Festool Domino Wood Joiner Or an Alternative: What is Your Go To Option

Festool Domino Wood Joiner 1

While looking for the best domino wood joiner, you wouldn’t find much doubt among the professionals. They unanimously agree Festool DF 500 is the unparalleled choice for different woodworking innovations. It’s only admonished for its exorbitant price!

This supreme joinery tool comes with too much capability. The most unique one is the ability to cut mortise 4-inch+ deep! It helps you create a portable loose tenon in no time! You must be feeling tempted and we can understand why! It truly is a game-changer in furniture manufacturing.

But there are instances when woodworkers think “Do I really need a Festool?”. They realize, “maybe we don’t” and start hunting for some good alternatives to this mighty domino wood joiner. But why? We’ll find out.

This article sets the plot for you and helps you understand how you should hunt through your wood joiner. So It doesn’t only end up with the review of Festool Domino Wood Joiner but also reviews some great alternatives to it (after desperate searching, huh!).

wood joiners

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Domino Wood Joiner

Do you need a Festool Domino Wood Joiner Desperately?  Or, it’s a “No Domino! No Problem!” situation?

You need to look at a few things before you find the answer. Let’s go!

Who Needs a Domino Wood Joiner & Why

The Domino Wood Joiner is a joining tool that manufactures mortise and loose tenon (the strongest form of joinery), mostly for commercial carpentry.

The Domino Joiner (Currently Festool Domino DF 500) is the first and probably the only choice for professional woodworkers and serious DIYers. Let’s find out why:
  • It can mortise small to large volumes of projects
  • Festool tenons are available for different projects including indoor and outdoor
  • Unlike benchtop mortisers, you can take the Domino wood joiner to the work
  • Ability to cut mortises up to more than 4-inch deep
  • Support for rounded work surfaces with an optional jig
  • Guides for repetitive cuts between surfaces for standard matching joints
  • The excellent dust collection system
  • Easy to setup with extra support for angled joints
  • Most importantly, ultra-fast joints.

 

domino wood joiner

Furniture created using domino wood joiner

Why An Alternative to Domino is Good Enough

The first reason you can opt for a Festool Domino alternative is its exorbitant price. There are some other reasons as well. Like you may be a regular hobbyist who doesn’t need such a sophisticated tool.

Or you’re someone opting for other alternatives like using a router, a dowel, or a biscuit joiner that creates strong joints at a much less price. And we feel it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” solution either.

The Festool Domino is the most advanced Mortise and Tenon (M&T) system out there. But you can still find some other tools that can create decent enough M&T joints that can make up for the domino joinery.

  • Router M&T jigs
  • Benchtop M&T jigs
  • Biscuit/Plate Joiners
  • Floor model M&T jigs
  • Hand tools and saws

Let’s understand some other styles of joiners that can make up for the Festool DF 500.

Mortise And Tenon

Mortise and Tenon, also called M&T is the most anticipated joint style in woodworking. It is made up of two parts, where tenon acts as a peg and the mortise acts as a hole or slot into where the tenon is put into. Both these pieces are finally glued together during assembly.

This is the closest style of joint to Domino Wood Joint.

mortise and tenon wood joiner

Biscuit or Plate Joiner

The biscuit joint is created with a small diameter cutting wheel mounted in a hand-held power tool. The way a biscuit and domino wood joiner work is pretty similar. You press it on the workpiece, make a cut, and fill the cut with a specified shape of biscuit to form the joint.

One of our preferred styles of joints for its speed and ease of glue-ups. These joiners work great for most projects and provide sufficient joint strength.

Dowel Jig/Joiner

The dowel jig makes a set-diameter hole that is made to line up between two surfaces to produce a dead strong joint. For us, it’s arguably the most economical Festool DF 500 alternative to check out. It allows you to make similar furniture-style joints but at a fraction of the Festool’s lavish price.

You also find a dowel jig option that drives dual dowels at a fast pace.

As we talk about alternatives to Domino DF 500, you should remember the fact that it provides a great blend of both a dowel and biscuit joiner. We feel it takes the best of each to make an ideal woodworking tool. However, the alternatives are worth checking out in the respective cases.

Reviews of the Best Wood Joiners in 2021

Picking up the right joiner is tricky. But when it comes to choosing a domino joiner, it’s actually easy (fortunately!). Because you don’t have many options to get messed up!

In fact, there’s only one unparalleled choice that’s ruling the market (we’ll talk about it below). Still, there are some workarounds and alternatives.

But first, let’s take a look at the market king for domino wood joiner—Festool Domino.

Festool 574432 Domino Joiner DF 500 Q Set

From beginners to veterans, Festool Domino has remodeled the joinery skills for every folk in a revolutionary way. Especially ones who are into highly demanding furniture making.

This is an unparalleled solution to all the domino wood joinery issues. We mean it and you need to find out why!

Festool Domino Wood Joiner

Revolutionized Joinery Experience

Festool Domino has really revolutionized the cutting method with its unique rotating principle. Joinery isn’t a slow and difficult process anymore! You can literally feel the joy while cutting out the fat from joinery. And you bet, it’s heavenly, wow!

