Festool recently released the Domino XL DF 700, big brother to its revolutionary Domino DF 500, one of the most innovative tools of the last few decades. Aside from the size, the loose-tenon joints created by the XL are the same as with the earlier version. From a machine that resembles a biscuit joiner, a router-type bit both plunges and oscillates to cut mortises in mating parts. Into each mortise fits a loose tenon, or “Domino.”
How’s the fit? As good as I’ve seen, whether cut by hand or power. And lining up the joint couldn’t be easier.Cut butt joints on square or angled parts, align the two mating pieces and mark the tenon location on both pieces with one quick swipe of your pencil. Line up the machine and make the plunge cuts. The XL also has an improved indexing system that allows for even less measuring.
For the combination of speed and strength, this joinery system is tough to beat.
While the original machine (7 lbs.) handles loose tenons in five thicknesses (from 4 to 10mm), the noticeably heavier XL (11.4 lbs.) handles Dominos 8,10, 12 and 14mm thick. But the more meaningful difference is that the Domino XL plunges much deeper than the original. Instead of maxing out at 28mm like the original, the XL cuts mortises from 15 to 70mm deep (which means loose tenons can be as long as 51⁄2″).
If you often tackle large-scale projects such as doors, beds or hefty architectural elements, the Festool Domino XL deserves serious consideration.
The basic kit is $1,200 (it includes the tool and loose tenons). Pricey? Yes. But you’ll be amazed by the time saved without sacrificing strength.
Video: See a collection of XL reviews.
From the October 2012 issue #199
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