Beginners article/review of the domino XL

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MattRoberts

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woodbrains":181r12o5 said:
And no I do not think, as Matt is sugesting, power tools are cheating. But employing them to compensate for a lack of skill or can'tbearsedness, actually is, plain and simple.

But surely this can be applied to the use of, say, a bandsaw to rip some wood. Sure, I could use a hand saw to make the cut, but it's far less time and get more accurate for me to use the bandsaw. Am I cheating?

Anyway, I do agree that there is value in learning to make joints using much more traditional / low tech ways, but I wouldn't begrudge anyone else for not feeling the same and just buying a domino :)
 

Nelsun

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17z946.jpg


Oh, and:

69674786.jpg
 

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Paddy Roxburgh

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woodbrains":1y5wpvnk said:
Woodmonkey":1y5wpvnk said:
Dominos will not do through mortices, haunched mortices, multiple mortices for tenons joined with stub tenons as you might find in breadboard ends, bridal joints, small square mortices.

Erm, the xl would do all of those (except for the small square ones) and maybe bridal joints (which a mortiser would only do half of anyway)

Hello,

Erm, no it won't, which is why I bothered saying so. Nor will it do tusk tenons or barefaced tenons, birds mouth tenons. These all have to be worked from the solid. They are all things that have to be designed out, to accommodate the domino. Proportion has to be designed around the domino. Dodges and work around a have to be employed to do things that appear to be, or approximate what is done from solid. They are a production tool, which can be justified if production over design is your aim. But I was not commenting about that as such, but the fact the OP seems to think these things are a substitute for putting in the time and getting the skills required.

And no I do not think, as Matt is sugesting, power tools are cheating. But employing them to compensate for a lack of skill or
can'tbearsedness, actually is, plain and simple. Look, if people don't understand that construction techniques and methods dictate significantly to design, and how the finished piece functions and looks, then they are at a serious disadvantage in what they make, and how well it is designed. Think of it as cooking: if all I own is a frying pan, then the recipies I cook will be designed for frying. I'm sure I could make cake in a frying pan and boil eggs, but I'll never attempt soufflé or egg pasta or consommé......

Try designing for real joinery, and see how worlds of possibilities open up rather than be restricted by a tool for the sake of saving time, or learning a skill. And let's be honest, how many times have domino owners said something like, ' I can't make it that thin, I can't fit a domino in, or that rail needs to be wider, to get a domino in.' What happened to the proportion then, designed out or turned a blind eye to, because the machine wouldn't allow our intention. And then things creep in as a symptom; 'let's make all the rails the same width, it saves a machine set up. Let's design out that interesting little shadow gaps there, I can leave the fence set up throughout the job. I cannot stress enough, creativity was never spawned from doing things with labour saving devices. Could be the reason there are no cordon bleu microwave restaurants on the high street.

Mike.

I bought the xl recently with the seneca adapter for using the smaller bits. I have used it a intended but also as a general mortice cutting machine. It is not a complicated task to square up the corners of the mortices to use traditional tenons, I have also done through mortices which I finished off with a chisel. I have also made mortices of different widths with multiple cuts, again not a difficult task. There is no reason why any mortice that can be made on a hollow chisel morticer can not be done with the domino as long as you don't mind a tiny bit of chisel work. The only thing it could not do is cut mortices smaller than the minimum width, but these by their definition are small and I will continue to use a chisel and mallet for these as they don't take long anyway, the time saving is much more relevant on a 3" deep 1/2" mortice. EDIT reading my post has made me remember one thing that annoys me and that is not being able to buy imperial size bits to match my plough plane and mortice chisels, not a biggy and perhaps CMT might start this for the American market (I bought CMT cutters rather than Festool as they are considerably cheaper)
Maybe if I had room I may have gone for a hollow chisel morticer but I an delighted with the results from the domino and the time savings compared to using a router (on a woodrat) or chisel and mallet. There is also no mess when linked to extractor, but most of all it fits in a cupboard.
The one thing I have not done is buy the tenons, it is a very straight forward task to make them, I could see they could be useful if you had no machinery or skills with hand tools, but I am surprised that nearly everyone here, including a few who I consider to be better equipped and more highly skilled than me (Custard for example) seem to buy them.
I think it is a mistake to assume that the domino dictates how you design the furniture, you can use it as intended but what it does is cut easily repeatable holes with very little set up time at your bench (or wherever you take it) and can be used for a lot of tasks. It doesn't really do anything that the woodrat or home made jig and router can't do but it does it quicker and cleaner.
Paddy
 

