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Thread: Window & door screen build: Domino, pocket screws, or M &T joints?

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Window & door screen build: Domino, pocket screws, or M &T joints?

    My issue is as follows:
    I have a 90 year old house which, in the current local market, will be torn down to make a townhouse complex when we sell. That's market conditions and a change in the local zoning conditions.
    My old fir windows, single pane, are in good shape but have no screens, nor does the front door. I use shrink plastic for draft-proofing in the winter.
    I promised my family screens on the windows and a screen door this year, no matter what.
    I'm not the worlds greatest furniture maker, so....

    Planning on using 1x3 nominal fir on the window screens and 1x6 for the screen door. Now my dilemma;

    I have a dedicated mortising machine if I use M&T joints joining the rails and stiles, but it's time consuming to build;
    I have a Kreg setup, so that might work.
    Everyone drools over the Domino system, so that's a possibility, but around here, they go for $1500.00 plus tax; while I know they hold their value, and I could probably swing it, I can't think of another build in my future that would use it (but when you have a hammer.....)

    I'm an old (in both senses) contractor and handyman, and and I have a hard time getting out of my cost/benefit mindset.
    Please, help me with making this choice!
    Young enough to remember doing it;
    Old enough to wish I could do it again.

  2. #2
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    Aaron,

    If I were in your shoes Iíd just use the mortiser you already have and spend more on high quality vertical grained fir. I would never use a Kreg system for either of those. The Domino would work great but that really increases the cost of the project.

    I would also very carefully mill all the stock to ensure all parts are straight! Jeff

  3. #3
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    If a domino is more efficient than your stand alone mortiser than your stand alone mortiser needs some work. There is no way that should be the case if your mortiser is functioning properly and has a good stop system.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  4. #4
    My Domino yielded an ROI of several hundred percent on the first job. It was an intricately framed structure with hundreds of mortises joining straight and curved parts. It turned what I projected to be a weeks work into a long afternoon. Fast forward 20 years, and I'm realizing that time is the only real resource worth anything. Unless, the cost was prohibitive, I'd drop a few shekels in a heartbeat. Worst case, you can easily off load a slightly used Domino at 80% of retail.

  5. #5
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    I don't want to spend any of your money - but I'm in a similar position - have four screen doors to build and have to get on it pretty quick the way the snow is melting around here. I'm planning on dowelling the joints. It'll be the first project that I use my brand-spanking-new Jessem dowelling jig. Probably not quite as good as mortise and tenon joints, but I'm thinking that the dowels should make for some pretty strong joints. I wouldn't trust pocket screws for joints in pieces that will be moved around.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny means View Post
    My Domino yielded an ROI of several hundred percent on the first job. It was an intricately framed structure with hundreds of mortises joining straight and curved parts. It turned what I projected to be a weeks work into a long afternoon. Fast forward 20 years, and I'm realizing that time is the only real resource worth anything. Unless, the cost was prohibitive, I'd drop a few shekels in a heartbeat. Worst case, you can easily off load a slightly used Domino at 80% of retail.
    He’s talking about making window frames not joining curved structures, a stationary machine is a better approach in my experience.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  7. #7
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    Why not just half laps?

    If the screens are press fit, the joint would be easy to trim out.

  8. #8
    mortise and tennon

  9. #9
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    OP, use the tools and knowledge you have. Don't use pocket screws on a door frame; they won't hold up. No argument that a Domino would do a fine job but there's no need to buy one for this project. Mortise and tenon, loose tenons, half lap, or bridle joints would all work.

    John

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Lake View Post
    mortise and tennon
    In 1x3? A 1/3" tenon tenon in Fir isn't robust, particularly on a door.

  11. #11
    didnt look at the dimensions screen fine but material for the door should be thicker no matter how jointed. If a domino will work for any joint then a mortise and tennon will work.

