How and Why I’m Buying a Festool Domino XL (DF-700)

I learned in Session 9 of the Maple Trestle Table Build that using a router to cut mortises was slow and tiring, and required me to wrestle the heavy slabs into a vertical position.  I certainly didn’t want to bring the wood to a stationary machine such as a hollow chisel mortiser or slot mortiser – even if I got it into position, it would want to tip the whole machine!  A biscuit joiner would have been about as useful as duct tape.  Pocket holes?  Not for this type of project!  A dowelling jig wouldn’t have allowed any lateral expansion so that wouldn’t work either.

Mortised Slabs with Floating Tenons

Yesterday I ordered a Domino XL, which I believe is the best tool for my application.  (If you can think of a better tool, please let me know!)  I wanted the ability to use different thicknesses of tenons so I looked at the options for buying tenons and bits.

To accompany the Domino XL, Festool put together two packages of pre-cut Domino tenons and the appropriate bit(s), all neatly contained Systainers.  One Tenon Assortment comes with 8mm/10mm bits and 8mm/10mm Domino tenons in various lengths while the other comes with a 14mm bit and 12mm/14mm Domino tenons, again in various lengths (a 12mm bit comes with the Domino XL).

The purpose of the Systainers was to keep tools and accessories organized, especially onsite.  Some woodworkers I have talked with like having them in the workshop but I have never found them particularly helpful.

I anticipated using mostly the larger sizes.  With the release of the DF-700, Festool also released 750mm lengths of milled Domino tenon stock which the end user could then cut to whichever length was needed.

I wanted long tenons and the matching bits but not the Systainer.  I sat down and put together a spreadsheet in pretty Festool green and blue or printer-friendly black and white (the far-right column is interesting as it shows the extra cost of pre-cut tenons over the 750mm lengths).  It showed me that for 80% of the cost of the two Tenon Assortments I could order the individual bits and packages of 750mm tenon stock and get 105% more tenon stock.  However, I would not get the two Systainers and would need to cut the tenons myself.  That did not concern me in the least, so that’s what I did.

The Domino XL and accessories arrive June 1, 2012.

18 thoughts on “How and Why I’m Buying a Festool Domino XL (DF-700)

  1. How about butterflys on the back, instead of anything else. 75 pct depth of the top? long enough and thick enough not to break?

    1. Hi Morgan,

      Strength-wise, I think that butterflies could work. However, do you think that butterflies would allow enough expansion and contraction, seeing as there is 45-degree grain meeting long grain over a 14″ section? That is my only concern and the mortises are wider than the tenons so they float.


  2. Expansion and contraction is more concern to me in a bread board scenario. Cross Grain, Long Grain. You have two 14″ connections and lots of open space. Only issue to me, would be the snap strength along that 14″ section. Your floating tenon looks good, but as you said, lots of wood to lift and move. The dovetail nature of the butterfly and the lock that it makes is desireable. We don’t want the connection to move, and it is only 14″… Let the movement happen in the open space.

    1. Hi Morgan,

      This is a quasi-cross grain/long grain joint over 14″. The batten will prevent the joint from failing in the “snap strength” test.

      Another possibility would be to make the dovetail key a sliding dovetail running parallel to the top and bottom faces of the table. That would mean that it would be exposed on at least one edge. It won’t happen for this table, but it’s an interesting idea for future projects.


        1. Hi Larry,

          Yes, I could, but that would negate any advantages of the dovetail shape – it would not mechanically hold the two parts together.

          Now, if I cut the sliding dovetail slot at an angle, I could get it to still be functional and it would come out on one face (probably the bottom). Now there’s an idea! Do you understand what I mean? Thanks for making me think!


    1. Hi Larry,

      The Domino XL is not for everybody. There are other tools that can cut mortises, but this one is the best for my application. That is all the reason I need to justify the purchase.


  3. I can’t think of a better tool for the job, considering the scale of the pieces you work with.

    I look forward (with envy!) to hearing how you get on with it… :-)

  4. Hi Chris, just found your website via Brice B mentioning it on the FOG. Very impressive work. I’m an avid Domino 500 user, and am looking at my tenon options when I go buy my XL in a few weeks. Would love to view your spreadsheet of your analysis of the sys tenon options, but I can’t read the text with such an intense blue background, and struggle even with the green areas also. Any chance you could post or email one without the coloured fields?

      1. Thanks for the B and W version and for putting such a spreadsheet together. I’ve actually changed what initial items I am planning on getting as a result. Thanks again!

I would be delighted if you left a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s