YorkshireMartin

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Since posting the original I've also made my own domino's out of some leftover maple. Ripped on bandsaw with 3tpi to leave a rough surface on the cheeks, then profiled with a laminate trimmer (ideally router table but i dont have one yet so had to improvise). It took me about 15 minutes to make 5ft of 6mm domino. 6mm dowel isnt available from festool as far as I can see, so this was a cheap as chips way to make longer tenons.

Can't believe how easy it was actually, considering I was initially daunted by the task.
 

doctor Bob

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YorkshireMartin":3rbyvdfo said:
After a career break I'd decided to pursue woodworking as an alternative path. I set aside a significant portion of my savings to pursue the subject, so I would not feel like I had to work to a tight budget, which I felt may have added pressure to an already difficult scenario. I'd never done anything like woodwork before, so I decided to put ambition ahead of finance. But I did want to do this for an income eventually, that was and always has been, my goal. I realised I had to walk before I could run. In fact, when it came to it, I found that woodworking was more a case of being able to roll over, then crawl, then walk and then run! I think I'm still at the crawling stage.

My hand tool journey has gone reasonably well, but has been an eye opener. Cutting a mortice and tenon with the precision that I've since found out they inherently require, is one heck of a challenge for me, as a beginner. I had no idea so many different skills would come into play. I accomplished it eventually, with some degree of precision on my 5ft bench. It fitted together, anyway. Cutting 16 large M&T's had taken me several days using a chisel, mallet and saw, which I'm sure isn't abnormal for a complete beginner, but left me feeling like if I was ever going to try to produce pieces commercially, as per my ambition, I either needed to invest a couple of years doing nothing but cutting joints by hand for practice, or find an alternative route. I wish an apprenticeship had been an option for me, but sadly it was never to be. Maybe in the next life.

I always think you miss out on so much by not working in a pro workshop prior to setting up. All the little tricks and techniques which save you hours. I wish you well in your venture but I would seriously advise you to try and do a year or two working for someone else first. Also as others have pointed out, dominos are useful but restrictive to design principles. Don't get sucked into thinking a domino is best, there are far quicker and stronger ways of joining a worktop for example.
 

YorkshireMartin

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doctor Bob":18s66utz said:
YorkshireMartin":18s66utz said:
After a career break I'd decided to pursue woodworking as an alternative path. I set aside a significant portion of my savings to pursue the subject, so I would not feel like I had to work to a tight budget, which I felt may have added pressure to an already difficult scenario. I'd never done anything like woodwork before, so I decided to put ambition ahead of finance. But I did want to do this for an income eventually, that was and always has been, my goal. I realised I had to walk before I could run. In fact, when it came to it, I found that woodworking was more a case of being able to roll over, then crawl, then walk and then run! I think I'm still at the crawling stage.

My hand tool journey has gone reasonably well, but has been an eye opener. Cutting a mortice and tenon with the precision that I've since found out they inherently require, is one heck of a challenge for me, as a beginner. I had no idea so many different skills would come into play. I accomplished it eventually, with some degree of precision on my 5ft bench. It fitted together, anyway. Cutting 16 large M&T's had taken me several days using a chisel, mallet and saw, which I'm sure isn't abnormal for a complete beginner, but left me feeling like if I was ever going to try to produce pieces commercially, as per my ambition, I either needed to invest a couple of years doing nothing but cutting joints by hand for practice, or find an alternative route. I wish an apprenticeship had been an option for me, but sadly it was never to be. Maybe in the next life.