Festool Domino Wood Joiner improves your efficiency big time! You do more of those tedious, repeatable work in significantly less time.

You Can Forget the Biscuit Joiner & Doweling Jigs

Yeah, you heard it right. Festool 574432 Domino Joiner is a fantastic tool to simplify your joinery tasks. It is a great blend of biscuits and dowels, with the best of each.

When it comes to ease, making mortise and tenons is a snap with this tool! Something you don’t feel with others.

With other combinations, you may even struggle to attempt tortoises! So start feeling like a pro with the Festool, even sooner than you expected!

Make it Deep and Wide

Why do the woodworkers love it? The top reason is the ability to adjust depth control and width of the mortise.

You can precisely adjust your mortising depth into five different levels and match any size of tenon for your application.

The width adjustment allows for convenient alignment while joining panels. Yes, it’s easier than ever!

Festool Wood Joiner

What Features We Like and Why

Features Benefits
Patented Routing Action Perfect, cleaner mortises
Convenient mortise width adjustment dial Easier alignment for joining panels
Effective Pivoting Fence Create perfectly angled mortises
Indexing pins Quick alignment, accurate placement
Dust extractable design Cleaner mortise holes, better glue adhesion, extended cutter life
Well-designed positioning system Precise positioning
Routing Height Adjuster with Scale Easy fence height adjustment

All these features of Festool Domino ensure a revolutionary joinery experience in woodworking. It is faster, precise, accurate, and most importantly versatile for a wide range of creative woodworks.

But…

  • Festool comes with a huge price tag of $1000 (Worth it for pros)
  • It requires proprietary dowels

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Best Alternatives to Festool Domino Wood Joiner

There’s actually no other generic machine to Festool Domino is available out there. However, we gave our hearts out to find some workarounds as everyone doesn’t need or can’t afford a $1000 beast like this.

Cheers to our team who has managed to come up with some alternatives for you. We review the top alternatives to Festool Domino Wood Joiner and discuss when you should pick them versus Festool.

Bosch 1617EVSPK Plunge Router (for Mortise-and-tenon Joints)

Our experts found the coolest alternative to creating domino wood joints (apart from Festool DF500). And that is to route a mortise and create customized loose tenons.

The power tool that does the job best is Bosch 1617EVSPK Plunge Router. This amazing tool has been tried to make build different types of furniture with substantial results.

bosch plunge router

 

How It Makes Up for Festool DF 500

  • Allows drilling no tedious holes to create portable loose tenons (aka domino tenons)
  • Quick, portable, and precision alternative
  • A hand-held tool that can be paired with a router table for added convenience
  • Fluted router bits could be matched to the length and thickness of factor-available Domino tenons

Create Joints Similar to Domino

With the Bosch Plunge router, you can still create mortise-and-tenon joints as strong as a domino. It may take multiple passes and the joints could be rounded but they’ll be as good as squared-off mortises and tenons.

A Convenient Jointer (Which isn’t really a Jointer)

This is the closest tool to match the convenience of the Festool Domino DF 500. You’ll be loving its easy depth adjustment, larger base, and economical router bits.

It may not be that fast but with a little additional setup (like adding a domino wood table), you can create strong loose-tenon joints with ease.

bosch router as domino wood joiner

 

What Features We Like & Why

Features Benefits
Powerful Variable Speed Motor with Soft-Start  Strong personalized cuts
Rounded Hardwood Handles, Fixed Base, Soft Grip Comfortable user control
Aluminum Construction Durable and lightweight
Advanced Speed Control Maintains consistent speed through the cut
Microfine Bit Depth Adjustment Fast and accurate depth adjustment
Includes All Necessary Components Compatible with all applications requiring fixed-depth and plunge routing

Remember, a professional woodworker naturally needs a plunge router. When you’re using it as a jointer, it’s a bonus! So you’re not out for any extra investment while it costs 75% of the Festool DF 500!

But…

  • Not the obvious choice as a domino wood joiner
  • Extra setup delays the joinery process

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Makita Cordless Plate Joiner (AKA Biscuit Joiner)

Makita Cordless Plate Joiner comes into the picture just when you realize you can use a biscuit joiner for your cabinet projects. Or you feel paying this much for the Festool Domino is a big deal!

Makita biscuit domino wood joiner

How It Makes Up for Festool

You must be wondering why we have put this as an alternative to Festool.

  • The strength of glued or biscuit joint is fine for your project
  • Building cabinets, not furniture
  • The projects include edges gluing many 3/4 to 1-1/2” thick wood
  • Making of most joints aren’t put under twists or strains (like face frames, not doors)

Create Strong, Accurate Biscuit Joints

The Makita Plate Joiner makes the top choice for joinery experts who want their biscuit joints to be dead strong and accurate.

Makita understands what accuracy matters to you!. So it comes with a convenient blade diameter, various depth settings, and one-touch stop; everything you need for perfect joinery.

The Comfy Factor

Woodworking is a complex job, you love anything that makes it easier for you. The comfy factor of the Makita Biscuit Joiner stands out for us.

