Festool Domino: Thinking Outside the Box

One of the best things in life is time. It’s a scarce commodity for most people to find time to spend with loved ones, time to loaf around the house or time to experiment in the workshop.

This week, we finished the latest issue of our sister publication, Woodworking Magazine. You won’t see the issue in all the normal locations. This issue is our first digital download version (you’ll be able to download a copy at woodworking-magazine.com/backissues) or you can watch the blog for a list of retailers in your area carrying the printed copy. But, before we jump full force into our next issue of Popular Woodworking, we’ve got a day or so to play. Time to have a bit of fun in the shop. So, what to do?

Months ago, when the Festool Domino came into vogue here in America, Editor Chris Schwarz and I discussed the tool and what you could do with it that was outside the norm. One of the ideas bantered back and forth was to use the Domino to join a drawer. Now I had the time to give it a try. I’m going to share what I did and see if it awakens your creativity.

In my book “Building Fine Furniture” (Popular Woodworking Books), I built a jewelry box  that leaned to the contemporary side trapezoid-shaped drawers. I assembled the drawer boxes with dowel pins drilled through the sides and into the rabbeted fronts. So why not use the Domino the same way?

Out in the shop, I grabbed a few scraps to serve as makeshift drawer parts, and set about preparing the Domino for the job. I needed to assemble the drawer parts prior to cutting the slots, so I turned to Cyanoacrylate glue. It holds well in this situation and sets quick.

With a 1/2″ x 1/2″ rabbet at the drawer front, I decided to use the 5mm x 30mm Dominos. I wanted the Domino to be centered in the 1/2″ rabbet. I marked the proposed Domino centers spaced evenly along the edge of the drawer front , even though this is playtime, I still want the end result to look good , and made the cuts with the tool.

Here’s a word of caution. For my first attempt, I loaded the glue into the slots and drove home the Dominos. As I seated the Domino with the mallet, I also forced the extra glue from the slot. As the residual amount gushed outward, it disengaged the side from the front. I broke the CA joint.

On the second try I added the correct amount of glue and swabbed the glue around the sides of the slot, tapped the Domino into the slot and bingo , joint complete. I think you’ll agree the end result is a contemporary look created with a tool designed for loose-tenon construction.

I enjoy finding different ways to use existing tools. The Domino is a completely new tool from which to springboard. How about you? Have developed any non-traditional uses for the Festool Domino? How about other tools in your shop? If you have, share them with us by clicking below on “comments” and speaking your piece.

There are many of us who enjoy this type of discovery , if only we had extra free time to make it happen more often.

, Glen Huey

2 thoughts on “Festool Domino: Thinking Outside the Box

  1. Thomas Karlmann

    With the example shown, I would be concernend about holding power with that tiny bit of short grain holding in the pins. Why not use a smaller tenon and put it in at an angle?

  2. Michael

    This was a great little "teaser" article. With the increasing popularity of the Domino, you might want to consider expanding on this idea and doing more articles of this type, along with a detailed "how-to" on the steps you used. I think it would appeal to many different levels of Domino users.

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