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Festool Domino in a HS shop?

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Forum topic by Tooch posted 08-06-2016 12:21 PM 783 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tooch

1351 posts in 1342 days


08-06-2016 12:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question festool domino

I am a HS wood shop teacher, and our Mortise Machine has recently soiled the bed. Looking into new mortising machines, I kept coming back to the Festool Domino. I know that it is considerably more expensive than a traditional Mortise machine (Domino is $970 compared to a JET M.M. around $380) but it seems like it would be a lot faster with better results.

While comparing the 2 options, I am considering a few different points:

1. Durability - I only plan to use this for 1 to 2 projects, mainly with my advanced classes. Can a Domino stand up to use by 16-18 yr olds IF I have everything preset and ready to go??

2. Space - The domino will take up considerably less space in the shop being that it is a handheld tool.

3. Cost - I know it is a higher initial investment, but our last MM only lasted about 4 years…

4. Functionality - I have no problem teaching traditional techniques of hand drilling mortises, but my students REALLY have a hard time with the craftsmanship of drilling them out. Some common issues are drilling staggered holes, or lots of tearout due to improper support below the workpiece. If they can produce better quality projects with this tool, is it worth foregoing the traditional methods?

If anyone who owns the Domino reads this, can you please give me any recommendations?!

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails


29 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3945 posts in 1959 days


#1 posted 08-06-2016 12:34 PM

There’s little doubt in my mind the Domino will withstand the use. I have one of the originals, bought second hand, and looks like it was used in a production facility. It still performs like a champ. I’m not a big Festool fan (just the opposite), but the Domino is very well made. Another consideration is the cost of the tenons, they aren’t cheap though it doesn’t sound like you’ll need buckets of them…besides, you can always make them. Don’t know what to say about question #4, I’m fairly certain there will be some strong opinions both ways.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1646 posts in 1783 days


#2 posted 08-06-2016 12:37 PM

Just one word of caution. That tool is susceptible to damage from being dropped on hard surfaces. It probably won’t break outright but it is a precision tool and can lose some of that if any part gets bumped out of alignment or bent.

Other than that, it’s a good tool. I’ve pretty much stopped using slot mortisers or traditional mortisers since getting one. Traditional mortising machines only excel in one area and that’s making square holes for traditional, through tenon joinery. I’ll take router or Domino based mortising any day for everything else.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

2147 posts in 1638 days


#3 posted 08-06-2016 12:55 PM

4. Functionality – I have no problem teaching traditional techniques of hand drilling mortises, but my students REALLY have a hard time with the craftsmanship of drilling them out. Some common issues are drilling staggered holes, or lots of tearout due to improper support below the workpiece. If they can produce better quality projects with this tool, is it worth foregoing the traditional methods?

Isn’t school the place to learn the traditional methods. I am a firm believer in having a firm foundation in traditional or hand methods before going to machines. I have no problem using machines but without a foundation to work from many times you set yourself up for problems later on.
If your students are having a hard time with drilling mortises maybe they need to go back a step or two and practice some more. The two issues you talk about seem to me to be caused by not taking the time for proper setup not the machine itself.

I have no problem with the domino but I think the student should be able to setup and cut the traditional mortise and tenon correctly before introducing the newer machine.

Before I bought a dovetail jig I forced myself to learn to setup and cut dovetails by hand. I now have a dovetail jig. Knowing the mechanics of marking and cutting the dovetail by hand makes setting up and correcting the setup on the jig much easier. I also have the luxury of cutting dovetails by hand or machine depending on the number, type of wood, spacing, etc.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

294 posts in 214 days


#4 posted 08-06-2016 01:47 PM

I’m with johnstoneb, in thinking that the students need to develop some skills in the traditional methods. It might be a while before the students will be able to afford their own Domino once they are out of school.

That said, I really don’t remember any training in M&T work in my 3 years of high school wood shop. Mostly it was training in the use of power tools. There was good training with hand planes.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2198 posts in 946 days


#5 posted 08-06-2016 02:04 PM

Wow, glad to see shop is even being taught. The school system we have totally eliminated ww’ing decades ago. Now that happens in the H.S “alternative” program, which is nothing more than VoTech.

