What is your opinion on the domino machine, is it a “must have?” is it worth the money?
I just bought a used one a few months ago. They are extremely useful and really speed up M/T construction. Is it worth it…probably not; UNLESS you do this to make money. Not only is the tool expensive, but the tenons aren’t all that cheap either. Ditto on the “must have”….if you can write it off on taxes it probably is something to put real high on the shopping list. So why did I buy one? I am a hobbyist and do not fit those categories….well, I did get a fair deal on it and have no other tools on the shopping list. I also have a project coming up where it should be quite useful….
"I long for the day when coke was a cola and a joint was a bad place to be" Merle Haggartd
You can approach this question from several perspectives, with the overriding one being Festool products themselves; and then the specifics of the Domino – I’ve owned the Domino for many years.
I’ve long held that when Festool competes with other brands (Bosch, Fein, even DeWalt), they are over-priced for a given functionality. They may use better motors, better bearings, or high-performance Brushless motors (Vacs, Drills, for example), and maybe the ergonomics are better – I don’t know; but I find within a competitive product, the other brands offer a better value.
When Festool makes a category-defining product – the Domino, Track Saw System, maybe the MFT/3 – their engineering and systems-approach warrants the higher price-tag: they have to recoup the tooling and engineering costs before every other manufacturer reverse engineers it, and sells it for a true market value. I don’t begrudge them high-profits on innovative products. If the tool-buying public doesn’t want to pay the price – then it’s not a value to them.
The Domino is a frequent go-to tool for me, and not just for its Mortise & Tenon capabilities. I often use it as a ‘locating device’ for domino-dowels (Rocking Chair arms & headrest, rather than screwing the joints); as a precision (depth) spacer (DVD Holder and Executive Desk), and within its designed function of M&T (the Outdoor Bench & Coffee Table both use Integral and Domino M&Ts, and a Teak Shower Bench). The Domino’s functionality trumps its cost, for me: I’m not a commercial shop – I consider the Domino a versatile, unique method of joining boards.
For me, I’ll buy Festool when their products change the game; otherwise, they’re overpriced.
Festool discussions tend to polarize woodworkers.
Often, I have found that those most opposed to Festool products have not used them, or have purchased them thinking that they’ll improve their woodworking skills, then put them aside when they realize the products, themselves, don’t change skills – tools provide alternate methods-of-work, nothing more or less.
A Domino is no more like a Biscuit Joiner than a Circular Saw is a Tablesaw. For me – and I’m not a Festool devotee, the Domino allows me to bring the tool to the work, rather than hauling the work to a stationery mortiser or Drill Press. And the simple fact is that every tool is a ‘one trick pony’ – a tablesaw cuts wood in a straight line, and why would anyone pay for a Powermatic when a spitting-image Chinese knockoff can be purchased for half the price…
Lastly, I’m not trying to sell anyone on Festool – they’re doing fine without my help; and while I do consider their accessory pricing… outrageous, everyone has their own value-proposition – we need only to justify it to ourselves.
Well, you are right. I have never used Festool, but I do believe that I have analogous experiences. My job requires me to turn wrenches fairly often to keep equipment running in the field. As you might expect this leads to quite a few of my coworkers being devotees of snap-on, Mac, Matco, and the other high end tool makers. I am not. Yeah, there is a slight, marginal difference between a Mac socket set, and my Craftsman set, but my set gets the job done at 1/2 to 1/3 the price. Heck, I’ve found that so long as you buy the high line versions, Harbor Freight tools get the job done just fine too. Just don’t buy the cheapest version they offer.
I see where the Domino might be useful, but Rockler’s beadlock joinery system does the same thing for a way lower price, and let’s you bring the tool to the work too.
When Festool is willing to sell that Domino for under $300, I’ll be willing to consider it. You just can not justify $950 unless you are setting up an assembly line where a guy is going to bang out the same joint over and over 8 hours a day.