Beyond basic mortise and tenon joinery/carcass construction the Festool Domino XL also has potential to replace my biscuit joiner.
I’ve been working on a curly cherry shaker console table for our dining room and wanted to see how well the indexing fence would work in gluing up a table top. The first step was milling the wood and laying it out to get the best grain patterns.From there I marked out where I wanted the dominoes — being careful to make sure when the top is cut to final size no domino would be exposed. I also marked the center lines on blue tape to save with later cleanup.
TIP: set the tape back from the edge — otherwise you run the risk of having blue tape forever captured in your joint and ruining the appearance of the top.
I started off working the same way I would with a biscuit joiner — using the center line as my guide. Things moved along well and with the dust collector attached the machine left nice clean holes. On the second joint I used the indexing fence to speed up production. The key to using this fence well is making sure that you have BOTH fences set exactly the same and doing a test cut on scrap wood — this way you can be sure your joints line up the way you want. The first time using this method I did the same measuring and tape technique to gauge if I was drifting at all. If you are diligent in applying pressure so that your indexing pin is firmly in place you’ll be amazed with the result.If you are worried about the drift, you can set the machine to cut wider mortises and give some wiggle room like you have with biscuits. (I would recommend this technique for very long table tops — the more dominos you use in a row the more chance you have of making an error — but when going this route you have to be mindful of how your wider mortises can affect where the next mortise is set and lead you to drift off from where you expect as the extra room adds up — so use it with caution and/or mark things out as I have done above)
In an upcoming post I will cover using the domino to construct the carcase to support this table top — wherein the skirt boards were all made from a single piece of wood and provides a continuous grain pattern across the piece including the drawer fronts. Stay tuned.