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Author Topic: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction  (Read 12162 times)

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Offline jacko9

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Hello, I'm a new owner of a Domino Joiner and was in a rush to complete a new TV stand so I used the Domino Joiner to construct a case out of Honduras Mahogany with row of tenons.  My question is did I assume too much by joining the sides to the top and bottom with the short grain of the wood in the side joints being a relatively weak glue joint?  If I were to cut this by hand, I would use rectangular mortises where I could maximize the long grain to long grain glue joint.  I am about to construct another TV stand for my son out of the same mahogany and wonder if using the Domino Joiner is a sound construction Technique for this application.  Attached is a picture of the first cabinet I made.

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Offline Festool USA

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Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2010, 09:56 PM »
Thanks for the question and sharing your project. Hopefully some of the other forum members will provide some of their experience regarding the use of the Domino in similar joints.  However, I think first we should find out what size and how many tenons were used in the joints.  The Domino tenons are certainly capable of creating a sound joint for this application assuming that enough tenons were used in the joinery.  From the photo, it looks like the depth of the cabinet is about a foot.  Using about 4 tenons should be more than adequate in that case.

Edit: You can refer to the manual included with your Domino for some general guidelines on Domino tenon placement.  I would also recommend that you check out the very thorough supplemental manual by Rick Christopherson.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2010, 10:12 PM by Shane Holland »

Offline jacko9

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Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2010, 10:20 PM »
Thanks for your speedy reply.  The cabinet is 18" deep and I used 6 tenons along each edge joined.  The cabinet pieces are about 1" thick and I believe that I used the #8 tenons.  I'll take more pictures of the case under construction as I build the second cabinet.  The center H section also used the Domino joints with 6 tenons along each section of that sub-assembly.

I already had the Mahogany glued up when we bought our new TV so, the entire project from cutting the slabs to length to finishing took a weekend.  The Domino Joiner is a great time saver and I've also built a Black Walnut Coffee Table and Mahogany fireplace surround with the Joiner.

Thanks Shane, I did have a copy of Rick's supplemental manual and found it very useful.  To be clear on what I'm asking on page 17 of his manual he shows making a carcase in solid wood using butt joints with the Domino Joiner.  The mortises in the vertical side pieces only provide end grain for a glue joint except for the starter mortise with the tightest setting where you do get some long grain glue surface.  While I recognize that mechanically the joints are probably over-designed,  I wonder if over a long period of time will the end grain glue joints loosen up?  I may be over analyzing this problem but, at the current cost of Honduras Mahogany, I would like to have long term confidence in what I build.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 11:21 AM by jacko9 »

Offline jonny round boy

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Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2010, 04:07 AM »
Jacko,

That's a beautiful cabinet, and I for one see no problems with how you've constructed it. The joints in question are fine - the bottom board is only holding the weight of whatever is in the cupboard (you're not storing gold bullion in there, are you? [big grin] ). The top board isn't carrying any weight at all, since the main top piece will carry all the weight of the TV directly to the vertical ends. Modern flat-panel TV's don't weigh that much anyway.

If you're making a second to the same design, then there's no reason to change. Go forth and Domino as you did before!
Festoolian since February 2006

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Offline bruegf

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Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2010, 08:55 AM »
Jacko,

My 6' high homemade sysport made out of particle board core melamine was built with the bottom panel domino'd into the side panels using 3 5mm dominos per joint and glued w/ gorilla glue.   I'd guess I have quite a bit more weight I'm supporting plus it gets rolled around in my shop and I've not had any issues w/ the strength of the joint.

http://festoolownersgroup.com/festool-jigs-tool-enhancements/home-made-sysports/60/ 

Look about half way down the page for a couple photos of the sysport.    I'm sure my bottom panel joints have far more stress on them than your cabinet will and I've not had any problems.