Its slim and ergonomic design gives you a good feeling when you’re holding it in your hand. The large top grip handle adds a plus to the comfy level!

Makita wood joiner features

What Features We Like and Why

Features Benefits
Cast Aluminum Front Body Adds great durability
Tool-less Blade Cover & Shaft Lock Quick and easy blade change
Rack-and-Pinion Fence System with Cam Locks Easy and accurate fence adjustments
Six depth settings with one-touch stop Works with all the common biscuit sizes
Cast Aluminum Pivot Fence Three positive stops for three different angles
Cordless with LXT Battery Up to 150 joints or 300 cuts with a single charge

Makita is a prominent brand for woodworking power tools. And when it comes to some moderate furniture or cabinets projects, this biscuit joiner makes up well for the all-special Festool Domino wood joiner.

But…

  • Not good for furniture making, especially the highly demanding ones (Festool Domino DF 500, Always)
  • It’s loud (Use some ear protection)
  • For joints that undergo twists and strains (Like making doors)

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WEN JN8504 Biscuit Joiner

For traditional M&T joints, a good biscuit joiner can be as effective as a domino wood joiner. The WEN JN8504 Biscuit Joiner makes a well-deserved entry in our list of alternatives to Festool Domino.

It’s really impressive when it comes to providing a comparable strength and a decent glue surface to serve the same Domino purpose. Let’s take a better look at the product here.

Wen biscuit domino wood joiner

How it Makes Up for the Festool Domino

  • When done correctly, the biscuit joiner can provide enough strength as a similar size M&T counterpart
  • Fast and easy way to set glue-up parts in alignment
  • Works great for less demanding projects like cabinets, for a money way less than Festool DF 500

Alignments are as Important as Your Joints

This Wen Biscuit joiner perfectly aligns the boards for joinery. Remember, incorrect alignment of edges will result in weak joints.

Works great for edge-joining panels and to strengthen the joints better.

Great Adjustments

When you’re working with a power tool, adjustment is something you look for. The Wen Biscuit joiner allows you to create biscuit slots at different angles of heights.

Pre-set stops are adjustable and also fun to work with all the standard biscuit sizes.

wen biscuit joiner

Versatile Joiner that Works Best for

As we’ve said, you don’t always require a domino or M&T joint for different joinery tasks. This Wen Joiner works fine with most joints. Some of these include corner joints, miter joints, edge-to-edge joints, offset joints, T joints, and more.

Most importantly, it creates joints for all shapes and sizes. We guess you can’t ask for more!

What Features We Like & Why

Features Benefits
Pre-set stop & Manual Size Adjustment Compatible with the standard biscuit sizes or unique sizes
Adjustable Fence with Variable Height Settings Accommodates projects of different shapes and sizes
Powerful Motor Easy workout including the hardest woods
Detachable Dust Bag & Carrying Case Clean environment and great portability

This Wen Plate and Biscuit Joiner is a budget killer, especially If you’re up for some DIY projects.

But…

  • Not suitable for commercial or demanding projects
  • Provides mediocre joint strenght

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Triton TDJ600 Duo Dowelling Joiner

After hunting through the jointers, one of the best alternatives found is Triton TDJ600 Duo Dowelling Jointer. You can customize this tool to turn it into your very own domino wood joiner.

This is why it’s on the list!

Don’t forget to check out the modification video down there. But before that let’s see what else it has to offer.

Triton doweling domino wood joiner

How It Makes Up for Festool

With slight modifications, this unique doweling jig can make up for the premium Festool Domino in the following cases:

  • Create strong joints for a price less than a fifth of the Festool Domino
  • Works fine with a larger project volume
  • Joint strength is good enough and in some cases, it’s better than a biscuit joiner
  • Ideal for working straight and angled workpieces

This Triton Joiner really packs a punch for the DIY enthusiasts, especially those who don’t get to make demanding joinery.

Not Pricey Yet Special

Triton TDJ600 is a reasonably priced doweling jointer. Yet you can make it emulate the domino by a good percentage!

You know it takes quite some skills to make the edge-to-edge and miter corner joints. But this doweling jig empowers you to make strong and reliable joints in a much easier way.

triton wood joiner on action

What Features We Like and Why

Features Benefits
Duo drilling mode Drills dual holes in one action with superior control
Anti-slip pads Makes sure it doesn’t move while drilling
Removable motor housing Easy to remove and replace worn carbon brushes
Convenient dust port Keeps your working environment safe and clean

If you’re up for demanding furniture and shelves construction, try it! It helps you make perfectly spaced joints along the length of the wooden piece.

But…

  • The fact that it needs modification could be troublesome
  • Ease of use is still an issue for us and hope Triton addresses it

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Know the Manufacturers Better

Conclusion

The Festool Domino Wood Joiner is the showstopper anytime! It leaves no competition in the woodworking industry for its joinery capabilities.

But taking different customer requirements in the equation, the alternatives to this device are worth considering. We hope our mission is somewhat successful and this article is good enough to help you decided on your desired wood joinery tool.

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