The most serious woodworkers out there probably think that they have or know of every tool used in their art. Unless you know of the purposes and benefits you get from a Festool Domino Joiner, you couldn’t be more wrong. Festool makes two high-quality domino joiners: the DF700Q and the DF500Q. Both work extremely well at what they’re meant to do, but they’re used for different tasks. The Festool 574432 Domino Joiner DF 500 Q is meant for small to medium-duty tasks like cabinetry and small furniture, whereas the Festool DF700 is better-suited for beds, big tables, and doors.
The Domino DF500Q is the smaller of the two domino joiners that the German company makes. If you’re unfamiliar with what this device is used for, the concept is similar to a traditional biscuit joiner. It cuts a mortise into a board where workers can place a tenon (domino) to connect two boards together. Let’s dive in and see what you can expect from this Festool domino joiner.
Domino Widths and Depths
First of all, it’s important to register how much tension actually goes into joints and between boards. In general, the larger the domino, the more surface there is to apply glue which provides the strength in keeping boards together. The DF500Q can produce tenons up to 10 mm thick and 30 mm deep.
With tenons this deep, the DF500Q is ideal for light- and medium-duty furniture building. Tenons this size are mainly used for small tables, picture frames, and drawers. If you’re planning on building a large table or door, this tool doesn’t provide enough tenon width and depth to provide proper strength against the tension from joined boards.
Easy Size Configuration
Setting up the correct dimensions for your desired domino size is simple enough to do. First of all, the on/off switch is located on top of the unit, a nearby dial adjusts the width of the dominos, a depth gauge is placed on the left-hand side of the device, a metallic gauge helps in adjusting the angle of the domino, and a height setting on the left-hand side near the metallic front. When adjusting the depth of the domino, it’s important to set it to half the length of the desired domino size.
A neat feature that separates this device from classic biscuit joiners is the built-in stops located on the front-facing metallic panel which is used to measure the length of the board you’re working on, and it aligns the mortises perfectly between boards. This is especially handy when making single tenons for two perpendicular boards.
Handling the Domino Joiner
The way the DF500Q is designed to lets users carry the tool to the workpiece and punch out mortises. This is incredibly handy when working in cramped workshops or if you need to move from spot to spot. The tool is rather lightweight – weighing in at only 7 pounds – so carrying and storing the tool isn’t a problem.
However, most customers feel comfortable operating the Domino Joiner using a single hand, despite there being a secondary handle located near the front-end of the tool where mortises are cut. After using the device for extended periods and punching out mortises, it can start to cause wrist fatigue. This isn’t a dealbreaker in any way, but it’s definitely something to consider before purchasing.
Customers will find a vacuum port on the right-hand side of the Festool DF500Q. This tool, similar to biscuit joiners, absolutely requires the use of a vacuum to remove the leftover chips and sawdust. There is an increased risk of wood particles and pieces of debris being stuck inside the device, and a vacuum connected to the port of this device significantly reduces the risk of jamming. The good thing is that you don’t need to purchase an additional Festool-made vacuum, but instead a regular budget-friendly vacuum will work flawlessly.
Festool 574432: Bottom Line
This device is definitely a game changer. You probably didn’t think that the Festool Domino Joiner would be a great investment, but you’d be wrong. There are overlapping features and functions with traditional biscuit joiners, but this device is more of a time-saver that produces perfectly aligned mortises every time.
The one and only drawback of this unit is its hefty price tag, so only serious woodworkers and furniture builders would find value in this or the DF700Q model. However, if you’re in need of a time-saving, ultra-precise domino joiner for small- to medium-scale projects, you won’t find anything better than the Festool 574432 Domino Joiner DF 500 Q.