Fred
Fred

Offline fshanno

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Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2010, 10:29 AM »
If you used the narrow setting and had to tap the tenons in you could put 10 of those TV's on that stand.  On the snug setting your TV stand would hold together to some extent without glue.  Fine Woodworking did a joint test using a single 10x50 in a rail to style joint with 3" boards simulating a typical cabinet door.   That single joint held something like 600 lbs.  You could stand on a five piece door put together with 10x50's.  The hinge screws will rip out first.  Hurricane Ike ripped a door off an outdoor cabinet I built.  I used Blum compact face frame hinges and the screws were ripped out of the style.  90 mph winds carried the door 30 feet until it hit a wooden fence.  The door was fine, a few scratches, and it was made from pine.   A single 10x50 at each joint.  The only problem with the Domino is the depth.  The new Domino that's coming out will fix even that.
The one thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history.

Offline jacko9

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Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2010, 11:25 AM »
Jacko,

That's a beautiful cabinet, and I for one see no problems with how you've constructed it. The joints in question are fine - the bottom board is only holding the weight of whatever is in the cupboard (you're not storing gold bullion in there, are you? [big grin] ). The top board isn't carrying any weight at all, since the main top piece will carry all the weight of the TV directly to the vertical ends. Modern flat-panel TV's don't weigh that much anyway.

If you're making a second to the same design, then there's no reason to change. Go forth and Domino as you did before!

Thanks for your comments Jonny round boy.   I'm sure it's structurally strong enough to carry what I store in there but, unfortunately I used all my gold bullion to buy my tools and wood.  [wink]

Offline CList

  • Posts: 46
Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2010, 11:42 AM »
Wow man, that's a really sharp looking cabinet. I'm a sucker for anything that uses more traditional construction techniques / materials but has a nice clean modern look.

Reading this thread and the thread on the Systainer building combined with my recent annoyances with getting my new Kreg jig and pocket screws to to create a nice *flush* cabinet corner (without the piece being screwed into riding up on the piece holding the screws - I gotta go back and watch some more of those Kreg videos...) has just about convinced me to get a Domino. Too bad because funds are limited these days and I know I'd get a lot more use out of a T15+3 to replace my old, heavy, can't-hold-a-charge-too-long Dewalt drill. I definitely see the domino as what I call a "Tier 1" Festool product - i.e. there's not much out there that's similar and it's really tough to DIY something that will give you close to the same functionality. I see the plunge saws  + guide rails as being in the same category.

Question though, what did you mean by this:
Quote
A single 10x50 at each joint.  The only problem with the Domino is the depth.  The new Domino that's coming out will fix even that.

What's the depth problem? And when's the new Domino coming out?

Do those of you with dominoes ever use, e.g. pocket screws to build simple cabinets - or do you find the domino is just as fast? Would you make, e.g. a whole set of plywood kitchen cabinets with dominos? If no, then what do you use as your requirements for using one type of joint vs. the other? How does the domino handle plywood - same as solid wood?

Thanks all,
CList



p.s. I apologize for my noobishness, I'm more of an engineer than a craftsman, and have only just recently acquired the space and tools to start building with wood...
« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 11:42 AM by CList »

Offline jacko9

  • Posts: 2381
Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2010, 11:46 AM »
If you used the narrow setting and had to tap the tenons in you could put 10 of those TV's on that stand.  On the snug setting your TV stand would hold together to some extent without glue.  Fine Woodworking did a joint test using a single 10x50 in a rail to style joint with 3" boards simulating a typical cabinet door.   That single joint held something like 600 lbs.  You could stand on a five piece door put together with 10x50's.  The hinge screws will rip out first.  Hurricane Ike ripped a door off an outdoor cabinet I built.  I used Blum compact face frame hinges and the screws were ripped out of the style.  90 mph winds carried the door 30 feet until it hit a wooden fence.  The door was fine, a few scratches, and it was made from pine.   A single 10x50 at each joint.  The only problem with the Domino is the depth.  The new Domino that's coming out will fix even that.

Thanks for your comments fshanno.  I'm aware of the Fine Woodworking joint test and understand how a rail to style joint could be that strong but, the joints I'm referring to are long grain to end grain glue joints and I didn't see any tests on that kind of structure in their results.  I actually have a lot of confidence in what I built but, I don't see a lot of carcase work being built out of solid wood being shown online or in print.  My only concern is long term integrity of the side grain to end grain glue joint and I could be just worrying too much.

