Festool Domino review

A few months ago (August 2019) I finally purchased a tool I had been drooling over for quite some time … the Festool Domino DF500 joiner … this is the smaller of the two joiner tools from Festool.

Domino joiner getting some good use for fir bed frame parts

So what was it that got me to pull the trigger?

At that time I had a specific project in the works which would make significant use of such a tool … namely 46 solid fir bed frames to fabricate / assemble. I’ve always been a fan of Festool and believe in investing in superior tools even when this means delaying a purchase to save up the necessary funds. In the end of the day it’s pretty much always worthwhile.

What are the key things I have been / am using it for?

Tenons used for cabinet construction

Well other than the bed frames just described and shown above; I modified my standard means of constructing cabinets to now use the Festool Domino tenons to join the back and sides … and then they are also screwed which pulls everything tight as the glue dries. The end result is a “bullet proof” cabinet which will last for generations as is the goal.

48″ x 24″ sign created by laminating narrower boards using Festool Domino tenons

I’ve also been using it for frames for signs, laminating boards to make wider panels … and I am certain I will find plenty more uses as time goes on. Certainly creating wider boards for signs is a pretty common use now.

What are the top 5 things I love about this tool?

  1. It works every time for hours on end without skipping a beat, which in a production environment (or if you just value your time) is definitely a major consideration.
  2. It’s safe; I am constantly getting nicks, scratches and splinters … but none of them from this tool.
  3. Speed; it is very quick to set up & adjust for depth / width / angle. The bits are easily swapped over for different sizes of tenon.
  4. Dust control; in conjunction with my Festool HEPA shop vac there is barely any dust to speak of when using this tool and a face mask is not necessary.
  5. Last of all but certainly not last is the strength of the end product. The beach tenons are super strong and just make for a very durable end product.

What are the things I am less keen on?

  1. Well I guess the obvious one is the price … not just the $1040 for the tool itself, or the similar cost for a decent vacuum (in my case the Festool HEPA vac) … but also the cost of the beach tennons. When you buy Festool products you should not be basing the decision primarily on price as there are way cheaper options … such as most biscuit joiners. However … well see the number one top thing I love above as to why ultimately it’s worth the price 😉
  2. You do need to watch in softer wood (such as fir or pine) and take the process of machining a tenon hole a little slower to avoid any tear out. I usually do a slow first pass & then a quick “dive” second pass just to make sure the hole is clean. This technique works well for me on softer wood.

Where do I see this helping my business most?

I can produce very durable products in a timely manner.

What suggestions or tips do I have if any?

Experiment to see what spacing / how many tenons you need and what size to use in various dimensions of material. More rather than fewer also helps with alignment as you marry two panels together and that benefit alone isn’t to be sneezed at.