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Domino Jointers Are they really worth it, or just a gimic

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JobandKnock

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"While you talk about the quality of your wares, you have your cheaper competitor where he cannot touch you. The breach between you is longer than his arm. When you begin to talk about prices, you are absolutely at his mercy. There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey. This is the doctrine of commercial foreordination, against which it is useless to contend."

J. A. Richards (from the February 1901 issue of “Profitable Advertising: The Advertiser’s Trade Journal” although it might have been in circulation at that time)
 
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JobandKnock

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Duo-Doweller now has the Triton copy and that's it so far, but obviously that was/is less popular so even more niche.
The copy was also sold in red for a while by Freud and there were several no-name variants around for a while as well. All the copies suffer from accuracy issues.

The biscuit jointer is an interesting comparison - Lamello launched their first handheld one in 1968. Virutex were apparently the first copy-cat in 1982 ('just' 14 years).
In point of fact the Elu DS140 swing type biscuit jointer, which came on the market in or before 1981 (the year I bought mine) was an exercise in patent avoidance which Bosch subsequently borrowed heavily from for their first (unsuccesfiul) BJ. The DS140 was robust and accurate tool, so is the Virutex. How many of the Chinese copies are? I now await a copy of the Zeta.
 
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Doug B

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That’s an interesting thought.


Power tools are almost a commodity item, there’s little IP in cordless drills etc… the outliers seem to be rail saws (but that’s almost gone now) and this one item left that only Festool make (can’t think of any others, I’m open to suggestions).
off the top off my head the Festool shaper origin,
 

Jake

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In point of fact the Elu DS140 swing type biscuit jointer, which came on the market in or before 1981 (the year I bought mine) was an exercise in patent avoidance which Bosch subsequently borrowed heavily from for their first (unsuccesfiul) BJ.
Good point, I'd forgotten that one, IIRC Porter Cable copied the swing one too.

I guess the Virutex might have been licensed.
 

JobandKnock

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I guess the Virutex might have been licensed.
Not sure. Virutex certainly copied a number of Elu designs, e.g.the CE24 planer (a copy of the Elu MFF40) and the 8mm plunge routers (in fact a bought-in Perles-made copy of the Elu MOF96 plunge router). In the 1990s they also made a jigsaw with a ceramic blade guide system not unlike the first Festo jigsaws of the same ilk, so copy or licensed? (Even Bosch got in on this act by bringing out their own ceramic guide jigsaw, the GST135B which was a good jigsaw, but which did cook blades). Then there's a whole slew of Virutex sanders and planers which are the spitting image of some of Makita's models. A really curious company, especially when you consider some of their own unique products, such as a tilting plunge router, tilting laminatecl trimmer, compass power planer, abrasive planer, etc

Virutex hot their teal livery colour from Makita (as did Wolf in the UK, potentially) and Makita are known to have licensed their plunge saw technology along with the Systainer carrying case design they now use from TTI/Festool

LS130 (really niche uses though) and RO90 (opposite, fantastic machine).
Well, in-line pneumatic (as opposed to electric) sanders like the LS130 aren't unknown and I believe that Sengar in Halifax were making them back in the 1940s. The Rotex line is also interesting, but Metabo have made their own variable orbit ROS for more than 15 years, now being into their 2nd generation, so not as unique as all that

Nothing new under the sun?
 
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Spectric

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I think the reason they haven't been engineered around is the market for them is limited.
I think this could be a reason, it is not an essential tool like say a cordless drill and sits in a niche market, they may have done their sums and just cannot see a profit so to them it is a gimmick. But if they produced a far supperior version for less than half the cost of a Domino would there be a stampede of buyers? What you don't want is the opposite, like the Triton doweler

China's economy is built on reproducing Western products
Yes and no, China's engineering can be what ever you want it to be, the money is in production and sales not research and development so no point in re inventing the wheel. The reason a lot of people think of Chinese products as inferior is because we are buying items from companies that have had the Chinese make the product to a price to give them a good profit margin, if they raised the price then they could increase the quality.
 

sometimewoodworker

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A point that seems to be overlooked is that along with the high prices of Festool, Mafell, Hilti etc comes the quality that is such a pleasure to use year after year. Once the patents lapse other makers will be able to produce tools that incorporate the drill & swing of the domino but the quality of tool is not cheap.
You can buy a TS55 or an Aldi special. The TS55 is expensive but will still be going strong producing accurate cuts after daily use 10~20 years from now, with similar use when will the Aldi saw die but much more importantly when will it stop being accurate?

