festool domino alternative domino

Make your own Dominos

The Festool Domino DF700 is a loose tenon boring machine that has an easy to use and accurate alignment mechanism.

Dominos are overpriced

I decided to manufacture my own Festool style Dominos. The wooden joiners are a revelation and they do improve workflow. But I cannot get over how expensive the original Festool loose tenon joiners are. I don’t see why you should spend on average 200e for a Festool Systainer full of joiners when they are manufactured in bulk. I personally prefer to use the same wood that is being used in my project.

If you don’t own a Festool Domino have a look at our best prices for the Festool Domino.

The Festool jointing system is a perfect system for joining timber components. I use mine for building windows and doors as well as cabinetry. It is fast and strong, and if you make your own loose tenons, it is cheap to use. 

Make your own Festool Dominos for FREE!

In this blog, I will show you how you could save a fortune when using a Festool Domino. I do this on a daily basis and usually, batch them from the same material. 

What timber should I use for Domino Joiners?

You can use most timbers but I tend to use timbers that have certain characteristics. I use knot-free Oak for all my jointing needs because my products are also made of Oak. 

Good Timber should be 

  • Hardwood
  • Long grained 
  • Knot free 

The reasons why Beech is not a good loose tenon?

  • Beech has a short grain 
  • Susceptible to Decay
  • Matches only Beech furniture

Is Beech a good joining wood? Apart from the Sipos Beech is used to make them. I am not a fan of making joiners from Beech. 

I’ve made a Video on manufacturing ‘Festool Dominos’ why not have a look and comment with your thoughts.

How to make Festool Domino loose tenon joiners

Domino loose tenons are easy to make. So why not give it a go. Follow this guide and you could save a fortune as Festool makes huge profits from Festool Systainer dominos sets. 

Tools needed for the production of Festool Domino Alternative

You will need some tools but considering you have already invested in a Festool DF 700 or the smaller DF500. I would be surprised if you have no other machines.

These are the tool I use for making my Festool joiners

  • Table saw
  • Thicknesser
  • Router table
  • Round over cutter or nosing cutter

1, Prepare wood stock for joiner

I use Oak but you can choose another timber that suits your project or it is scrap stock you already have. I then rip the timber to width and thickness. If I was to make my joiners for my DF700 and it’s supplied 12mm TCT Festool cutter I would rip the scrap timber to 14mm by 27mm. This is 2 mm larger than the mortise the Festool DF700 XL makes when a 12mm cutter is installed. The extra size prepares for the next stage. Any length up to 2ft (600mm) is ideal.

2, Thickness the stock to the final size.

If I was in a hurry I would have milled the timber to the exact size in the previous step but instead, I will use my thicknesser. I set my thicknesser table to the exact size required for the Festool mortise. I then thickness the sawn wood to the final size. So now I have a section of 25X12mm. 

3, Mould the round onto the loose tenon stock

The router table is ideal for this stage. I made my router table and fitted it with a Triton router. The Triton is very good as it has a built-in lift mechanism but uses whatever you have. My router is a ½ “ machine and I use both a 12mm nosing cutter and a 12mm diameter round over but not at the same time! 

If you do not have a router table You could build a simple soleplate in timber with a fixed passage for your tenon stock to pass through. You can then place your router in your vice and push the tenon stock through the square hole past the cutter.  Warning, be careful not to overtighten the vice as this could put strain on the router and potentially damage it.

4, Using a router table to make loose tenons

Simply pass the tenon stock over the router cutter. If you are using a round-over you will need to pass the stock for each face. If you are using the other option, the nosing cutter, you only need to pass over the timber domino twice, saving a little time.  

So is it worth making your own Festool Dominos?

Well, that is how I make my loose tenons instead of buying those expensive official Festool Domino Joiners. I have never worked out how much I have saved but I reckon it runs into thousands considering the cost of Festool

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