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Festool Domino vs. Leigh Mortise and Tenon Jig

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Forum topic by EarlS posted 11-23-2017 12:54 PM 2252 views 0 times favorited 36 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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EarlS

609 posts in 2186 days


11-23-2017 12:54 PM

Topic tags/keywords: leigh mortise and tenon jig festool domino

I’m not sure if this belongs here or in the Joinery forum but here goes:

I’m considering buying either a Festool Domino or the Leigh Mortise and Tenon jig. I’ve read various wood magazine reviews. I’m interested in hearing what folks that use one or both of these tools think of them, good and bad. How many accessories do you have to buy in addition to the base unit? Alternatively, are there other options?

My current approach is to cut the tenons with a dado stack or on the router. I used to have a Delta tenon jig but couldn’t get it totally dialed in. For mortises, I use a Delta mortising adapter on the drill press which produces a marginally acceptable mortise. If I need to make a lot of similar mortises, say for desk legs, I will pull out the plunge router and make template to use with a guide bushing on the router. While these approaches work, they are rather tedious and time consuming to set up, especially when you only need a couple of mortises and tenons.

Maybe this is already a forum topic, if so please point me in the right direction.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"


36 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

27089 posts in 2176 days


#1 posted 11-23-2017 01:06 PM

Tough choice. Definitely advantages an limitations to both. At a glance, if you are doing big projects Festool is better. Smaller projects Leigh looks better. I will probably still go with Festool because I do a lot of big stuff (tables and such). But if I were doing lots of chairs and things such as that, I would definitely go with the Leigh.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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Rich

1984 posts in 428 days


#2 posted 11-23-2017 03:16 PM

Since you already have your tenon process dialed-in, a bench top mortiser would be much less expensive than the Leigh or Domino.

I know the LJ member TungOil owns the Leigh, and I recall him writing about using the Festool in a post about his experience at a Marc Adams chair making class. If he doesn’t reply here, I’d suggest messaging him. He’s a good guy and I’m sure will be happy to share his thoughts.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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CharlesNeil

2144 posts in 3709 days


#3 posted 11-23-2017 03:18 PM

Have both… Much pefer the Domino… just too easy and fast

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

609 posts in 2186 days


#4 posted 11-23-2017 03:50 PM

Rich,

As I recall TungOil really liked the Domino when he used it in the G&G chair class but he also really likes the Leigh Mortise and Tenon jig he owns too.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4762 posts in 2331 days


#5 posted 11-23-2017 04:54 PM

I also have both. The Leigh jig is incredibly easy to use, and quite precise. But for ease the Domino is clearly the winner. Someone else said it: tough choice.

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

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a1Jim

116585 posts in 3415 days


#6 posted 11-23-2017 05:28 PM

I’ve only owned the Domino and a couple jigs I built for M&T but the domino is hard to beat for a speedy sound joint.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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pottz

2230 posts in 822 days


#7 posted 11-23-2017 05:32 PM

I have the domino and its as easy to use as a bisquit joiner.i also have multi router which is an incredible machine-with an incredible price!something I inherited.dont use it too much,just not quick to setup and use.my vote would be the domino.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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Rich

1984 posts in 428 days


#8 posted 11-23-2017 06:42 PM

Since I started the “Without Personal Experience” thread and am a frequent contributor, I feel comfortable speaking about this thing that I know nothing about, but I’ve seen it in videos. :)

Based on my experience with the Leigh D4 dovetail jig and the multiple mortise and tenon attachment, I would imagine the Leigh would be a superior jig for mortise and tenon joints that are tight and clean. You can also do through tenons with it.

I view the Festool as a quick-and-dirty loose tenon machine that’s a major improvement over biscuits, dowels and pocket screws for things like face frames, table frames and the like.