Offline jacko9

  • Posts: 2381
Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2010, 12:00 PM »
Wow man, that's a really sharp looking cabinet. I'm a sucker for anything that uses more traditional construction techniques / materials but has a nice clean modern look.

Reading this thread and the thread on the Systainer building combined with my recent annoyances with getting my new Kreg jig and pocket screws to to create a nice *flush* cabinet corner (without the piece being screwed into riding up on the piece holding the screws - I gotta go back and watch some more of those Kreg videos...) has just about convinced me to get a Domino. Too bad because funds are limited these days and I know I'd get a lot more use out of a T15+3 to replace my old, heavy, can't-hold-a-charge-too-long Dewalt drill. I definitely see the domino as what I call a "Tier 1" Festool product - i.e. there's not much out there that's similar and it's really tough to DIY something that will give you close to the same functionality. I see the plunge saws  + guide rails as being in the same category.

Question though, what did you mean by this:
Quote
A single 10x50 at each joint.  The only problem with the Domino is the depth.  The new Domino that's coming out will fix even that.

What's the depth problem? And when's the new Domino coming out?

Do those of you with dominoes ever use, e.g. pocket screws to build simple cabinets - or do you find the domino is just as fast? Would you make, e.g. a whole set of plywood kitchen cabinets with dominos? If no, then what do you use as your requirements for using one type of joint vs. the other? How does the domino handle plywood - same as solid wood?

Thanks all,
CList



p.s. I apologize for my noobishness, I'm more of an engineer than a craftsman, and have only just recently acquired the space and tools to start building with wood...

CList,  Thanks for your comments.  I have built plywood cabinets with butt joints and screws, biscuit joinery with my Lamello Joiner, and dado joints with screws but, once I built with the Domino Joiner, I would never use any of them again.  On solid wood face frames IMO, the Domino Joiner is superior to any other small shot method that I'm aware of.  On solid wood furniture,  I'm still feeling my way with the Domino Joiner but I wish I still had my horizontal slot mortiser for some work.

Offline Jon Hilgenberg

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Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2010, 05:30 PM »
Wait, there's a new DOMINO coming out?! [eek]

I'm looking to buy one in a month or two...is there any chance this is coming out by then?
The more Festools I buy, the more money I earn.  The more money I earn, the more Festools I buy.  The more...
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Offline Tom Bellemare

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Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2010, 08:26 PM »
I don't think so, at least not here...


Tom

Offline Toolfest

  • Posts: 61
Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2010, 08:31 PM »
Fshanno was referring to the larger sized Domino machine that is being developed. It was talked about in the past. Here is a link to that thread.


New Domino XL
« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 08:36 PM by Toolfest »

Offline CList

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Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2010, 11:01 AM »
Don't want to hijack the thread, but thought I'd post a quick follow up here...

...based on the glowing recommendations by the users here I broke down and splurged for a Domino on Monday!

I played around with it a little to get the feel for it, and then started making a sysport* as a quick demo project - using the dominos for the cabinet as well as 4mm dominos for some of the drawer box construction. I have to say... I LOVE IT! I was little anxious about the new flip-dogs vs. the old metal pins for the edges guides, but my dogs were in perfect alignment (used the edge-join two pieces test from Rick's manual). Similarly the cursor guide is perfectly aligned and I find it very quick and easy to just put a few marks on the two pieces to join and just put my mortises there rather than using the cross stops (I got the kit) - i mean you really don't need to measure the spacing of the mortices - you just need to make sure they're the same on each piece. I was very quickly making perfectly aligned joints with 3 or 4 dominos all set to the tightest setting in red oak. I was a little skeptical when I played with it in the store as the sound of the machine is a little odd - kind of like the chatter of an angry squirrel - and it seems like the bit moves so slowly that it couldn't do an effective job - but man, that thing works great. The only thing that took a little getting used to was the feel for perfectly squaring the fence against and edge piece so that the slot isn't tipped up or down - but after doing 5 or 6 tries I got the feel for the pressure points and balance and now every cut is right on the money (as long as I don't get too cocky and rush). ...oh yeah, and I also need to make sure everything is set right on some scrap piece after I change anything: fence height, bit, plunge depth, etc. 
All in all though I couldn't be happier; I'm surprised at how fast and easy it is, and I love being able to do a tight dry fit before final assembly.

