Domino Joining System Changes the Game
Tips and techniques for a revolutionary joinery system
Synopsis: The introduction of Festool’s Domino revolutionized the way Tim Celeski makes furniture. This handheld mortising machine has a spiral bit that plunges into the wood to create a mortise with round ends. You cut a mortise on both parts of the joint, and use a ready-made slip tenon, which Festool calls a Domino, to tie the two parts together. Celeski loves the joint for both its strength and how quick it is to use. And when he combines the tool with a simple jig, he finds it even more useful.
Because of its strength, the mortise-and-tenon is one of the most important joints used in furniture making. It’s perfect for connecting table aprons to legs, the rails and stiles of a door frame, and chair stretchers to legs.
Through the years, I’ve learned to cut the joint with a variety of techniques and tools, from backsaws and mortising chisels to bandsaws, tablesaws, routers, hollow-chisel mortisers, and manufactured joinery jigs. These tools and methods can work well, but I always thought they involved either too much finicky setup or a lot of test cuts (both in some cases) to produce a snug-fitting tenon with tight shoulders and flush faces.
That’s why I was excited when Festool introduced the Domino, a revolutionary handheld mortising machine, in 2007. The tool has a spiral bit that plunges into the wood to create a perfect mortise with round ends. You cut a mortise on both parts of the joint, and use a ready-made slip tenon, which Festool calls a Domino, to tie the two parts together. It’s a very strong joint, and best of all, the Domino is much faster than any other mortising technique I’ve used, requiring very little setup to get perfect joints.
The Domino has changed…