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Spectric

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Hi

I always purchase 110 volt versions of machines because they do seem to last better and in a workshop enviroment do offer that extra level of safety, when did anyone get electrocuted on 55 volts!

With regards to speed of producing joints this is interesting and highlights my point that the Dowelmax is very accurate but slow.
 

DiyAddict

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I've been on a similar trajectory to the OP and had narrowed down my choice to the two dominoes. Most of my work is large stuff as I'm renovating a large old house. After a lot of soul-searching, I made the considerable outlay last week for a DF 700, despite a lot of posts preferring the 500. The main reason was the axiom that the tenon should be 1/3 the width of the timber and I work with a lot of two by four.

Well, what a revelation! The first job was a workbench capable of supporting heavy machine tools, using six 4" square legs and a load of timber studding joined side to side to make the top. The DF 700 was an absolute joy to use - cutting mortices for the 14mm, 140mm long dominoes like butter with supreme accuracy and very little marking out required. I completed the whole bench in a weekend. I was pleasantly surprised with how little heft the 700 needed despite its larger size and weight because someone has put a lot of thought and effort into its balance and ergonomics. I was even able to tack on an edge strip using 10mm, 50mm length dominoes into the face of 2 by 1" PSE without feeling the tool was too large. I guess the only downside is the cost of large dominoes - I didn't fancy making my own so early on - but worth it for the time saved.

I have garden gates, doors and a small greenhouse on the to-do list, which are perfect candidates for the 700. As other posters have said, the type of jointer you choose depends significantly on the size of your projects and your preference re hand vs power tool techniques. I just thought I'd stick in my experiences here as one of the fewer new users who bought the 700 first.

ps, I'm not a Festool fan-boy, usually plumping for Makita, DeWalt and Mafell. Though I can see what all the fuss is about!
 

CaptainBarnacles

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I bought the 700 and while it is an amazing machine I sometimes wish I had bought the 500 just because the 700 is a bit of a monster. The obvious answer is to have both but for me buying one was an extravagance! I have the adapter to use the smaller cutters and it's fine but it does feel like a sledgehammer to crack a nut when weilding such a hefty tool to cut a 4mm mortice. I don't regret buying the 700, it's brilliant for doors, gates and other large-ish jobs and obviously you can use it for large and small scale work with the adapter. As with DIYAddict, I'm not a fan-boy either but at the time I bought it the Domino was the only real solution for what I needed to do and it's been rock solid, no regrets, just wish I could justify both the 500 and 700.
 

Spectric

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Hi Captain

I have been deep into looking at joints, jointing methods, the different ways to produce different joints and loads of videos and opinions. The one conclusion that could be drawn is that a skilled, timeserved and experienced woodworker can produce good joints and in a reasonable timescale without using any of these so called systems, but these systems allow the lesser skilled to produce the same results. I assembled my oven unit today, well the two sides and used 10mm by 100mm dowels set 60mm into the end grain and 40mm into the side grain with five in each joint. The dowel holes were all done with a Dowelmax and is a slow but very accurate method that aligns and assembles well, you need some Besssey clamps to apply the pressure to fully close the joints. The dowels cost £10 per hundred compared to say 10 by 80mm dominos that would cost £40. To be totally fair I would say you need two dowels for each of these Dominos but the cost is still double. Looking at the Mafell doweler it has some good points but has a plunge depth of just 40mm which for Dowels i think lets it down although it is comparable to the Domino 500 at just 28mm.

I agree that having both is a luxury and for some people they don't like the extra weight of the 700, but what is an extra 2Kg, especially if you have come from metalworking and there are views that this makes the 700 more stable in use. The other aspect is regarding using the 700 on narrow stock, the cutter centre is 15mm from the machines base, so using the base you would just need to raise the workpiece 5mm to centre the cutter on 20mm stock.

I am not a woodworker who makes dainty or delicate items and like things robust so tend to use heavier than required wood, the biggest thing that stops me thinking of the 500 is that 28mm plunge, it seems so shallow compared to the 70mm plunge of the 700 and I can get that depth on the dowelmax.

Then I saw a video where a guy has aligned two pieces of wood for joining, using the 700 he cuts mortices through both pieces all along its length and then glues up the dominos and knocks them in flush before finishing, the outline of the Dominos becomes a feature.

When you
I have the adapter to use the smaller cutters and it's fine but it does feel like a sledgehammer to crack a nut when weilding such a hefty tool to cut a 4mm mortice.
do you have the full 70mm plunge or does it limit it to the 500's 28mm? I am not saying that there is any reason why you would want a 4mm Domino mortice cut to 70mm! The main sizes I would use are 6, 8 and 10 but having the option of 12 & 14 could be handy.
 

Spectric

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My only definate decisions to date regards jointing systems is to avoid the Triton Doweler, there is a reason it is only £163 compared to over £800 for a Mafell and from all accounts it is not well engineered, with dowels you do not get a sloppy fit option and they all need precise location otherwise the joints will not pull together.
 

Spectric

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Hi

Have almost ruled out the Mafell doweler, initially seems a good upgrade for a Dowelmax but only 40mm plunge, had it been 50mm it would have been great even though I often drill to 60mm with the Dowelmax. The Mafell pros are speed, easy to align and place multi rows of dowels and with two dowels at 32mm, offset by 16mm and you get four dowels. 8mm gap with 6mm dowels, 6mm gap with 10mm dowels and 4mm gap with 12mm dowels so is close to a beadlock joint. The one thing people seem to say about the mafell is quality.
 

Awac

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This post caught my eye, as I have been thinking about the Domino for a while, can't quite justify it..yet. Some good points made about it on this post, very helpful.
(I cut joints by hand for pleasure. But sometimes I find dowels quite handy for quicker projects. Not used the dowelmax, but I do have a device which I frequently say "I wish I had invented", the Joint Genie, so simple, so effective. As an alternative to the dowelmax I thought I would throw its hat in the ring).

 

CaptainBarnacles

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Apologies for the delay in getting back to you on this thread, things have been very hectic for a few days.

It sounds to me like you are erring towards the 700 and I would in no way try and talk you out of it, like I said it’s a great piece of kit and I doubt you will regret buying it for a moment.

Starting out with the 700 wasn’t quite the dream that the Festool promo videos would have you believe though. I struggled for a while to hold the machine perpendicular to the workpiece despite the large fence. I got the hang of it soon enough but I occasionally still manage to cut a joint slightly wonky. I think that the weight of the machine plus the force required to plunge it meant I was lifting it slightly as I was plunging it. Muscle memory is a wonderful thing and I trained myself how to use the 700 accurately and now barely have to think about it when using it.

The smaller cutters are shorter so you couldn’t plunge them full depth, I don’t recall what the plunge depth is but I’ll try and measure them tomorrow. Yes, you can get decorative by plunging through the carcass and I’ve tried it and had great success. It is also simpler to plunge through the two pieces simultaneously and that certainly ensures great alignment. The only caveat though is that using genuine dominos does leave gaps as they aren’t the same shape as the mortice. You need to make suitable dominos that fully fill the hole for a good finish.

Hope that helps.
 
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