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Festool Domino DF 500

Tips, Tricks, and Cool Joinery Projects for the Festool Domino DF 500

At first glance, the small, lightweight Festool Domino DF 500 vaguely resembles a simple biscuit joiner. Don’t be fooled. Tim Snyder of Woodcraft Magazine says the Domino is “in a class by itself.”

The Festool Domino DF 500 is not only portable—it’s also more precise, flexible, powerful, and efficient than other handheld mortise-and-tenon joinery tools. And rather than cutting shallow biscuit slots, this Festool crafts accurate, smooth, and professional mortises across a range of mortising widths. Their ready-made selection of premade loose tenon “Dominos” (hence the name) keeps projects streamlined and results consistent.

How has Festool managed to put a stationary-quality mortising system in the palm of your hand? It starts with the unique drivetrain in the Festool Domino DF 500, which brings a precise oscillating action up to router-level RPMs. It’s easy to make adjustments to the tool and customize your loose-tenon joinery to the individual project with Festool’s versatile selection of spiral-fluted cutters.

But what sort of projects does the Domino do best? Where does it excel? Our customers love to use it for joinery on woodworking projects like:

  • Small furniture
  • Cabinet frames and doors
  • Delicate slat assemblies
  • Face frames
  • Seamless wood tables
  • And more!

Getting Started with Festool - A Guide For Remodelers

We’d like to share a few of the best tips and tricks that owners have picked up while using Festool Domino tools and tenons on their woodworking projects.

  • Take it easy. The Festool Domino DF 500 is strong, fast, and precise. This can make it tempting to make quick plunges if you’ve got a lot of mortises to cut. When you first start out, make sure to slow down and use a measured pace. Even a professional tool like the Domino will allow for human error if you’re not careful. Try gripping it from the back, near the power cord, rather than the front.  You’ll start to speed up as your joinery techniques acclimate to the Domino’s high-grade performance.
  • Set aside a few “test” dominos. If you lightly sand a few extra dominoes (and mark them to make sure they don’t get mixed back in), you can reserve them to test dry fits. The “domino” tenons for the Festool Domino DF 500 are precise and tight. This can make for a lot of tugging with pliers while disassembling. 
  • Try mixing precise and wider mortises. Connecting a shelf with a line of dominos? Plunge a narrow, tight mortise on one end as an anchor/guide, then use a slightly wider setting for the rest. This gives you some wiggle room to account for a slight margin of positional error. Most of the strength of a loose tenon joint comes from the fit and glue surface, and on the faces of the mortise and tenon—little will be lost with the extra width.
  • Glue channels will prevent messes. If you’re concerned about excess glue staining the surface area around joints, you might try slightly sanding the rounded ridges on the narrow edges of your dominos. This can create a channel for excess glue to fill/escape during assembly, which will prevent unwanted glue spillage without affecting the domino’s precise fit. 

Cool Joinery Projects to Try With Your Festool Domino DF 500!

1. Building an Outdoor Table

This 6-part video series from Festool shows you everything from ripping the materials to the loose tenon joinery work (episode 5) to softening the edges of the finished tabletop.

2. Riker 84" Black Walnut Entryway Bench

Tusker Wood & Stone Concepts used their Festool Domino joiner for a custom bench with black walnut and western maple woods.

3. Frameless and Face Frame Cabinets (a 9-part series)

Festool put together this 9-part video tutorial series to demonstrate two types of cabinet construction: frameless and face frame. The Domino plays a critical role in episode 5.

4. Oak Walnut Pro-Type Table or River Table

Manor Wood has been working on river tables—a really cool design trend right now—and wanted to test a loose tenon table design on a 3-plane oak walnut table before committing to casting and polishing a ton of resin. This design will next make its way into a Manor Wood river table project.

Looking for a Festool Domino & It’s Accessories? We’ve Got You.

Come check out our vast array of Festool Domino products at US Tool & Fastener! We’ll also be happy to chat with you about your project and share some more advice we’ve collected from customers like you.

Getting Started with Festool - A Guide For Remodelers

30 October 2020

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