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Video Transcript

In this joining systems buying guide, we're going to talk about joining systems and also take a look at what sort of considerations you need to look at when you're looking to purchase a joining system. Let’s have a look at traditional joins where we use a biscuit. These have been used for some time and the one thing with biscuits is they have got a tendency to swell. This swelling depends on the moisture content and so on; they have got only a certain strength. Therefore they're limited by that. It also depends on what thickness material and height you’re using. You sometimes can't actually lock a particular join together.

Obviously swelling and expansion can be an issue. Often with biscuits, it takes a considerable amount of effort to mark them out. There's obviously a lot of mark out to do before you do the cuts. Another traditional one is dowling. Dowling has been around for a long time. It's where we can put a single unit in. The downfall with that is it tends to twist, so we need two dowels into a join to stop any twisting with material. This can be a little bit time-consuming. Both of these joins are really designed for interior applications. Before you make a choice on types of joining systems you're going to use, it's good if you can use them for both interior and exterior joins.

The key considerations to look at are the size of the timber that you're going to use. That would also then navigate you to the best size product you need.

Can you apply the tool to various applications? This is really important. Rather than just being able to use it for a single application, there might be three or four things that you can use it for.

For set up, traditionally a lot of the joining systems take a lot of measurement. They take a lot of setup for height, depths and so on. If you can get a tool that can make this lot quicker, that gives you the ability to work a  lot faster.

The other important thing is dust extraction. Dust extraction will make your work faster, healthier and will also reduce the cleanup. When you require fast and stable joins, this is where the domino system really sets itself apart. We've used these as an example here, the biscuit and the dowel. When we have a look at the domino, the domino is a cross between the two, particularly in a join like this. We've got a miter joint and we've got a single join where we can lock it into place.

There's no chance that the timber will twist and also no chance that it'll move. We know that once we've glued that, that's exactly where it's going to stay. This is a benefit of working with that; we can keep it in one spot. Traditionally with biscuits as well, we are very limited as far as the width is concerned. As another example, for a very thin material, we've only got the one option of being able to use a dowel. We look at the disadvantage that potentially this can twist. When gluing up, we've got to watch exactly where we are and where it’s positioned. With the domino, we can use just a single domino and then that will stop any twisting and lock the join into place.

This is ideally just having a look at different applications there. There are also applications where we might need to be pretty versatile. For example, sometimes we need to work on round material. This could be for handrails or something like that. We need to be able to lock the actual tool into the spot to be able to use the domino. Different systems that are behind it enable us to work really quickly. When we spoke about the narrow material for an application like this, where we have thin material, this would be impossible to do with the biscuit. We'd only have the option of the dowel. When we're working with it, we need to be able to lock it into place so that when we cut in there for the joint, it doesn't move around. 

Little smart accessories in the system really help us to work quickly. This enables us to lock the piece into the machine. Then we can work not only quickly but we can do it repetitively as well. Any other type of handrail that we need to use can also be applied. As mentioned before, to have a versatile tool means we can accomplish interior and exterior jobs. A big benefit of this system is that we can use it for both. We've got beech dowels for interiors. Then if we need to do exterior applications, like joining fascias, or when making furniture, whatever it might be, we've also got mahogany for an exterior application. We can choose a) the right type of domino and b) we can also choose what size of dominoes.

Another application with a biscuit and a dowel is where we want to do repetitive joins. This could be where we want to put a dowel all in a row or where we want to do a series of biscuit joints that we might be doing along a tabletop or something like that. With those types of applications, there is usually a lot of marking out. We've got to put all the boards together, we've got to line them up and we've got to actually put all the lines down to give us a reference point to use the biscuit or a dowel cutter. In this type of application, we can also work really quickly with the domino. You can see here, these boards could be 2 meters long and we could have five or six or eight of them that we want to join up. We can join these together in one. The idea of this application is that we can set up stops on each side of the machine which allow us to do repetitive cuts without doing any mark out. It's something that really adds to the speed of the whole system.

Exact positioning for the machine is really important. With these, we've got certain systems and we can see these stops here. We can always work repeatedly with the stops. It means that if we've got material that is the same width, we don't need to mark anything out, it really is quite easy. It makes it quick and easy to do the join.

There's a wide range of accessories with the dominoes and we do these in a DF500 and we also do a DF 700. The 500 really covers all general applications in joinery and furniture making. It works for cabinets, small tables or other types of furniture. We also do a connection device - connectors where we can join these pieces together. For the DF500, we've got the smaller connectors. These connectors would be for the 700. With the 700, we would take the material to the machine. It might be a Tenoning machine or a Dowel machine, whatever it is. We cart it over there. The whole idea of the 700 is that we can take the tool to the material. This saves us time and gives us a really good structural join.

We use the 500 for furniture, chairs, boxes etc. DF700 is where the applications are bigger. It could be larger beds, tables, doors and so on. It’s really important when you're looking for a system to note where you can use it and how versatile it is. This will make your job a lot easier and also allow you to use it for a lot of applications.

If you want to see and know more than this joining systems buying guide can offer, our technical consultants will come out and see you on site. So give us a call. They'll come out, they’ll show you the system, you can use it and then you can see where it can really benefit you.


Festool Joining System

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