We've had the smaller of the two models (must be the 500) for about a year now. It was basically gifted to us because an architect was requiring the GC to build with dominoes and the GC couldn't find a shop that had one.
While I really like some of the Festool products, I must admit that we barely ever use this tool. We'll grab a biscuit joiner or do a traditional mortise and tenon before we'd pick up the Domino. I can't imagine paying for one!
For cabinet work the 500 is better. If you want to work with thicker material, man doors, etc., the 700 is more appropriate as it will make mortises up to 14 mm thick and 75mm deep. The 500 is limited to 10mm x 28mm. At my last job we had both and they got used quite a bit for custom cabinets, furniture and millwork. Expensive but good value in my opinion, and unique. Compared to a biscuit joiner they provide much tighter vertical alignment and a narrower but stronger joint.
+1 on Kevin's comments, I have both and each is suited for different work. I use the 500 for reinforcing miters, joints and a variety of alignment tasks. The 700 I mainly use for passage doors. If you're planning on taking one to a job site, the 500 is much smaller, lighter and easier to freehand. If you're unsure, use the thirty day trial period to test one. My biscuit joiner made its way to the dumpster years ago.
The 500 is a great tool for material 8/4 and smaller. This is great for sheet goods. The 700 is great for 8/4 and up. If you are using 8/4 and larger, once in awhile 6/4 the 700 is the unit.
I hear people say they prefer a biscuit jointer, they are great for alignment, but offers no strength. The domino is a tenon cutter (they can be tight or loose), tenons provide Strength, great glue area and yes alignment.
I have both units. I purchased the 500 when it first came out. I mainly work with solid wood. The 700 is great for door construction and larger projects. I use the 500 for face frame construction on credenzas and cabinets that need to fit in elevators before final assemble.
"I hear people say they prefer a biscuit jointer, they are great for alignment, but offers no strength."
This statement is so wrong that it is laughable. I hear it most often on the hobbiest sites from Domino users, but now it has made it to a professional forum. Just because it keeps getting repeated does not make it true.
Full disclosure.... Harry sells Festool Dominos, so maybe it is in his best interest to trash the competition?
Lamello biscuit joiners provide excellent hold for panel products and are faster to use than the domino machines. For solid wood I'd use the dominos. I own both. I've also owned several brands of biscuit machines and the Lamello brand is the best by a fair margin.
I have the domino 500 and the lamello Zeta P2 biscuit joiner. I have to say, ever since I bought the lamello I haven't been using the domino nearly as much. The only time I break it out anymore is if I can't use a biscuit because the wood piece is too narrow, pocket screws from the backside aren't applicable for the piece.
The fact that the lamello Zeta P2 can use the cam locking biscuits, and tenso clip biscuits has changed up a lot of how I build (depending on the application of course). But for paint grade I barely throw a clamp on anything anymore. I just glue it and throw tenso clips/ clamex biscuits in there to hold the seam tight while the glue sets up. If there is a tiny gap in the glue joint, it gets hit with bondo anyhow.
Stain grade on the other hand still gets the clamps unless one side is not seen and the clamex biscuits can be used. Those things draw so freaking tight with the proper set up that you don't even need to put clamps on it. Obviously, if it's seen on both sides this won't work as you have to drill a hole on one side to access the allen key.
The biscuits are expensive, but I build that into the cost of the job if I know I'm going to need to use them.
Glad to hear that your Zeta is working out so well for you! There are lots of other things the P-system is capable that you probably don't know about yet. Stay tuned to our YouTube channel for new application videos or contact me anytime. (In addition to being the Lamello product manager, I used to run a shop for 10 years).
There's a really easy depth adjustment you can make to your Zeta that should eliminate that little gap when using Tensos. See the instructional video link below - that's me hosting the Lamello Lessons video series.
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