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Thread: Festool dominos

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Comfort, TX

    Festool dominos

    For those that use them, if you are joining plywood at 90 degrees, do you use the middle settings top and bottom or just on one or the other? Or do you use small everywhere or a combo
    Last edited by tim walker; 06-29-2022 at 4:06 PM. Reason: Spelling

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    NE OH
    I usually use the "tight" setting for the domino closest to the end that most matters, such as the front of a cabinet shelf where you want the front edges perfectly aligned and alignment of the back edge is less critical. Medium setting elsewhere. But that assumes I am using a positive reference for the domino location, such as one of the built in locator stops or a jig or fixture. If I'm just striking a line and using the cursor on the machine to line it up, then I use the medium setting everywhere so I can tap the parts into perfect alignment during assembly. To me, it just depends on whether perfect alignment is critical.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Lebanon, TN
    Same method as Paul, above.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Do you guys use just domino joinery for 3/4 ply? Durable enough? Just curious as I have some cabinet projects coming up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2019
    New Jersey (Morris County)
    I use all tight holes on the first piece, and a single tight hole only on the "show" end of the second piece. The rest are medium. (Which piece you call the first piece and second piece is arbitrary.)

    For installation, I glue all the dominoes in the tight slots of the first piece, and then do the other piece.


    I find the domino joints are very tight. (I have a humid basement.)

    I find if you have more than one tight-to-tight joint, they don't align perfectly (unless you plane the edges of the dominos).

    I find that if you use loose-to-loose settings, the dominos have enough room to skew in the slots and the joint does not go together as easily.

  6. #6
    I typically use biscuits for what you’re describing and find there to be at least as much glue surface and easier assembly because of the little bit of extra side to side play inherent in the biscuit slot.
    Still waters run deep.

  7. #7
    Variation #3:
    I use tight setting close to 100% of the time, as well as striking a line on parts to assemble - ply or solid. A well used 12+ year old DF500 is utilized almost weekly in my full-time shop.


  8. #8
    I use the 700 so I only have two settings. I do not normally use the wider setting to ease alignment of the joint. I do test fit and if something is not well aligned I may recut the joint or reduce the width of the tenon in that location. I think using the wider settings weaken the joint by reducing the glue area.

    It was in solid softwood but I built a dresser with the only joints domino tenons and plugged screws. The drawers were through dominos - they show when you open the drawer. If I built it again I would use shallow dados too in the case, I think they align the cross supports better, but the dresser work fine. But the plugged screws would also work fine without the domino tenons. So I am not sure about using domino tenons in casework. But I like the drawers for a quick and easy alternative. I bought a HF dovetail jig and stripped it down to use making this type of drawer.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Whidbey Island, WA
    Like Jeff I use tight setting 95% of the time, never a problem, and only the wide setting when I had to adjust a joint for example. For cabinets though I use pocket screws wherever possible for speed's sake.
    Timberlight Designs

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Jung View Post
    Like Jeff I use tight setting 95% of the time, never a problem, and only the wide setting when I had to adjust a joint for example. For cabinets though I use pocket screws wherever possible for speed's sake.
    I also use the 700 and tight or wide depends on what I'm doing. If I'm using Dominos to keep a table surface glue-up flat and aligned, I do a tight one in the middle and use the more generous setting from there because it makes getting something "big" together in the clamps easier. For actual joinery that is structural, I try to always "stay tight" and accurate because in those cases, the Dominos are generally replacing traditional tenons.

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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Madison, Wisconsin
    I like the tight setting, but I find it can be hard to insert/remove the dominos for test fit. I usually sand the edges of the dominos a little bit. With the tight setting, that provides just enough wiggle room to adjust the mating pieces. The wide setting seems too sloppy for me. I would prefer a third setting the is between the current "tight" and "medium".

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Blog Entries
    In my world it is like any M&T joint:
    - tight for structural strength.
    - loose if 'strength of joinery' is not required.
    A loose setting would be where movement is desired and the M&T would not normally be glued. Gluing a loose M&T is like wishing for something better unless you are using a reliable gap-filling adhesive.
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

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