick thought, Dick. How long after Lamello patented the biscuit joiner, did the first copies start hitting the market? I ask, because I have no idea.

Tom

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Karson's profile

Karson

34902 posts in 3125 days


#8 posted 05-14-2007 01:10 AM

Bill I’d go with the saw and jointer. A table saw could be used for 4-5 hours a day every day. The Festool would not have that utilization

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Don's profile

Don

2600 posts in 2901 days


#9 posted 05-14-2007 01:10 AM

Bill, I think it’s unanimous. Whilst a great tool, the Domino is probably the last power tool you would purchase.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 3035 days


#10 posted 05-14-2007 01:42 AM

Bill, I agree with everyone else. You may want to check out the last, WoodWhisper podcast where they ask about the Domino and http://www.woodmagazine.com/wood/story.jhtml?storyid=/templatedata/wood/story/data/1178129509968.xml&catref=cat5610002, where they discuss loose tenon tools. I think you will find it very informative and helpful in your decission.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2886 days


#11 posted 05-14-2007 04:10 AM

Thank you all. I knew I could count on you all to ground me. Sometimes we get an idea into our heads and it can overrule common sense. Basics first, then the niceties.

Thanks for the link Os, it was a nice video. I will be looking for the Wood magazine to see the results of their strength test for these different joints.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View andrewsdunn's profile

andrewsdunn

2 posts in 2790 days


#12 posted 05-14-2007 04:31 AM

Hi Bill. I agree with everyone else. I have a Domino but could live without it. I couldn’t live without my table saw or jointer.

-- Andrew

View woodspar's profile

woodspar

710 posts in 2824 days


#13 posted 05-14-2007 05:41 AM

Bill,

One comment that you made is that you could not get wide boards through your jointer. Sounds like you need a bigger jointer. :-)

A jointer makes a board flat and square to it’s bed. A planer makes two surfaces parallel. Unless you build a special sled for the planer, you will not get flat wide boards with a planer.

You (and probably everybody else) knew all that – I just thought that I would mention it “out loud.”

Anyway, don’t forget to post pictures of your own shop with the new Rigid table saw, Rigid jointer and new Rigid planer!

-- John

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3024 days


#14 posted 05-14-2007 05:56 AM

Tom’
The years have been going by so fast nowadays, but I don’t think it was too long after.

I ended up buying a Porter-Cable , one of their first ones, for about $65.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View woodspar's profile

woodspar

710 posts in 2824 days


#15 posted 05-14-2007 05:59 AM

Todd,

If you use a secondary on your dust collection you would not fill the bags up so quickly.

-- John

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