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Thread: Domino for Doors

  1. #1
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    Domino for Doors

    I have read many posts about the Domino 700 and always thought it was a nice piece of engineering, but wasn't sure I could ever justify the cost of one. Now I am looking at building some custom doors, interior for the most part, and a fried suggested the 700 is perfect for making doors. These are a typical 80" x 24-36" doors. They will be a stile and rail construction with a floating interior panel.

    Has anyone used it for that? I am guessing yes, so how did it work? Putting the largest dowels in, perhaps as many as 3 in each joint, does it hold up? Part of my brain says it will be fine and much easier than mortise and tenon, but another part says a mortise and tenon will be stronger and last longer.

    Would love thoughts and suggestions. I need to make a decision in the next week so thank you in advance.
    Last edited by Mark Blatter; 12-05-2019 at 3:55 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Blatter View Post
    I have many posts about the Domino 700 and always thought it was a nice piece of engineering, but wasn't sure I could ever justify the cost of one. Now I am looking at building some custom doors, interior for the most part, and a fried suggested the 700 is perfect for making doors. These are a typical 80" x 24-36" doors. They will be a stile and rail construction with a floating interior panel.

    Has anyone used it for that? I am guessing yes, so how did it work? Putting the largest dowels in, perhaps as many as 3 in each joint, does it hold up? Part of my brain says it will be fine and much easier than mortise and tenon, but another part says a mortise and tenon will be stronger and last longer.

    Would love thoughts and suggestions. I need to make a decision in the next week so thank you in advance.
    I had some 31 interior doors to make for our house (1 3/4" maple) and didn't pony up to buy it. BIG mistake. Now I have one and it's excellent and work very well for making interior doors. Go for it!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mreza Salav View Post
    I had some 31 interior doors to make for our house (1 3/4" maple) and didn't pony up to buy it. BIG mistake. Now I have one and it's excellent and work very well for making interior doors. Go for it!
    Did you experience failures? Could you provides some more details? I am also looking at building some doors.

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    Depending on the door construction you don't necessarily need dominos. Most if not all the doors in our house were cope and stick only and they've held up well for 20 years. The profile of the rails and stiles will determine whether you need additional strength from dowels, dominos, tenons etc.

  5. #5
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    Think mreza ment if bought tool earlier would of saved him lot of time in his door build.

  6. #6
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    Mark, i built a double door gate for our backyard years ago. One door was made with traditional M&T and one was made with the domino. Both have held up just fine. In fact, i actually had more issue on the traditional MT door, because i made the tenon 5" wide and the expansion inside the mortise pushed up on the end grain of the stile.

    I also made a king size bed frame entirely with the 700. The breakdown connectors are fantastic, and the bed doesnt make even the slightest of squeaks or creaks.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mreza Salav View Post
    I had some 31 interior doors to make for our house (1 3/4" maple) and didn't pony up to buy it. BIG mistake. Now I have one and it's excellent and work very well for making interior doors. Go for it!

    Do you use the 14mm bit or will the 12 mm work? I want to buy what I need and avoid extra spending for extras that will sit in a drawer. Also, anything else you suggest to get that has been really handy?

    Thanks

  8. #8
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    I've made some doors for a client using my Domino 700...in fact it was the first project I used it for. What size and how many is dependent on the size, weight and purpose of the door, but 140mm long by 14mm Dominos are pretty darn strong for tenons. I used them for a Twin-XL over Queen bunk bed, too.

    BTW, I'm buying my Domino tenon stock in the longer 750mm sticks now...more cost effective and I "always" have the length I need.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 12-05-2019 at 5:21 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Blatter View Post
    Do you use the 14mm bit or will the 12 mm work? I want to buy what I need and avoid extra spending for extras that will sit in a drawer. Also, anything else you suggest to get that has been really handy?

    Thanks

    No failure on the doors, built like tanks! but it would have been a lot faster/easier to use dominos. I would go 14mm for full size doors.

  10. I have made lots of doors and outdoor gates with mine. Its a huge timesaver. I sometimes put six, or even 8 dominoes in the bottom rail/stile joint...Used 8-14s on at each joint on the bottom rail of a 2 1/4" front door that is 8' tall recently.

