Power Tools

Top 5 Festool Domino Alternatives For Beginners

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Jacky C

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Honestly, we have never seen a woodworker who doesn't wait long for a Festool Domino.

It is a handheld power tool that has stormed the woodworking world with its simplicity, speed, and efficacy. 

For the newbies here, we would like to define what a Festool domino does.

It allows you to join different wooden parts, especially furniture, by creating a mortise in one piece. So you can join its mate with the help of a loose tenon or a domino (as the Festool calls it).

The only problem with the Festool Domino is its high-priced statement. It doesn't mean that the price is not worth it. Still, many of the woodworkers cannot buy it because of its range between $1000 to $2000 depending on the equipment you are interested in. DF500 and XL DF700 are the most commonly available sets on Amazon.

Other systems could be used as an alternative, but remember that none of this is as quick and efficient as the Festool Domino. These alternatives include the classic mortise tenon joinery, dowel joints, router, biscuit joinery, and pocket holes. But, using these alternatives relies upon the type of project, the joint strength required, and the time you have.

If you are still wondering why the tool doesn't have a complete substitute, this German company has kept the patent reserved.

So, without much ado, we will list the alternatives which will be discussed in this blog:

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Top 5 Festool Domino Alternatives

Alternative #1: Router 

DEWALT Router, Fixed/Plunge Base Kit, Variable Speed, Soft Start, 2-1/4-HP (DW618PKB)
  • 2-1/4 HP (maximum motor HP), 12.0 amp electronic variable speed motor of DEWALT router provides the power to rout smoothly through...
  • DEWALT plunge router features electronic variable speed with full feedback control for constant speed under load from 8,000-24,000...
  • Micro-fine, depth-adjustment ring provides precise depth adjustments in 1/64-inch increments and adjusts vertically for a constant...
  • Adjustable, tool-free, steel motor cam lock makes depth adjustment and base changes quick and solid-locking
  • Integral, through-the-column dust collection collects 95% of the dust and provides superior bit visibility

If you are not ready to compromise the strength of your joint and Festool Domino doesn't fit into your pocket, you must go for a router.

The router might require a full-blown setup, but with a bit of extra space in your workshop, it can be used for multiple other purposes. 

Also, you will save a lot of money which you can later spend on buying mortise jigs and router bits.

So, a plunge router will fit you best as it allows you to cut a slot according to your needs with its movable bit. You can easily set the bit's depth and get the mortise cut. 

Moreover, another best pro for using a router is that you don't have to buy Festool Dominos, which are way too expensive. You can go for any loose tenons available in the market or build your tenons suitable for the mortise.

Recommended Tool

As you might be looking for a reliable router for all your extensive woodworking joinery needs, DEWALT Router, Fixed Base, 1-3/4-HP (DW616), Yellow gives you the best result at an affordable price.

This great router produces accurate results as its sub-base concentricity gauge encourages centric mortising without effort.

Moreover, its solid design helps in quick and easy bit adjustments for depths up to 1/64-inch. Also, its 11-ampere motor ensures that the router moves smoothly even through the toughest woods, including pine, oak, teak, etc., without vibration.

The home woodworkers would love this piece as it is portable, handy, yet powerful, and an appropriate tool to work with your tables, handrails, cabinets, and more.

Alternative #2: Mortise and Tenon joinery 

Trend MT/JIG Mortise and Tenon Jig
  • RECOMMENDED USE: Cut both the tenon and mortise with one set-up
  • FEATURES: Allows compound angles, dowel holes and rectangle tenons
  • INCLUDES: Jig; clamps; bushing set; set-up bar; adjustment wrench
  • COMPATIBILITY: Use with a plunge router and straight bits
  • CONSTRUCTION: Precision cut steel plates and body

No tools can cut a loose tenon like a Festool Domino because it is quick, accurate, and robust. However, the classic mortise and tenon joint is as efficient as the latest Domino. Although it is not a speedy alternative, it can easily compete with the Domino joinery method with its strength.

All you need is just a chisel, hammer, and a handsaw. 

Be warned that if you are a starter, practice the art of mortise and tenon joinery on some rough wood stock, then keep your hands on the actual project.

It might require a great deal of your time, but surely it will be worth it.

Alternative #3: Dowel joints 

14pcs Pocket Hole Screw Jig 15° Dowel Drill Joinery Kit Woodworking Oblique Drill Guide Set...
  • 【Drill jig for 15° angled holes】: This is a 15° oblique hole drilling jig, pocket hole drill guide set, is an excellent...
  • 【Application】: Pocket Hole Screw Jig can create flush, corner and corner pocket hole joints, used for connecting legs and...
  • 【Various sizes】: Contains 3 drill sizes: 6mm, 8mm, and 10mm. The multi-purpose 15 Degree Dowel Drill Bit Kit can meet your...
  • 【High-quality and durable】: The drilling jig is made of high-quality aluminum alloy, which is durable, and the woodworking kit...
  • 【Easy to use】: 14pcs, easy to use and install, suitable for splicing wood panels. The compact design is easy to use, and the...

