You can also view my gallery at Designs en Bois.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A one-day table? Impossible!

My wife is absolutely famous for calling out my manhood.  You see, any time she has a suggestion for a new project, she usually challenges me with something like “just slap it together – how hard can it be?”  I’m not a miracle worker; I can’t just build a quality piece of furniture using real joinery in a single day – it just can’t be done.  But this time around, fortune was smiling on me.  I just happened to get a very timely email that helped me employ a new secret weapon to counter the manhood-questioning barbs from my wife.   That’s right, I managed to get my hands on the Festool Domino XL joinery system ahead of its commercial release in the US.  It wasn’t even in stores yet - she would never know!  So I threw down the gauntlet and predicted I’d actually be able to build that elusive one-day table and regain my pride.

So, this new series challenges conventional woodworking wisdom and documents how I was able to build a shaker-style table from start to finish in a single day.  It uses aprons tenoned into tapered legs, as well as an edge-joined hardwood top.  And just to prove I didn’t take any short cuts, I built the whole thing out of ash, one of the hardest, bit-chomping species out there.  Episode one concentrates on construction of the top, as well as my first take on the Domino XL.  Subsequent episodes will go into some other time saving-techniques I employed both with the Domino and some creative combinations of power tools.  Now if you'll excuse me, my wife has just placed an order for a Queen Anne highboy for delivery first thing tomorrow - I had best get started.

Right click to download the HD version of this video


ChrisHasFlair said...

Hi Rob,

Yes, prepping your stock ahead of time is cheating, but I forgive you! :)

I'm really interested in seeing how your version of the one-day (ash) table turns out.


Woodworkin' & Good Eats said...

Looking forward to seeing the finished table. Steve

Anonymous said...

Where did you get the Domino XL if it isn't in stores yet?

Rob Bois said...

I was selected as a test user for the Domino XL. As a test user, you get to use the tool for several months before its release. And full disclosure, this isn't a freebie, nor am I in any way given any incentive to say positive things about the tool. It's just an early access program and I can purchase the tool at a discount at the end.

Garnet70 said...


I just found your blog and love it so far. Keep up the great work! Following up on your comment about the tradeoffs between the Domino and the DXL, I thought the biggest tradeoffs were the weight of the DXL potentially making it difficult to make truly perpendicular cuts, especially in thin stock. I'm also glad you point out that the smallest 8mm bit (roughly 1/3 of an inch) limits the practical application to stock that's nearly one inch thick. To what extent do you think these two factors would limit your ability to use this machine to make furniture? Assuming you were always working with 3/4 or larger stock, do you think you could live without the standard Domino and rely on the DXL for your floating tenon needs? Thank in advance for your feedback.

Rob Bois said...

I would say the biggest limitation to the XL in terms of stock thickness is not the bit diameter, but the fence itself. I find it perfectly safe to cut mortises half the width of stock. 8mm is not even 3/8" wide, and perfectly suited to 3/4" stock. However, the fence when lowered all the way will still sit proud of 3/4" stock, meaning you would have to hang the domino off the end of a bench to cut the joinery. I would still say the XL can be used quite effectively even with 3/4" stock, but if that's typically all you work with, the original Domino is likely the better choice. However, if you often use thicker stock, the XL is likely the more versatile option.