I bought into the Domino XL system when it was introduced (about 6 years ago) as the big brother to the original domino machine. With the add-ons from Seneca woodworking it can cover all sizes of the domino floating tenons.
It was not cheap - but it changed how I worked - and speeded-up lots of my projects. If I had waited for the Festool technology patents to run out - I’d still be waiting. Its a bit akin to the first Fein OMT’s that we bought when Fein had the only game in town because of patents. With the Fein Multitool - there were lots more applications than with the Domino machine - making the purchase more compelling - but the same idea applies. There will always likely be more options, greater choice and probably lower prices if you wait on patented tool technology to go off patent - but waiting means that you also wait on any benefit that accrues during all those intervening years of use.
Wow, kind of tough to choose since so many companies overlap tool models these days. Years ago certain companies catered to certain trades and tried to do their niche the best. Now they all compete in the same arenas. So finding unique tools is hard.
One that comes to mind, though I have never used it nor seem inclined to, is the Rockwell Bladerunner. Essentially a table top saw that uses the principle of a jigsaw mounted upside down. Sort of a quasi scroll saw. It uses standard t shank jigsaw blades. I am unsure if any other company offers something similar. You can find loads of diy videos on YouTube depicting the builds. Odd concept but I guess it works. Other than that, I cannot think of many exclusives anymore.
I was going more for the idea - someone makes items to use inplace of the domino setup. Look at all the flat pack furniture out there. There must be hardware and jigs out there that people wouldn’t normally think of.
Another choice is to use dowels. We tried a portable Freud duo-dowel machine - many years ago - but it produced unacceptable and inconsistent results - and was quickly withdrawn from the market. The newer Mafell machine is said to be much better:
I think all you guys make valid points, and Thank you for your feedback, I appreciate the topic & conversation. To satch - the Rockwell Bladerunner reminds me of something the ryobi has called a scroll saw have you heard of this before?> check it out ----- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIGkiHlW7gc -------
Scroll saws come from many different makers. They have been around since power tools were either foot (treadle) powered or belt driven with water wheels or steam engines as the prime mover. The scroll work on Queen Anne style houses were likely made using scroll saws. Here’s a link that traces their history back to the 1500’s in Germany and France
Today - powered ones come in various qualities - with some being subject to lots of vibration with poor cutting - while others, like my Hegner 22) and ones from Excalibur and Dewalt being solid performers.
Re the Domino versus Biscuits and Dowels - there is lots of discussion on the internet about the costs, benefits and shortcomings of each. One traditional wood joinery technique was to cut a tenon on one piece of wood - and then a mating mortise on the piece to which it would be joined. The assembly was then be glued up or otherwise held together (say using drawbores). The idea was that end grain gluing was not strong - but the mortise and tenon joint is strong.
Traditionally the tenon was cut with a hand backsaw and trimmed with a shoulder plane. The mortise was marked out (say with a marking gauge) and then chopped out with a mortise chisel.
I’ve given just a smattering of the choices available - as there are a plethora of them. The idea was extended to loose or floating tenons - like the dominos.
My take is that floating tenons glued into a precisely mated mortise (that’s what the Festool Domino machine cuts) create a strong joint suitable for cabinet carcass construction, face frames, furniture building, door construction and other joinery. The glued dominos - don’t seem to swell as much as some biscuits do when the glue is applied - so “bump out” on thin stock may be less of an issue. For house doors - the thickness of larger dominos make for a strong joint - rivaling splines in resisting stresses of opening and closing large heavy doors. I’ve built and reconstructed several large doors using dominoes and had not one failure. Years ago I tried with centerline biscuits and had a door open up along a joint. That case may have been a fluke - but I now stay with the dominos.
If you search the internet for: “domino versus biscuit” or “domino versus dowel” - you will find lots of opinions.
For me, possessing the means to create all 3 joints (having a Domino XL machine, a Dewalt biscuit joiner, and a Dowelmax - plus other dowel jigs) - in most cases I prefer the speed, accuracy and strength I get with Dominos. I’ve all but given up cutting tenons on my table saw and mortises with my benchtop mortise machine. I also use pocket hole screws less for face frames - now that I have the Domino machine.
Indeed, the Ryobi is a true scrollsaw. The blades are held top and bottom. The Bladerunner only holds the blade from one end on the bottom of the table. I don’t know anyone personally who owns one but they must sell since Rockwell has made them for several years now.
Fred, I went back and looked at those threads. I had forgotten about the earlier model with metal table. The newer one is plastic. Strictly a gadget like devise to me. One of the posters on the Toolguyd thread said it best. Make your own and save a good bit. This is never going to be a precision cutting machine. Even a low cost scroll saw wil be much more accurate and easier to use for any scrolling cuts. I could see something like this, if made well, being used flooring installers for trimming laminate pieces or similar. And the use of a good saw with great vibration dampening like a Bosch would be a must. And definitely variable speed. The Amazon reviews were 528 positive to 242 negative. Not good.
Another loose tenon alternative is the Pantorouter. Originally conceived by Mattias Wandel, with plans to make your own from wood, or you can purchase one made with metal for much, much more. It’s pretty impressive when you see it in action. Important point is that it’s a horizontal router, which makes it much more flexible for larger projects. It was designed for regular tenons, but can do other things as well.