Common sense is telling me you’re better with a stationary machine.
I agree with the poster ^ give them a tool to use they are likely to be able to actually own. ;-)

I remember my days of training for my profession where the quality of diagnostic tools available were far, far better than what people could afford in the real world & it was a huge impediment to me as a greenhorn.

Of course, if I….. was the teacher, I’d have them chopping by hand. I understand the problem is class time and they need feedback on a project in a few weeks, not a few months.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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Kirk650

294 posts in 214 days


#6 posted 08-06-2016 04:53 PM

I should have also mentioned how nice it is to see someone teaching wood shop. As far as I know, no schools near me teach it. I’d be happy to be a part time unpaid asst instructor. Unfortunately, nobody in the family is following me into woodworking, so I should pass my knowledge on to someone. And then there are the tools. I laugh about it, but my high dollar hand planes and chisels will probably be sold for 50 cents each at a garage sale.

So…to the OP, I’m very happy that you are teaching woodworking.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

3926 posts in 2709 days


#7 posted 08-06-2016 05:09 PM

Pertaining to question #4, I am also of the opinion that the basics should be taught and not depend on fancy tools to do the work. How many of your students will know how to do a M&T without a Domino after they go out into the real world? I don’t think their first tool will be a Domino.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1775 days


#8 posted 08-06-2016 06:24 PM

MrRon
out in the real world they are use CNC equipment.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Woodmaster1's profile

Woodmaster1

738 posts in 2053 days


#9 posted 08-06-2016 06:36 PM

I taught woodworking for 30 years and the school let it go. They started it again my last year of teaching. So I finished teaching where I started with a ten year break. I assume you teach the fundamentals in the beginning class so I see no reason you can’t use the domino machine in the advanced classes.

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7929 posts in 1846 days


#10 posted 08-06-2016 06:53 PM

Every woodworking project is an assembly of joinery that has been tested and refined over a thousand years to be strong and allow wood movement. The Domino is a production short cut, they can learn those later. Teaching isn’t about getting the quickest or best result, else why bother teaching math, computers are faster and more accurate anyway. You see this a lot on forums where people learned machines but never learned woodworking. Their tabletop cups and they don’t understand why, or they can’t make a simple box without sketch up or a set of plans. Sorry, the tone of this probably comes off harsher than I mean it but if you are teaching woodworking then teach woodworking, if you are babysitting then buy a Domino.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View ClassAct's profile

ClassAct

4 posts in 165 days


#11 posted 08-06-2016 06:56 PM

4) You know your students better than us here on the boards, so unless the advice is coming from another high school shop teacher, I’d take any dogmatic approach with a few grains of salt.

For example, if many of your students go on to vocational careers, e.g. production shops, which method would best help them land the gig? If your students are a mix of types, which methods would they enjoy the most? Are you free to offer beginning and advanced classes and break up the curriculum that way?

IMO, you want students to enjoy woodworking and get them engaged and excited about coming in and working on projects, whether they’re going for vocational careers or just want to do something fun in the shop. Ideally, be willing to teach both methods and let the student choose.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5314 posts in 3178 days


#12 posted 08-06-2016 09:01 PM

I taught at a community college for a number of years and you could tell the difference between students whom were taught math using a calculator and those whom had to use the old-fashioned methods. Guess which ones were better at problem solving? Tech has its place (believe me I understand that as I work in EMS and GIS) but I believe that the better you understand what you are doing the better you will be at the expected stuff but the unexpected won’t throw you out of kilter as much. There is a trend of ‘teach them many methods’ and they will figure it out…I believe that is not fair to the students as they often conflate the different approaches and cannot do any of them because they don’t really understand any of it. I’d say teach the manual methods in the beginning of their workshop careers and as they develop the common sense and mechanical skills they can progress to more production oriented techniques/technologies but don’t rob them of the chance to get the fundamentals down. I an not suggesting that they build and entire cabinet with M&T manually cut but they should be able to put together a four sided box to understand the importance of ALL the skills that go into employing M&T joinery (not just the cutting of the actual joint). I guess that is the crux of what I am saying in that the problem solving, the critical thinking skills that are SO vital to an employee’s success aren’t easily taught when ‘production’ is what the student sees as the goal, not the learning of the skill set.

