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Thread: Domino Refinement

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Treasure Island FL
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    92

    Domino Refinement

    Here's a patent-pending (by yours truly) idea . . . .

    One of the limitations with the Domino is mortising narrow pieces such as rail and styles. The two registering pins are great when using wider boards, but are unusable with narrower 2 to 3-inch boards. I've tried the approach of aligning the rail and style precisely by hand and drawing a line across each piece and then mortising using the plastic sight gauge line, but even after calibrating that set-up, I find that once the entire face frame is assembled, there is an ever-so-small 1/32ish error. I am a pretty careful technician, so at this point I don't think it is my technique as much as it is a limitation of the tool.

    But I think I have a workable and inexpensive solution that Dominoites may appreciate!

    I had a package of smaller earth magnets lying around. I put three of them against the retracting registering pin to force the Domino to position its bit close to the center of the rail end (there is no need for it to be precisely centered). I made my cut, then moved the same three earth magnets to the other registering pin and made my cut on the style. The result is a perfectly matched joint, and done in a matter of seconds. No more tedious and error-prone measuring and line drawing.

    I used a set of magnets available at my local Woodcraft store. Larger ones may work better. If I needed to vary the distance of the mortise cut from the edge, I need only add another small magnet.

    The photos below tell the story:
    Jeff Wright
    Treasure Island FL

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    1,347
    Jeff, you should be ashamed. Members of the Festool cult are supposed to only use official products... See http://www.festoolusa.com/ProductDet...D=493487&ID=15 for the official $40 accessory to do what you did for a couple dollars. If Festool goes broke, we will know it is because of your subversive actions. I'm going to report you to Uncle Bob Marino.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Treasure Island FL
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    92

    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Plesums View Post
    Jeff, you should be ashamed. Members of the Festool cult are supposed to only use official products... See www.festoolusa.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProdID=493487&ID=15 for the official $40 accessory to do what you did for a couple dollars. If Festool goes broke, we will know it is because of your subversive actions. I'm going to report you to Uncle Bob Marino.
    Charlie, I have that option but is not a solution to the issue I describe. True, that feature will allow you do do good work fast if you are doing production mortising in the ends of, say, rails, but you still have to take the time and carefully measure where that mortise will need to go in the style . . . a process that is a bit time consuming and prone to error. Plus, it would require you to mortise using the sight gauge line on the style and even as precise as that is, there is some misalignment once you've completed four corners of a face frame, for example. My cheap and dirty solution let's you cut the mortises without any measuring and they are precise and fast. The one in the picture took me 37 seconds to cut and assemble - yes I was keeping time!
    Jeff Wright
    Treasure Island FL

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Placitas, NM in the foothills of the Sandia Mt
    Posts
    688
    Hey Jeff,
    Great idea! I have seen discussions of folks making shop made spacer blocks to solve that problem, but the magnets are much faster. I might try combining a wood spacer with an emedded magnet.

    I won't tell uncle bob if you don't.
    Don't believe everything you think!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Charlotte, Michigan
    Posts
    27
    Jeff,
    Great idea and such an easy fix.
    What's your opinion of the machine as a whole and do you think it would be a good machine for production work?
    Thanks
    Keith
    www.julyswoodworks.com
    Member Mid-Michigan Woodworkers Guild
    www.mmwg.org

  6. #6
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    Nov 2006
    Location
    Treasure Island FL
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    92
    Quote Originally Posted by Keith July View Post
    Jeff,
    Great idea and such an easy fix.
    What's your opinion of the machine as a whole and do you think it would be a good machine for production work?
    I may not be best critic as I have not put The Domino through a lot. So far my observations are these:

    1] The Dominos fit VERY tight into their mortises, so tight, in fact, that I ended up leaving them in my test pieces because I was unable to pull them out with vise grips. Some folks have had some success using a claw hammer getting them out. Doesn't seem like a whole lot of room for glue.

    2] I made a test face frame and it went together very square. Not much sanding needed on the frame's face in prep for finishing. All the openings in the frame were perfectly square (for doors and drawers).

    3] It is a machine that one should practice for a while with scrap wood. It would be a mistake to take it out of the box and begin working on your project without some practice.

    4] The mortises are cut very cleanly.

    5] The tenon-like Dominos appear very sturdy.

    6] The calibration of the plastic sight glass line is very sensitive. I worked on it for over an hour one night and didn't have success until I attacked it again the next morning - but then only took ten minutes to get it dead accurate.

    7] There is a calibration device for the index pins used when moving the machine left or right. I am unable to loosen the lock set screw that holds the calibration eccentric screw in place. I hear Festool is aware of this issue as it has been reported by others (so I read). Fortunately, my unit came with that calibration already in good shape.