Feel free to roast me if I’m full of crap.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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pottz

2230 posts in 822 days


#9 posted 11-23-2017 07:22 PM



Since I started the “Without Personal Experience” thread and am a frequent contributor, I feel comfortable speaking about this thing that I know nothing about, but I ve seen it in videos. :)

Based on my experience with the Leigh D4 dovetail jig and the multiple mortise and tenon attachment, I would imagine the Leigh would be a superior jig for mortise and tenon joints that are tight and clean. You can also do through tenons with it.

I view the Festool as a quick-and-dirty loose tenon machine that s a major improvement over biscuits, dowels and pocket screws for things like face frames, table frames and the like.

Feel free to roast me if I m full of crap.

- Rich

I wont roast you rich,even on thanksgiving but I think your your looking at the domino as only a quick easy way to do something as simple as a face frame,in which case don’t waste your money.its a great little machine that will do very precise tenons very quickly in many applications.you are selling the machine short.you gotta try it to really appreciate it.happy thanksgiving.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

609 posts in 2186 days


#10 posted 11-23-2017 09:07 PM

If I read the Domino details correctly, it only makes the mortises. You have to make the tenons yourself, which doesn’t seem too bad considering the sides are rounded which is easy enough to do with an appropriately sized cover bit on the router and the correct thickness wood.

The Leigh jig can do both mortises and tenons. Correct?

The second part of the question might be the make/break part. How many accessories do you need to purchase in order to cover most applications?

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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pottz

2230 posts in 822 days


#11 posted 11-23-2017 09:40 PM

you can buy the domino tenons in various sizes,no need to make unless you find that fun-lol.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View Rich's profile

Rich

1984 posts in 428 days


#12 posted 11-23-2017 09:41 PM

The Leigh jig can do both mortises and tenons. Correct?

The second part of the question might be the make/break part. How many accessories do you need to purchase in order to cover most applications?

- EarlS

Yes, the Leigh jig cuts both. One thing that’s kept me from getting the Domino is that you have to buy their tenons. Yeah, I know, you can make them, but what’s the point in spending a fortune on the tool for speed and convenience, and then wasting more time than you saved with the tool making your own tenons. And if you buy them, like everything else Festool, they ain’t cheap.

I don’t run a production shop though, and I realize the tool does have its place. I just don’t see myself getting one.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

747 posts in 333 days


#13 posted 11-24-2017 03:13 AM

Tough choice. As rich pointed out I have the Leigh jig and spent some time using the domino recently. They are both good machines. One thing to consider is that the domino is metric sized and the Leigh is imperial. With the domino you have the continued cost of the dominoes to deal with and it really needs to be paired with their vacuum to work properly. You will need a plunge router for the Leigh jig.

FWIW- I will be using the Leigh jig to make my chairs. No plans to add the domino unless I run into a joint I can’t make with the Leigh.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2564 posts in 1863 days


#14 posted 11-24-2017 06:13 AM

If you were to make your own tenons for the Domino, why would you make only 2 or 3 at a time? I’d run long pieces of the stock through the planer, the TS, and then the router table/shaper to round the edges. The set up would be a bit tedious, but you could make dozens or more of the tenons and then have them on hand.

Admittedly, I don’t use either of the mentioned machines, but I do use a mortising machine, which I like quite a lot, and have a couple of ways for making tenons (not loose tenons) that work very well.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

609 posts in 2186 days


#15 posted 11-24-2017 01:48 PM

Tung – the vacuum isn’t a problem, and I have a plunge base for my Bosch 1617 (2.25 HP) router. Which version of the Leigh unit do you have?

Has anyone run into significant limitations with either tool? I’ve read several Leigh reviews where the jig wasn’t able to be used on the wide face of a piece. I’ve also seen reviews that mention the length and size limitations of the basic accessories that come with it. The Domino reviews also mention after costly market accessories being an issue.

The Domino also comes in several versions. Which version do you have/recommend for cabinetry and furniture building. Did you have to buy more accessories/bits? If so, which ones are most useful? Pictures would also be appreciated.

I appreciate all of the comments. I wish there was a local wood store that had them in stock so I could go touch/feel/try out the options on both systems.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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