As a side note, I got the tool at Tools for Working Wood. I visited their showroom for the first time. It's out in the cabinet-making / warehouse district in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, and it's a very cool place. They sell nothing but Festool and high quality / boutique / hard to find hand tools. I could have spent a good hour there just playing with the stuff on the peg boards. I highly recommend visiting them if you're anywhere near them.

They also had one of these:
Starrett Builders Combination Tool - 24"
...which I'd never seen before, and I fell in love. Nice big 24" blade, protractor, level, that thing has it all, and so tight, so smooth. I'd never handled a Starrett adjustable square so I had no idea why people rave about them, but now I know. Someday...

Just thought I'd share.

Cheers Guys,
Chris


*  funny that I didn't need a sysport until I got more festool gear, but I wanted the festool gear to make the sysport!
« Last Edit: April 29, 2010, 11:06 AM by CList »

Offline jacko9

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Re: Using the Domino Joiner
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2010, 11:34 AM »
Way to go CList - I'm sure you'll continue to love your new machine.  I'm using my currently building a mahogany cabinet for my son and each time I use the Domino I appreciate it more than ever.  Post your project when you finish it and that Starrett Builders Combination Tool is a great tool.  Early in my career (over 40 years ago) I was working as a machinist apprentice and learned to appreciate Starrett tools.  I have a 3 foot Starrett straight edge and a 12" steel square that I use to check my other tools and it is reassuring when you know your reference is top quality.

Offline Greg Powers

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Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2010, 06:24 PM »

They also had one of these:
Starrett Builders Combination Tool - 24"
...which I'd never seen before, and I fell in love. Nice big 24" blade, protractor, level, that thing has it all, and so tight, so smooth. I'd never handled a Starrett adjustable square so I had no idea why people rave about them, but now I know. Someday...


That Starrett 439-24 Builders Combination Tool is $396.00. is it that good?
Greg Powers
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Offline CList

  • Posts: 46
Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2010, 10:26 AM »

They also had one of these:
Starrett Builders Combination Tool - 24"
...which I'd never seen before, and I fell in love. Nice big 24" blade, protractor, level, that thing has it all, and so tight, so smooth. I'd never handled a Starrett adjustable square so I had no idea why people rave about them, but now I know. Someday...


That Starrett 439-24 Builders Combination Tool is $396.00. is it that good?

Ah ... the value-proposition question - always tough to answer!

It's not worth it for me, or I'd have bought one :D

It is kind of a unique tool in it's combination of functions, and a little bit big at 24" (they have an 18" one for $369). OTOH, the feel of the thing when you unlock, move, and the re-lock either the protractor or the stock is amazingly smooth and tight. It transmitted a message from my fingers to my brain that said; "trust me, man I am as square as square can get. I am an exacting instrument that will help bring order to a chaotic world".

It does a lot in one tool, and for tools like that I always worry about the vice-grip axiom: "the wrong tool for every job". In my case, I could just get a 24" Starrett combination square for less than 1/2 the price and do 90% of the things I'd ever use this for. Am I going to take out a $400 square to check for level and plumb when I'm standing shoulder-to-shoulder with some day-laborer type guy framing a wall with steel stud? No thanks, I don't think so. So yeah, how often are you going to be checking for plumb, or checking the angle of your rafters (where the protractor + level would be very helpful) with a really high quality tool that you can bring to the site? - that's where this thing would really shine.

Still, I just love it almost as an "heirloom piece"; like they say on the Bridge City Tools site (to paraphrase); "the kind of tool you can pass on from generation to generation", and it's quite unique in its build quality and functionality.

Here's the Starrett page, that I should have included in my other post: http://www.starrett.com/download/379_cat_70_p98.pdf

Cheers,
Chris


Offline Rob-GB

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Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2010, 11:12 AM »
Chris, I just looked at that link and I can do everything shown with my trusty Stanley roof framing square!! Which by the way cost me about 15 GBP twenty odd years ago, looks to me like it is overpriced, ye gods! [scared] and people moan about Festool pricing ;D ;D [big grin]
regards Rob.