    8] The lateral indexing pins are designed in a way that they are unusable with narrow stock such as that used in making face frames. You can make the mortises on narrow stock doing it freehand (with accuracy that is impressive, but not acceptable to me), or use some simple earth magnets to fill the gap, allowing you to make the cuts in seconds VERY accurately. I can mortise both cuts at a joint and assemble it in less than 40 seconds. Some say the optional attachment addresses this issue, but I think they miss the point that you must also mortise the accompanying style and it is a bit of a challenge to determine just where to make that cut so it aligns perfectly with the end-of-rail cut.

    9] I have made mortises in both hard and softwood as well as various plys (including 1/2 inch maple A-1) and all mortises cut cleanly, even the ply.

    10] Given the choice of using pocket holes or the Domino to assemble face frames, I expect I will choose the Domino, even in situtations where the screws were not to show.

    11] The machine is not that loud.

    12] The C22 Festool with the smaller hose does a great job of keeping dust to next to nothing.

    13] The on/off switch is VERY user-friendly and well positioned.

    14] The standard fence and the standard fence enlargement device provide a secure feeling in keeping the machine flat to the workpiece.

    15] The thinnest useable stock seems to be about 1/2 inch.

    I am not a professional woodworker (yet!), but if I were I would be real tempted to get one if my work lent itself to such joinery. It should withstand the rigors of production work like other tools of its kind, assuming you give it decent care. I seem to treat my stuff as if it were surgical equipment for fear of knocking it out of square. It's very fast, accurate. And you might gain an advantage in your marketing by demonstrating that you used floating tenons versus the other guy's techniques down the street. It does make a great sales story.

    I also have Festool's 2.25HP router, sander, vacuum, jig saw and some guide rails. I enjoy my Bosch Colt router and selected that over the smallest Festool router. I have the MiniMax 410 Combo and their 20-inch bandsaw, and the Steel City drill press. I use Porter-Cable and Grex nailers. I have some Milwaukee tools (1/2 inch corded drill and their Sawzall) that I think are outstanding. This will give you some idea of the kinds of tools I like and use and it may help you put my comments in perspective.

    Good luck with your decision.
    Last edited by Jeff Wright; 05-01-2007 at 10:24 PM.
    Jeff Wright
    Treasure Island FL

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Placitas, NM in the foothills of the Sandia Mt
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    Hey Jeff,
    I think you hit the nail on the head. I agree with each point. One thing I would add from personal experience is that before the domino, I would never do mortise and tenon if the two pieces were to be flush - just asking for trouble. With the domino, flush is easy.
    Don't believe everything you think!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    1,347
    Jeff - a great, comprehensive review. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesse Cloud View Post
    Hey Jeff,
    I think you hit the nail on the head. I agree with each point. One thing I would add from personal experience is that before the domino, I would never do mortise and tenon if the two pieces were to be flush - just asking for trouble. With the domino, flush is easy.
    Jesse, I would have agreed with you about not getting perfect flush in a conventional mortise and tenon, but I have not had a problem since I switched to floating tenons using the slot mortiser on my MiniMax. Since that problem is already solved for me, I don't plan on getting the Domino.

    Incidentally, even the Domino requires care... The regional Festool manager did a demo of edge joining with the Domino at our Woodworker's club. The ends aligned perfectly but the faces were not flush. I think the problem was his focus on the demo, not a problem with the machine.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wright View Post
    8] The lateral indexing pins are designed in a way that they are unusable with narrow stock such as that used in making face frames. You can make the mortises on narrow stock doing it freehand (with accuracy that is impressive, but not acceptable to me), or use some simple earth magnets to fill the gap, allowing you to make the cuts in seconds VERY accurately. I can mortise both cuts at a joint and assemble it in less than 40 seconds. Some say the optional attachment addresses this issue, but I think they miss the point that you must also mortise the accompanying style and it is a bit of a challenge to determine just where to make that cut so it aligns perfectly with the end-of-rail cut.
    Jeff, you are right... when I quickly read your post, I thought you were avoiding the Festool option, and couldn't resist kidding you. The problem you were solving - a domino/tenon near the edge of the rail and exactly the same distance from the end of the stile are handled very well by your idea, and not well by the Domino option.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Charlotte, Michigan
    Posts
    27
    Jeff,
    Thanks for the great review.
    I have a couple of jobs that I could use this machine on but I was concerned about all the hype it has gotten.
    One can read a dozen advertisements but nothing beats a hands on review.
    Thanks again
    www.julyswoodworks.com
    Member Mid-Michigan Woodworkers Guild
    www.mmwg.org

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