Dado Jig for the Router

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Blog entry by Rich posted 07-20-2019 02:38 PM 1505 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built one of these a couple of years back and unfortunately didn’t make it long enough for 24” panels. It was based on this one. While it did the job exactly as it should, I never liked the fact that the knobs to adjust it were underneath. It required the jig and the board both to be elevated when you cut the dado.

I need to route dadoes for shelves in the sides of an upright pantry for a client. The sides are 90” tall, so wrestling them over a dado set on my saw is out of the question. I decided that rebuilding the jig was the best course.

I wanted two features. One was to have the knobs on the top so it and the board being cut could be flat on the bench. The other was to have replaceable strips on the legs.

The new MicroJig MatchFit dovetail track hardware solved the first one. They are very low profile, and while that knob might look like it’s too small to tighten much, these dovetail pieces really grab inside the dovetailed slot and very little tightening is needed to keep the leg of the jig in place. By making the fence and legs wider and using that tiny knob, it gave me the clearance I needed for the router base.

The second on my wishlist was easy. I just rabbeted the underside of the legs, milled some strips to screw in and trimmed with the router. I made the rabbet 1” wide and cut the strips 1-1/8”. Since the template bushing is 5/8” and the bit is 1/2” the difference is 1/16”. (In the article they use a 1” bushing so the difference is 1/4” on that one). This jig will work with any bit/bushing combination that are 1/8” different. Also, the replaceable strips mean that for other bit/bushing size differences all I have to do is mill new strips and screw them in.

You can read the article I linked for the details on how to use the jig.

Here are some photos:

This is the jig. I just threw it together with some alder I had.

Here are the replaceable strips. Since they are used to set the width of the dado, if they get dinged up it could affect the performance of the jig and I wanted to be able to replace them if needed.

Here is the MatchFit dovetail clamp. They work well. All you need is a 1/2” 14º dovetail bit to cut the slot. Like I said, they really grip in that slot.

Here is the dovetail slot.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

3 comments so far

View LeeRoyMan's profile


1950 posts in 888 days

#1 posted 07-20-2019 03:24 PM

I worked at a production cabinet shop in 77’.
Island cabinets had v-grooves in the backs to look like paneling.
These grooves were routed in by the people in the sanding department. They used a t-square to run the router down the back and were forever coming off the fence, making me replace the back. Finally I made a jig similar to yours that the router ran down between the 2 fences, eliminating the chance of a crooked v-groove.
Then I only had to change them when they got the spacing wrong. lol

Your dovetails are a nice addition for adjustment.
The one I made was fixed to the router base size. (now I use a her-saf panel router) AAA ;)

View Rich's profile


7108 posts in 1750 days

#2 posted 07-20-2019 03:32 PM

The one I made was fixed to the router base size. (now I use a her-saf panel router) AAA ;)

- LeeRoyMan

You da man, LeeRoyMan! I’ve seen the size jobs you do so I bet that’s a handy item. I don’t really expect to be building too many more 90” tall cabinets. Even so, now that I have a jig that can span a decent width, I’ll use it for other jobs.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Desert_Woodworker's profile


7479 posts in 2376 days

#3 posted 03-13-2021 02:11 AM

So much talent… +1

-- Desert_Woodworker

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