  12. #12
    I have a benchtop hollow chisel mortiser and a domino XL. I have not used the hollow chisel mortiser since getting the domino. I have not used a floor standing mortiser and if it has a good clamp to hold the work down while withdrawing the first stroke it might be fairly efficient - at the mortise. But you still have to make the tenon. With a domino it's two plunges and you have a joint (assuming you have some tenons to insert). I make the tenon stock in batches out of scraps so I generally have some when I need it. You can, of course, buy them. I can't see how even a good hollow chisel mortiser is as quick as a domino. I have used oversize more typical dimension tenons several times with my domino and even with cutting those tenons it was quicker than cutting an integral tenon.

    But for a few windows and a door I don't know if it is worthwhile to get a domino. The OP will have to decide. There isn't really anything better about a domino mortise and tenon joint than a more traditional joint. It is just quicker to make. But buying it, making the joints, and then reselling it is also very possible. They are popular for a reason. I find myself using a lot more mortise and tenon joints now because they are so simple and quick to make. I got the XL because I did not want to be limited to 1 inch deep and 3/8 wide (10mm) joints. But it is even more than the smaller one. Another big advantage for me is it takes up very little space in the shop.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Rosenthal View Post
    My issue is as follows:
    I have a 90 year old house which, in the current local market, will be torn down to make a townhouse complex when we sell. That's market conditions and a change in the local zoning conditions.
    My old fir windows, single pane, are in good shape but have no screens, nor does the front door. I use shrink plastic for draft-proofing in the winter.
    I promised my family screens on the windows and a screen door this year, no matter what.
    I'm not the worlds greatest furniture maker, so....
    You know you can just go out and _buy_ window screens and screen doors, right? Youíre a contractor, so you know how to make them look pretty good.

    My wife and I have the same discussion every year about tomatoes.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dwight View Post
    I have a benchtop hollow chisel mortiser and a domino XL. I have not used the hollow chisel mortiser since getting the domino. I have not used a floor standing mortiser and if it has a good clamp to hold the work down while withdrawing the first stroke it might be fairly efficient - at the mortise. But you still have to make the tenon. With a domino it's two plunges and you have a joint (assuming you have some tenons to insert). I make the tenon stock in batches out of scraps so I generally have some when I need it. You can, of course, buy them. I can't see how even a good hollow chisel mortiser is as quick as a domino. I have used oversize more typical dimension tenons several times with my domino and even with cutting those tenons it was quicker than cutting an integral tenon.

    But for a few windows and a door I don't know if it is worthwhile to get a domino. The OP will have to decide. There isn't really anything better about a domino mortise and tenon joint than a more traditional joint. It is just quicker to make. But buying it, making the joints, and then reselling it is also very possible. They are popular for a reason. I find myself using a lot more mortise and tenon joints now because they are so simple and quick to make. I got the XL because I did not want to be limited to 1 inch deep and 3/8 wide (10mm) joints. But it is even more than the smaller one. Another big advantage for me is it takes up very little space in the shop.
    The goal to efficiency is more than just cutting the joints. It is cutting them so that they locate the parts perfectly each time. This minimizes finishing work. So while a domino and a freestanding mortiser are similarly fast, I know that the joints I cut with freestanding machinery are well positioned and perfectly square. I can assemble the frames without measuring and they are spot on. I usually measure one per batch.

    For dominos their is slack in the joint and the parts don’t self align as well as precision cut joinery.

    I cut a typical window sized mortise with the hollow chisel in approx 15 seconds including clamping. Or I cut it with the Maka in less time but I assume his machine is not a Maka.
    Last edited by Brian Holcombe; 03-16-2021 at 8:53 PM.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    The goal to efficiency is more than just cutting the joints. It is cutting them so that they locate the parts perfectly each time. This minimizes finishing work. So while a domino and a freestanding mortiser are similarly fast, I know that the joints I cut with freestanding machinery are well positioned and perfectly square. I can assemble the frames without measuring and they are spot on. I usually measure one per batch.

    For dominos their is slack in the joint and the parts donít self align as well as precision cut joinery.
    Brian, do you find the Domino to be useful in any of your work?

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