Woodpeckers recently came out with the MortiseMatch, which is “like a router table for your [Festool] Domino.”
The Woodpeckers MortiseMatch is basically a huge base that allows you to bring smaller work to the Festool Domino floating tenon mortise cutter, rather than taking the tool to your workpiece.
The MortiseMatch is priced at $699.99 and is set to launch at the end of September, 2022.
Note: Woodpeckers’ limited time introductory price that cannot be beat has ended, with $699.99 as the final preorder and planned retail price.
Woodworking enthusiasts have accused Woodpeckers of stealing the idea from Carmonius Finsnickeri, which shared details about his innovative jig in a YouTube video 2 years ago.
Woodpeckers has responded to the controversy on YouTube, saying:
We’ve recently received some criticism accusing us of stealing this product idea from a YouTube video. While we certainly saw the video in question while researching MortiseMatch, it was only one of the videos and articles we found. The earliest similar design we found was from 2001, 18 years earlier than the video that is being claimed to be the soul source of our inspiration.
Nothing in our marketing of MortiseMatch claimed this to be a completely unique idea. In fact, the second paragraph of the product release email specifically mentioned that we had reviewed several designs online and found them to be lacking certain features we found critically important, primarily the ability to adjust the height of the cut.
Here are just a few of the links to web pages we found while researching table mounting the Domino, all of which pre-date the Carmonius Finsnickeri video by almost 2 decades.
Shown here is Finsnickeri’s Domino table.
Finsnickeri responded to Woodpecker’s statement, with paragraph breaks added in for easier readability:
I have stayed away from commenting but since you [Woodpeckers] didn’t answer my email I give my side of the story here.
I also made some search when I did my Domino table and found some of the ones you linked to. As opposed to bisquits, where the left to right alignment isn’t super critical, the domino cuts needs to be spot on for a jig like this to make any sense.
So, I invented the workflow with flipping the fence in a fast and very accurate way. This is where it differs from “just another bisquit joiner table” and what makes it a domino jig rather than bisquit jig. It also gives the advantage that the cut doesn’t need to be centered in thickness. This is the brain in the product, not the table itself, and this workflow I was first with.
My Domino table was also the first (what I know) that addressed how to work with different thicknesses, as well as solving work holding in a simple, quick and flexible way. Not that revolutionary though since Microjig released their clamps and everybody use this concept, but I used the (festool) routed in clamp concept since 2011.
Anyway, as I wrote on Festool Owners Group, I’m not as upset as other seems to be although I think it looks a lot like my table. Also I think the timing to “try the domino on narrow parts” some 15 years after it was released could be a factor to the reactions as it lines up pretty well with the release of my videos. As you are aware of Veritas handled this differently and saw me as the originator, but each to his own, that’s not my business.
Biscuit joiner jigs have indeed been around for some time. However, Finsnickeri’s Domino table looks to greatly improve upon the concept in unique ways.
Woodpeckers’ $700 MortiseMatch looks to enhance things further, but is it too close to Finsnickeri’s design?
It is not uncommon for tool brands to pay inventors and community members for original ideas that they convert into profitable products.
Sparkfun, a brand and retailer that specializes in hobbyist-type electronics products, came out with a third hand kit, and they state on the product page that they pay a royalty to the person whose Instructable tutorial inspired its design.
Lee Valley/Veritas worked with Peter Parfitt on their MFT/3 and multifunctional table dogs. As Veritas partnered with Parfitt to make their stainless steel Parf dogs, it is presumed that the inventor receives a portion of the sales.
I would assume that Woodpeckers’ Paolini Pocket Rule results in a royalty to furniture maker Gregory Paolini.
Karas Pen Co. partnered with Dudek Modern Goods on machined pen storage cubes that were adapted from Mike Dudek’s small batch wood cubes.
Tool brands usually work with individual inventors and makers when unique design drive their commercial product ideas.
In the context of Woodpeckers’ MortiseMatch, the two designs are admittedly similar. But is Finsnickeri’s design different enough from the biscuit joiner tables that preceded it?
Lee Valley has a Veritas shooting board, but the style is so familiar that no one can be credited with the idea.
Equipping a tool with glow in the dark handles is not an original idea.
But, is Finsnickeri’s Domino table original enough of an idea where maybe Woodpeckers should have worked with them on the MortiseMatch Domino table?
Woodpeckers’ ideas are ripped off all the time, with knockoffs and counterfeits easily found on Amazon and elsewhere, and so they should be sensitive to how this looks.
Woodpeckers are good people, or at least this was still true a few years ago when I last talked with anyone there, and I am inclined to believe they are still good people, and that this is just an unfortunate situation.
Here’s what it comes down to: Did Finsnickeri’s Domino table inspire Woodpeckers’ new MortiseMatch Domino table in a measurable way?
That Woodpeckers doesn’t credit them at all implies that their answer is no. But woodworkers – and Finsnickeri – are of the opinion that a major design element was copied.
There’s no legal obligation for companies to credit anyone for unpatented or unprotected ideas. But is this ethical?
As referenced in Finsnickeri public response to Woodpeckers, Lee Valley/Veritas is ALSO building a Festool Domino table. Here’s what Rob Lee from Lee Valley said about the matter:
We have a modified version in pre-production right now – and ARE paying Ola [Carmonius Finsnickeri] royalties.
We don’t yet know what the Veritas version will look like, but Lee Valley will be crediting and paying royalties to Finsnickeri for his contribution to their Domino table design.
Should Woodpeckers have done the same? Woodpeckers apparently thinks no while the woodworking community seems to be heavily leaning towards yes.
Here are the videos for anyone that wants to learn more: