Category Archives: Tool Reviews

Reviews of tools both new and old

Festool Domino XL Overview

Unpacking and first impressions of the Domino. (I’ve been slow to get online so these pics are a few weeks old and I am working to get caught up on my backlog)

I was chosen to be one of the first 25 North American Test/Demo users of the new Festool Domino XL which is the Domino’s big brother.

Initial Impressions:

  • Like all my other Festools this tool seems to be solidly built and very well designed
  • Fence adjustments and setup are familiar to all who have used the original Domino
  • I like that I has the Festool quick connect power cord that can easily work with Rail Saw and Jigsaw
  • Solves an interesting problem set (loose tenon joinery) in an interesting way that certainly gives my Biscuit joiner a run for its money (It will be interesting to examine the speed comparison to using both systems and cost per domino vs cost per biscuit)
  • Tool feels well balanced given its size and heft
  • New generation Systainers are a definite improvement compared to the 1st generation. Instead of 2 locks its one turn on the front to engage the locking. I also like that old generation units can be attached to the bottom of the new ones, though a little sad its only one way — old units are always relegated to the bottom. I have a few (~4) extra Systainers from McFeelys filled with square drive screw assortments, but I wish the price point would come down on at least the old generation systainer as I’d really stock up on them but they can be prohibitively expensive for other tools.
  • Domino XL Systainer and Domino Tenon Assortment Systainer all have new removable plastic trays instead of the wood dividers in the previous generation. I liked the use of wood in the original generation as it had more feeling of craftsmanship instead of plastic fantastic, but I do like how the new plastic trays can be moved around. I could see if I knew ahead of time what I was working on at a job site just loading up the Domino Systainer’s trays with what I need and traveling a little lighter.

Next post — more of the tool in action and using Domino fences.

Check out the slideshow below (additional comments in the captions):

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Festool CT 36 Dust Extractor

I recently obtained a Festool CT36 Dust Extractor and wanted to share some initial impressions of it. So far I am really impressed with it.

My other dust collectors are a Rigid 5HP wet/dry vac with Hepa filters and a Delta full size dust collector with cannister style filter and cyclone stage.

Each of those tools has a very different dedicated purpose which could potentially overlap in functionality, but the CT36 has earned it’s keep.


  • Collects noticeably more dust compared to a shop vac attached to a domestic tool
  • Adjustable suction control (you can control how intensely the vac sucks up air)
  • Nice solid rubberized fitting secures firmly to tools
  • Tools can be plugged into the dust collector and it turns on and off suction with the tool — I really like this feature since it saves on electricity, noise, etc (albeit this is not a completely new feature as I’ve seen it on older Porter Cable and Fein vacs in years gone by, but they never had enough overall features to warrant the price)
  • True Hepa certified unit (Great for all of us RRPs out there)
  • Anti-static hose (I didn’t have high hopes for that, but compared to my porter cable regular plastic hose, it does make a difference in terms of what sticks to it)
  • On unit storage for the hose and carry handle
  • Kickstand to stop unit from rolling around
  • Ability to lock some systainers to the unit — great for work on the go as you can package up what you need quickly into groups
  • Long 3 prong/grounded power cord
  • Replacable bags are great for when you are dealing with fine materials you don’t want blowing around your shop — fine wood, leaded paint etc


  • Replaceable bags — helps the filters stay cleaner longer, but adds to cost of collecting dust. Looks like for RRP contractors there are some new bags that will allow for easier disposable that seem promising.
  • I don’t see a blower mode (Something my rigid vac has which comes in handy every once in a while — like say when you are filling an office with packing peanuts as part of a morale event)
  • Kickstand is all plastic and could be broken with a hard drop. (Mine arrived broken via shipping but Festool was great about sending a replacement — it was easy to install and works great)
  • Price point is pretty high compared to a domestic shop vac and accessory kit to add on common functionality like the rigid pipes, crevice tool, floor tool etc are a separate option in their own systainer drives it even higher. Though once you get over the price hurdle it really is a well engineered machine and saves you time cleaning up especially at a job site.

Here is a small slide show of the CT36 Dust Extractor:

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