Money-Saving DIY Festool Domino Tenons

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homemade domino tenon

I have to admit that as a hobbyist woodworker of modest means, my Domino purchase was a bit of a budget breaker. I decided that I would reduce the total cost of ownership of this tool by making my own tenons using scrap wood. Penny wise and pound foolish you say? I think not. When I mentioned this strategy to a couple members of the WWGOA editorial team, it led to some lively debate as to whether this could really deliver actual savings when the “dollars to hassle ratio” was taken into account. Ultimately, I believe it will be up to each individual to decide this, but I have found it extremely quick and simple to convert scrap material into perfectly sized floating tenons.

In a simple timed test using wood that had been relegated to my kindling pile, I was able to make 100 tenons (6mm x 40mm) in about 15 minutes. That’s about $10 worth of tenons, making my pay-off roughly $40/hour. OK, I’ll never get rich with this program, but these savings will add up over the years and I will also never have to put a project on hold because I ran out of tenons.

making floating tenons
To make the tenons, plane stock to ¾” thickness, then rip strips to the desired thickness of the tenon. Set the table saw fence using a factory-made Domino tenon and then test the fit in a mortise cut by the Domino itself to ensure a perfect fit. Cut them to length on the bandsaw, or leave them long and cut them at the time of my project to ensure the proper length. I don’t bother rounding over the corners as they do not enhance strength, and at ¾” the cheek is a bit wider than on the factory-made ones, providing roughly 20% more gluing surface.

DIY Domino Benefits

  • • More gluing surface
  • • Never run out
  • • Free tenons
  • • Feel better my expensive Domino purchase (priceless)

As an alternative, if your planer or surface sander handles thin material well, you could plane the stock to the desired tenon thickness, measuring with a precise caliper, then rip to width on a table saw.

Whatever your approach, if you are a penny-pinching Domino owner like me, then some homemade Dominos might just be in your future!

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9 Responses to “Money-Saving DIY Festool Domino Tenons”


    dominos jointer is too expensive is for the reason i want you to help me

  2. Ian Chadwick

    Hi. You could improve your shop made dominoes by first run the stock through a round over router bit before you cut them down to size, I know it's a little more work but the fit I find is much better. Enjoy Ian M Chadwick

  3. Terence

    Gentlemen! Thank you for this discussion. As much as I did not care for “dad”, this conversation brought me to his workshop. My dad used to take me to the junk yard. They call them hoarders now. HeHe. He made EVERYTHING he needed, including his tools. I am teaching myself my father’s love for wood- I guess he wasn’t so bad after all. Lol. Thank you again - parephasing my dad, passed in 1979 @ 60 - he life lesson was use what the good lord gives you. Good gives me some fancy ones in the inventory case I don’t want bother. Lucky me.

  4. Marcus Kett

    I made a video on this here but I rounded off the corners. I like to make my own as I can choose the species of wood. have fun

  5. Phil Kethel

    I live in Australia I got my domino machine when it first came out and I haven't looked back. But after about 12 months I thought what could I do with all my off cut strips so I started making my own tenons out of all kinds of different timber and probably have between 15 and 20,000 8 x 50 and would like to sell some

  6. Dennis Wiederhold

    i own the big Domino . Its become indispensable in my shop for furniture making ..i thought about making my own tenons on my William Hussy molder ..of course you got to have 4 separate cutters made . next time i am talking to my tooling guy i will ask him if he can reproduce the glue ridges must have these glue ridges on this kind of joining method ..when i make traditional mortise and tenon i factor in 'reservoir' at bottom for glue to go ..other wise unless your joint is sloppy your gong have problems .. .. i just bought the beech 750 mm box (18x)of 14 mil tenons for around 90 bucks ...that works out to about .17 per inch .lets say i use 12 inches .12 x.17 = 2.04 and so on . for typical job ....2 bucks on average per thousand dollar of any job ..i can afford festool product .

  7. Dave Smith

    I've done this a few times when I ran out of dominos. Thing is, I've always rounded over the edges ... silly me. The point of the domino is primarily alignment in the one direction - and I often make the mating hole larger anyway to allow for me to align in the other direction as necessary. ALSO, I really like that I can make wider dominos for greater strength. Thank you.

  8. Ken

    Paul, I noticed on the factory made item the glue ridges, same as on some dowel pins I use. I have made or used regular wood dowels and had the glue actually squeeze through the wood and I have had the side walls crack. I could see this happening with the straight walled shop made version dominoes. Whats the teams take on this. Ken

  9. John

    Paul, I like your homemade dominio solution, with one caveat: Not rounding / bullnosing the corners may work for softwood tenons, but I can't see your method working with hardwood ones. Agree?