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Tool Review: Festool Domino DF 500 Joiner

Precision and utility are hallmarks of this mortise and tenon joiner from Festool

September 21, 2016

Photo: courtesy

This is an excerpt from a longer article. Read the full-length original review at

Right out of the box, the Domino DF 500 oozes professional quality. Even the case it comes in, part of Festool’s interlocking Systainer system, had us walking a little taller. As soon as we picked it up, we noticed how comfortable it feels in hand, even though it weighs 7 pounds. The extra heft actually helps to keep the tool stable during use. Setup, while not exactly plug-and-play, is mostly a matter of figuring out which knob does what. Fortunately, Festool provides a “Getting Started” video that walks through all of the dials and levers. 

Favorite Features

Some of our favorite features have to do with basic adjustments when setting up cuts.

Depth. To set the mortise depth, you unlock a lever mounted on the left side, select the depth preset that matches the domino you're using, and lock the lever back down. Simple and precise.

Height. You can set the height at which the cutter head contacts the material in two ways: using the presets on the Board Thickness Gauge located on the left side toward the front; or, with the Board Thickness Gauge at its lowest setting, by unlocking a lever (visible on the right side of the tool in the lead photo) to raise and lower the fence.

Width. A green dial on top of the tool changes the width of the mortise. The first setting is for cutting a mortise to match a particular domino. Two other settings result in ...

Read about other features of the DF 500 Joiner in the full-length review at

About the Author

Richard Kent, a professionally trained journeyman carpenter, co-owns a stair and trim installation company with his son Matthew. 

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