Offline CList

  • Posts: 46
Re: Using the Domino Joiner for solid wood case construction
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2010, 11:53 AM »
Chris, I just looked at that link and I can do everything shown with my trusty Stanley roof framing square!! Which by the way cost me about 15 GBP twenty odd years ago, looks to me like it is overpriced, ye gods! [scared] and people moan about Festool pricing ;D ;D [big grin]
regards Rob.

Indeed, it's very similar to the Festool value question, and it's purely subjective; one man's waste of money is another man's matter of necessity (or irrational desire?). I have a freind who makes his living day in day out doing custom millwork while I'm just hobbiest; he thinks I'm a sucker for buying the domino when in his opnion any $190 biscuit joiner is just as good and the biscuits are cheaper and readily available... ...so there ya go...

I too have a Stanley combination square ("speed square") that I use all the time, though for doing things like calibrating / tuning my tools or making exact markings, I use an engineer's square and/or an engineer's rule. I can also say the difference in feel, finish, and weight between the Starrett and the Stanley is huge, as is the precision of the rules. Measuring to the 1/32 on my stanley would be a bit more arbitrary than it would be on the Starrett. Is it worth 10 or 20 times the price? That's for each man to decide. Just like Festool; if it were truly overpriced they wouldn't sell enough to stay in business, and they'd stop making them or bring the price down :D

Cheers,
Chris

Offline CList

  • Posts: 46
Re: Using the Domino Joiner
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2010, 04:03 PM »
Way to go CList - I'm sure you'll continue to love your new machine.  I'm using my currently building a mahogany cabinet for my son and each time I use the Domino I appreciate it more than ever.  Post your project when you finish it and that Starrett Builders Combination Tool is a great tool.  Early in my career (over 40 years ago) I was working as a machinist apprentice and learned to appreciate Starrett tools.  I have a 3 foot Starrett straight edge and a 12" steel square that I use to check my other tools and it is reassuring when you know your reference is top quality.

Well so far my projects haven't been anything to really show off! I paused on what what was supposed to be my "getting a feel for the tools" project (oak-ply printer cabinet), got distracted by other things in my little shop that needed doing, and then got the Domino. The sysport I'm making basically follows Fred's work almost exactly from the link he posted:
http://festoolownersgroup.com/festool-jigs-tool-enhancements/home-made-sysports/60/

I got cheap 24" melamine from HD (in some cases chipped because the HD in Brooklyn is a big pile of stinky poop with all the stock in the wrong places, and lots of shelves empty or full of abused inventory), some 1/4" MDF for the drawer slides, drawer front pull/systainer stops from 1x3 red oak I had laying around ripped to 1x1.5, made the drawer bottoms and backs from leftover white-lacquered blanks from the Ikea kitchen I put in at my wife's store, so yeah, a real hack-job! I will say, however that it's coming together very nicely (just need to make two more drawers and I'm done) - at least from a fit perspective if not from a finish perspective.

One cool thing I did with the domino is make an adjustable stop for the back-side of the systainer in the drawer. Like Fred, I made my cabinet deep with room for storage behind the systainers. The thing is that I wanted to be able to store my jig saw and trim router from a ... uh....    a certain company who name isn't Festool... in the same sysport. The height and width of their cases are the same as a SYS-2, but they are about 2" deeper (and they're blue, with red lettering). So this is what I did with the domino to allow me to move the "backstop" if I want to change the type of container going in a given sys-2 height drawer, glue is only used on the stop-piece, and it just plugs into the drawer bottom with friction. Note that the outer holes are exact-fit the center one is loose fit - wish I had made the center ones exact as well...

...note that the drawer sides are not yet attached to this drawer, and the front and back pieces are also attached with Dominos and already glued up by the time I got to this stage. ...er, oops, you can't see the front in this pic, oh well, I'll post more soon...


Cheers,
C



« Last Edit: April 30, 2010, 04:11 PM by CList »