    I haven't tested these joints, but they seem, to me, like stronger joints than even double mortise and tenon, because there is so much glue surface on the weaker side of the joint. I guess time will tell, but no failures yet.

  11. #11
    I only recently got a Domino 700 and have used it for a crib for my latest grandson and a bed for me. The tenons in the crib are of 19mm plywood and insert into a 14mm slot mortise I made with the domino plunging it in about every 1/2 inch. It sounds like more work than it is. Took very little time. I then made a quick cut on each face of the rails and only had to trim the ends of the tenons.

    The bed is cherry and I planned to use two 12mm domino tenons in the headboard and footboard mortise and tenon joints. But I had a layout error that resulted in me changing most of the joints to slot mortises. It took only a few minutes to cut some cherry scrap to the right size to make the tenons. Because of the larger surface area, the resulting joints are stronger than the smaller domino tenons would have been.

    Long way of saying you are not limited to use of festool domino sizes. The tool works well to cut a slot mortise the size you would normally use in a door. The added time to make the tenons is pretty small.

    I plan a new front door but it is pretty far down the list of projects. I will probably have stiles 5 or 5 1/2 wide so the lockset centers in them (for appearance) and then the top rail will be the same width. I may not have a middle rail since I am thinking of a center oval insert. Bottom rail would then be nearly a foot. I could use dominos for these joints but using a lot of them but I doubt I will. I will probably just use 3 inch or wider tenons and slot mortises.

    I made a house worth of interior doors with dowel joints and they held up fine. A few 12 or 14mm dominos would be even better. I don't think interior doors need to be as strong as an exterior door. They are just for privacy. The exterior door needs to make it hard for even a determined person to gain entry. Mine will be stout.

    The XL comes with the 12mm cutter as you seem to know. For the others, I bought CMT cutters off Amazon. The 14mm cutter broke on the second plunge but it was quickly replaced (for free including shipping). I've used all the others at least a little with no issue. They cost less than half what Festool gets. I have a complete set down to 5mm and the Seneca adapter. I do a range of projects and didn't want to have to order a cutter or change the project based upon cutter availability. But if I was paying Festool prices for cutters I would have scaled back.
    Last edited by Jim Dwight; 12-06-2019 at 11:42 AM.

  12. #12
    I posted this thread a while back about some doors I built using the larger Domino machine. They're actually made with a through tenon. I cut the mortises by lining up cuts from both sides of the rail. I made multiple cuts at different heights to create a mortise for a 1" thick tenon. The tenons were milled on the table saw using a more customary technique. In the end, I was able to use a 1"x5"x5.5" tenon, using the Domino to cut all the mortises. I timed myself at just under 5 minutes per mortise.
    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....ing&highlight=

  13. #13
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    I built a lot of interior doors a number of years ago before the Domino was available using loose mortise and tenon (plunge router and homemade tenons). I WISH I had the Domino, it would have made the joinery so much faster and arguably more accurate. The thing about the Domino is once you have one, you’ll find new ways to use it to replace other methods because it’s so darn easy and convenient. At least, that has been my experience.
    There is a very fine line between “hobby” and “mental illness.” - Dave Barry

  14. #14
    I don't have a Domino 700. I have a 500 that I don't use often and that would be too small for doors in any case. As said by others, I'm sure the Domino 700 would be great for interior doors.

    For exterior doors, however, I can't help but feel that any loose tenon joinery would be less than ideal. With loose tenons you are relying on the glue to hold up, otherwise the door will fall apart - and with an exterior door I just feel that this is doomed for failure eventually, even if it might take a long time.

    I have only built one set of doors, a pair of 60" x 90" carriage doors, and I went with wedged through tenons and some drawbore pegs for good measure. I figure that even without any glue these should hold up long-term. But yeah, for interior doors I imagine the Domino would save time and be structurally fine.

    Cheers,

    Dom

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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Dominik Dudkiewicz View Post

    For exterior doors, however, I can't help but feel that any loose tenon joinery would be less than ideal. With loose tenons you are relying on the glue to hold up, otherwise the door will fall apart - and with an exterior door I just feel that this is doomed for failure eventually, even if it might take a long time.
    Likely the wood would rot away before any modern waterproof glue would let a well fitted tenon loose from the long grain bond.

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