Well that’s my prolix 2 cents worth :-)

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Tooch's profile

Tooch

1351 posts in 1342 days


#13 posted 08-07-2016 01:19 AM

I apologize for posting this earlier and not checking back in until now, but its been a long day with the two kids…

I guess the concept of “school” can be interpreted different ways by people who have different philosophies, Especially in Tech Ed, where we have seen an explosion of new innovations over the last 30 years. Should school be about teaching what WE learned, or about what is currently being used?

I also teach an Engineering Design course, and MOST of what I teach is 3D computer based CAD programs. Of course, there is a unit on board drafting and tools, but if I spent all year teaching Board drawing techniques, I would be doing the student a great disservice.

Same thing goes for Photography… The Graphic Design course I teach doesn’t even touch on B&W or film photography anymore. There’s simply no reason to go over the lengthy, painstaking, expensive process of developing a tank of film when most of my students have a better camera on their cell phones.

As far as traditional methods, we do make a small shelf in the intro course that uses traditional M&Ts drilled out with a mortise machine, giving students exposure to that process. The Domino would be used for larger projects such as table supports, chairs, etc., that the students may not have enough time to spend laying out/drilling mortises.

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View JackDuren's profile

JackDuren

137 posts in 425 days


#14 posted 08-07-2016 02:06 AM

I don’t consider the Domino an “advanced” tool when it comes to woodworking. I consider it a production tool. It can simplify complex joints and keep skills locked in the closet. I took woodworking in high school, but didn’t learn enough to go into the world demanding high pay. That knowledge I got on my own.

So my advice…. If you want to push students through with the bare basics get the Domino. If you want to educate them with “skill” teach them traditional joinery and get a floor standing mortiser for about the same money.

Domino’s aren’t cheap either…..............

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7929 posts in 1846 days


#15 posted 08-07-2016 05:08 AM


I guess the concept of “school” can be interpreted different ways by people who have different philosophies, Especially in Tech Ed, where we have seen an explosion of new innovations over the last 30 years. Should school be about teaching what WE learned, or about what is currently being used?

- Tooch

Public schools were created to train a workforce for the industrial revolution and even today schools focus more on skills applicable to a manufacturing environment than practical life skills. Few schools teach critical thinking, balancing a checkbook, the basics of investing, or any other of a myriad of life skills that would benefit them tremendously. Very little I learned in school outside math, English, and writing was ever beneficial in the workplace. Cursive writing, complete waste of time. Memorizing formulas = waste of time. Hours of long division = wasted time. Should people know how to do it? Yes. Should they spend hours on it year after year, no. As you pointed out, technology is constantly changing and whatever drawing program you teach now will be obsolete by the time they are in college but manual drawing skills will never leave them. Ditto for the Domino. Everyone thinks it’s the be all, end all, of production joinery but I’ve been around long to know how fads work. At one time it was dowels, then biscuits, then pocket screws, now the Domino; but someday the patents will expire and China will go nuts with their own loose tenon machines and the Domino will be pushed aside by the next fad.


...if I spent all year teaching Board drawing techniques, I would be doing the student a great disservice.

- Tooch

I disagree and apparently so does the architectural program at my daughter’s college. They start students with the basics—draw 10 pages of straight lines, write 10 pages of uppercase lettering, 10 pages of lowercase lettering. They start with a drawing board and t-square and progress to a drawing machine. Once the students have the basics, they transition to Autocad. My HS IA program did it exactly the same way except for Autocad. I wouldn’t make them draw pages of lines and letters for a HS class but I would teach the fundamentals of manual drafting.

Anyway, as they say, my 2¢.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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