I always think you miss out on so much by not working in a pro workshop prior to setting up. All the little tricks and techniques which save you hours. I wish you well in your venture but I would seriously advise you to try and do a year or two working for someone else first. Also as others have pointed out, dominos are useful but restrictive to design principles. Don't get sucked into thinking a domino is best, there are far quicker and stronger ways of joining a worktop for example.

I appreciate that Bob and it's sound advice. Unfortunately (well, fortunately really, I'm a lucky sod :)) I'm the primary carer for our little boy, so I'm very limited in what I can do until he's of school age. Its a question of grab time where i can. I considered doing a long course, say a year, but in the end the logistics of it were too complicated and the young'un would be without his dad for long periods. Not something we want. Our aim was/is for him to be primarily raised by either my wife or I directly (as opposed to full time nursery), until he's at least 4.

At my age I don't think anyone would want me to apprentice. Apprenticeships (rightly) I think mostly go to youngsters who want to undertake a meaningful creative career. I do believe in adult retraining obviously, but I think the youngsters with the right motivation deserve the opportunity first. God knows, in the age of Pokemon Go, any teenager who wants to work with wood gets my backing instantly, simply out of principle!

I considered the impact a domino would have relatively carefully. I've been into this subject for 2 years now and had plenty of opportunity, thanks in no small part to this forum, to learn the ins and outs. It's not a substitute for serving an apprenticeship or even long term adult training, but it's the best I can do. My skill set has gone from literally zero in DIY or woodworking terms, to being able to tackle a wide range of tasks. I'm doing things now that I never dreamed in a million years I could do. Simple to many of you experienced guys I'm sure, but remember the first plane you refurbished or the first iron you sharpened that you could shave with? That sort of revelation is almost a weekly thing at the moment! It's just pure excitement. I used a 30 odd year old self reconditioned stanley no.3, bought on ebay for a tenner, to smooth walnut yesterday. I was sweating buckets as it's the first time I've ever put a plane to "expensive" hardwood. Low and behold, it worked!

I'm in a position now where I'm a beginner at jointing with hand tools and also the domino. At the moment, the domino encourages me to be slightly more adventurous with my designs, as I know the mortice will be flawless. There will come a point, where a red flag goes up and I realise my design cannot be done with a domino, but right now I'm struggling to see it. I just know it will come. At that point, I'll revert back to my chisels because after many failures, I'm no longer scared of them. I keep in practice and I'm in the middle of a project where I'll use both, to compliment each other.

I think a "balanced diet" is necessary. I alluded to domino being the microwave meal of jointing. So I'll take it sparingly I think. It's just another tool, not the solution to all jointing and I think if people realise that, it's a winner.

I'm curious about what you said regarding jointing a worktop? What kind of worktop are we talking about? You got me thinking. :)
 

Paddy Roxburgh

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Martin, I tend not to use any joinery for edge jointing. If you hand plane the edges so they are perfect and then rub join them you get a glue line that cannot be improved with biscuits or dominos (or so I believe). They may be useful for alignment, but a few taps with a mallet after clamping can do this fine. I would tend to joint the edges on the planer and then hand plane them and check they are good enough to let no light through. Planning thinner pieces in pairs helps to assure that the glued up piece will be flat as any out of squareness is compensated in the opposing piece, this however is less relevant if they have already been jointed on the planner.
Paddy
 

YorkshireMartin

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Paddy Roxburgh":2z4z38wp said:
Martin, I tend not to use any joinery for edge jointing. If you hand plane the edges so they are perfect and then rub join them you get a glue line that cannot be improved with biscuits or dominos (or so I believe). They may be useful for alignment, but a few taps with a mallet after clamping can do this fine. I would tend to joint the edges on the planer and then hand plane them and check they are good enough to let no light through. Planning thinner pieces in pairs helps to assure that the glued up piece will be flat as any out of squareness is compensated in the opposing piece, this however is less relevant if they have already been jointed on the planner.
Paddy

Its funny, I'm actually in the market for another hand plane at the moment. Trying to decide on size and all around ability. Sizing up a number 4.5 or a bevel up 5. Can't decide what I need.
 

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