Festool products, in general, provide quality that matches the prices charged and maintain that quality over time.

An Aldi tool probably provides an initial better quality than the price but that falls away. So they will get good reviews as nobody's doing long term testing.
 

JobandKnock

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China's engineering can be what ever you want it to be...

... if they raised the price then they could increase the quality.
That much is evidenced by products such as the Wood River planes which put modern Records and Stanleys to shame. Hardly innovative, though
 

danst96

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Yes and no, China's engineering can be what ever you want it to be, the money is in production and sales not research and development so no point in re inventing the wheel.
Yes correct and as you say it's often driven by Western companies looking to improve profit margins and therefore moving production out there. I agree that many products from China are very well made but they are normally made to an existing specification or as a direct rip off of another product. My point was that China rarely innovates. Maybe the chopsticks(?) but I struggle to think of many more exclusively unique modern products that have come out of China
 

danst96

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You can buy a TS55 or an Aldi special. The TS55 is expensive but will still be going strong producing accurate cuts after daily use 10~20 years from now
Case in point right here. I'm not sure of the exact vintage of this but I think it's early 90s. It is my uncles and it's still going strong and I use it almost every day
 

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sometimewoodworker

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The reason a lot of people think of Chinese products as inferior is because we are buying items from companies that have had the Chinese make the product to a price to give them a good profit margin, if they raised the price then they could increase the quality.
Well said. A prime example is Apple. High quality (along with high price) all produced in China.
 

JobandKnock

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Case in point right here. I'm not sure of the exact vintage of this but I think it's early 90s. It is my uncles and it's still going strong and I use it almost every day
And for me that raises the question of plunge saws and rails. Festo certainly patented the rail system, but I can recall Holz-Her producing a number on non-rail mounted plunge saws in the 1970s (such as the Mosquito, variants of which were sold by Bosch) whilst in the same period both Elu and Mafell made small blade plunging panel material saws with tiny 125mm blades. Designed to break down plywood and chipboard
 
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JobandKnock

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I'm not sure of the exact vintage of this but I think it's early 90s.
Sounds about right. Festo power tools in the 1970s were bright yellow, the change to black was made in late 1970s. The AXF45 and AT55e saws are both from that era (introduced 1980) and the rubber anti-splinter strips were patented in 1982. Systainers actually appeared in 1993, and the version 2 aluminium guide rail with two joiners as opposed to one appeared in 2003, the year that the TS55 first appeared. That would probably place your saw as 1993 to 2003.

TBH a lot of this is on the Festool web site, but some of it is from memory. I can remember getting a Festo catalogue 1984 - the dealer/distributor were in West Bromwich but the prices were eye watering. I recall that the main things they made at that point were sanders and saws (no routers or planers in the catalogue), but 230 volt only - no 110 volt for site use in the UK, which made them NBG for me
 
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TRITON

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Tell me a world leading product in its class that was designed in China. China's economy is built on reproducing Western products. This is either through Western companies moving their production there or Chinese companies "repurposing" western designs and IP. I work for a company placing millions of pounds of business to China every year and see it in action all the time.
Yup i see that now. I had a google and theres a term for it in China for coping someone elses ideas.

" Isaac Newton once said “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” "
 

Spectric

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Anyone thought about the relationship between skills and tools, coming out with what we now perceive as a great tool may have just been a flop in the days it was originaly thought of as the trade then may not have seen any need to spend the money. There was a day when many tools brought by an apprentice would have seen them through a large part of there career, they did amazing work with far fewer tools and a lot more physical work. I believe we are now at such a faster pace of living that we all want things done quicker and cheaper and this has driven a lot of the modern tool ideas, a lot could be done the old way but people just would not swallow the cost, this sector has become a niche for the very wealthy. The tool OEM's are also looking at making task easier because one way of saving money is to de skill a trade, ie push fit plastic plumbing could be fitted by Gonzo and only takes a fraction of the time required compared to a skilled plumber using copper and a bender. This concept goes down the pan when you find that the gas has also been done in plastic pushfit because Gonzo has no qualifications and cannot see the issues.
 

dzj

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When I was a kid, people use to say the Japanese could only make beads, trinkets and transistor radios.
Not a creative bone in their body.
Who in their right mind would say a thing like that nowadays?
 
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