Suppose you are struggling to find an alternative to Festool that is strong enough to support your heavy load project. In that case, we suggest Dowel joints would work wonders.

Dowel joint is a cylindrical joint contrary to the dominos in the Festool. Still, they are solid and accurate if made with precision.

However, making dowel joints would take ample time, but if that is not an issue and the only thing that matters is the strength of the joint, then you should go for it.

The tools you require for making dowel joints are a wide drill bit for making cylindrical holes and a doweling jig. 

To be accurate, you must use the drill stops so that the drilled hole is as in-depth as the dowel to ensure the joint is not loose.

The only con of the dowel joints is that it requires a bit of setup along with a period. If that doesn't nudge you, you better start working with the dowel joints.

Recommended Tool

For woodworkers looking for a suggested doweling jig, then Self Center Dowel Jig Kit Self-Centering Doweling Jig Drilling Guide Set is something to buy.

It is a sturdy setup that is entirely resistant to corrosion. It allows accurate positioning along with the convenience of drilling.

This doweling is suitable for the newbies, and even with a little effort, professionals can do wonders with this tool as it is designed to work for different hole and bushing sizes.

Moreover, its self-centering feature is appropriate for multiple sizes of pin joints.

Alternative #4: Biscuit joinery 

WEN JN8504 8.5-Amp Plate and Biscuit Joiner with Case and Biscuits
  • Perfect for edge-joining panels, aligning boards, strengthening joints, and more
  • Adjustable fence helps create biscuit slots at any height or angle
  • Pre-set stops easily adjust to create slots for standard #0, #10, and #20 biscuits
  • 8.5-amp motor rotates the 4-inch carbide-tipped blade at 10,000 RPM

Biscuit joiners are one of the most discussed methods due to their uncanny resemblance with the Festool Dominos. 

Dominos wins the race when it comes to the strength of the joint, but biscuits work well when working with thin plywoods and joints where you don't need much power.

In Domino joinery, loose tenons are used for joining purposes. In contrast, biscuits are utilized for joining two pieces of wood in biscuit joinery. This method is comparable economical to Festool Domino s biscuits. The tool costs less and is more readily available than the branded Festool Domino.

We recommend you use this joinery method while working with non-structural joints like cabinets, jewelry boxes, face frames, and others.

Recommended Tool

Are you in search of a perfect tool for biscuit joinery? 

WEN JN8504 8.5-Amp Plate and Biscuit Joiner with Case and Biscuits is a complete value for money. As if you love to explore different types of projects, its fence is adjustable to different heights and angles to accommodate all kinds of biscuits available in the market. 

Indeed WEN has been known for producing quality woodworking products for ages and mainly for its seamless miter saws, table saws, and planers.

Its 10,000 RPM motor can do wonders while working with corners, edge-to-edge joints, T-joints, miter joints, off-set joints, and whatnot.

Moreover, if you break or lose something, their customer service is so proactive that you will get the broken part the next day.

This splendid biscuit joiner can do wonders for newbie woodworkers due to its cleaner and accurate cuts. Secondly, its dust collecting bag will collect all the sawdust, so you don't need to worry about the footprints left here and there.

Alternative #5: Substitute domino joiner

Triton TDJ600 Duo Dowelling Jointer 710W, 59A
  • Ideal for forming strong, reliable, edge-to-edge and miter corner joints
  • It creates accurately spaced joints along the length of the workpiece
  • Anti-slip pads help prevent movement during the drilling process to ensure fast, reliable jointing
  • The motor housing can be easily removed to replace worn carbon brushes
  • The dust port allows for connection to an extraction system for a clean, safe working environment

You might not be satisfied with all the above alternatives we mentioned in this blog because each one has a downside. Either they are slow, their joints are weak, or they require too much space.

In this case, Triton Duo Dowelling Jointer is the only alternative you will love. It works somewhat similarly to a Festool Domino as it simultaneously creates the mortise and tenon.

It does not create dominos like a Festool but makes a mortise and tenon in the shape of a dowel. Its joint is strong and highly recommended for sturdy projects.

Let me tell you one thing it is way cheaper than the Festool Domino apparatus, it has the easiest learning curve, its setup is simple, and it won't require much space in your workshop.

Moreover, it has a vacuum system that can be attached to your shop's vacuum to reduce airborne dust. Also, its 3-line viewer supports super visibility to encourage accurate positioning of the jointer.

You would also love its adjustable fence that can cut at different angles to help you build your dining table, cabinetry projects, and furniture items. 

To buy this splendid tool, click the link below and get it delivered directly to your home.

Wrap up

There is no second thought that the Festool Domino has equal competitors available in the market, which we have not discussed in this list of alternatives as they are equally pricey.

The reason people are looking for its substitute is due to its heavy price. Therefore, we have tried our best to give you alternatives that accommodate your needs for being quick as well as give you strong joints.

Just remember you can achieve the same result as a Festool Domino by putting in a little extra effort and your hard time adopting these alternatives.

Let us know how helpful this article was to you in the comment box.

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