Festool Domino DF500 Joining System
Published by Schiffer Publishing, West Chester, Pennsylvania USA
As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 147
When the Festool Domino DF 500 was introduced in 2006, the July/August Issue of The Australian Woodworker asked: (Is this) The Future of woodworking?
Here was a tool that promised to replace the mortise and tenon joint - at least for many purposes - with a machine cut slot and its precisely made domino; (virtually a free tenon). The slots can be cut with amazing speed and the non-twist dominoes hold the joint firmly and securely. These advantages alone were enough to attract attention, but further examination brought the revelation that the tool could be applied with almost equal ease to both straight and angled joints and that in many cases, marking out was either minimal or practically unnecessary.
In the three years since then, the Festool Domino has made a major impact upon the way in which woodworking is performed by many professional and recreational woodworkers. But there is still a long way to go before we see this innovative system employed in most workshops.
Perhaps this new book will help more woodworker's appreciate the benefits of the Domino while helping those who have already purchased one to achieve its full potential.
The first section of the book is devoted to Basics - and they really are basics, with large photos and brief text descriptions covering all of the adjustments available. Unfortunately, it is in this section that the one drawback of this book first appears. Despite the reputation of its publisher, Festool Essentials is not as well edited as it should be.
Some of the letters overlaid on the top photo on page 23 are incorrect. The notes to this photo are, however, correct and it takes only a moment to work out the features to which they refer. As it happens, one of these notes was of special importance to the writer who, despite having used a Domino for almost two years, must confess to never having realised that two of the three triangular cut-outs in the fence reference the inside edges of the two spring loaded stop pins.
Perhaps this illustrates that the minor errors in the text, annoying though they may be, are unlikely to detract much from the usefulness of the book since they are generally obvious and the exceptionally good photos tend to make up for them.
The next section explores the Basic Joint. It's interesting that it begins with a photo showing two boards lying side by side, each marked with a small cross at their lower corners. The text referring to this photo says: "The process begins by marking two abutting corners on the top surface of the board that will be joined. It is the only mark you will need to make."
This note not only supports the previous statement about the minimal need for mark-up, it also illustrates the style and brevity of the text that accompanies the photos.
After 10 pages dealing with the Basic Joint, there is a section on the use of the Cross Stop, then another discussing the Trim Stop. These are followed by examples of a Basic Butt Joint, a Right-Angled Handrail Joint (ie. joining large dowels at right angles), a brief note on the use of the Support Bracket, then other examples - a Butting Case Joint, Mitred Cabinet Corner and a Compound Mitre Joint.
The final section of the first part of the book shows how to adjust the spring loaded stop pins.
The second part of the book is devoted to the several models in the Festool Dust Extraction System. These are specifically designed for use with the Festool Domino but can, of course, be used with other tools fitted with dust extraction ports.
Festool has been making dust extractors of this type for many years and it is an indication of the sophistication of their latest range that it takes roughly half this book to explain their various features. These include HEPA filters, a filter scrubber (to remove the accumulation of dust and debris on the internal filter without opening the machine), a bypass blower port (to pipe unpleasant odours away from the worksite), a hose storage space inside the machine and a facility to allow attachment of a Festool Systainer for tools.
The book will probably be seen as essential reading for owners of a Festool Domino, but those contemplating the purchase of one may also wish to read it to discover what they could do with the tool.
Units of Measurement: Imperial and Metric