Milling Loose Tenons (aka DIY dominos)

Loose tenons

Loose tenons ready for use.

When I am making my own loose tenons, I have cause to remember thinking how absurd milling dominos was as I read about it on the Festool Owners Group. After all, one of the key benefits of using the Domino is the time savings, savings lessened by milling your own loose tenons instead of using Festool’s pre-made dominos. As it turns out, there are situations where a custom tenon suits, especially when I’m using the Domino joiner on the widest cutting setting. As designed, this width is intended to allow for slight mis-alignment when using multiple tenons to join parts together. It’s also a way to use wider tenons than those available from Festool.¬†

It’s in these situations that I end up making my own tenons despite my original misgivings. To mill my own tenons, I rip scrap stock to width, then to slightly over intended thickness on the table saw. I then hand plane these blanks to final thickness and round over the sharp edges of the tenon with a roundover bit chucked in a trim router. It does take¬†some time, but not as much as I originally expected, and the extra width is nice to have when I need it.

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