Dado sled

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Project by RusticElements posted 09-20-2008 01:40 PM 7178 views 8 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, after dadoing enough pieces for 3 beehives (96 pieces, dadoed both ends), I discovered my jig (which had to be set for each batch) was out ~1/64”. After 5 dados on each piece that makes the measurement out 5/64”, over 1/16”! Needless to say they didn’t fit together very well. I managed to make short pieces out of the long ones but over all, 3/4 of ~$150 worth of wood is now on the burn pile.

So I thought it was about time I made something that I didn’t have to set every time and take the chance of the measurements being out. So, behold, my new dado sled. It will accommodate up to 7 pieces up to 10 1/2” wide. It’s not adjustable, although the plate with the red and blue marks on it could be replaced for a different measurement. Since this is a dedicated unit I never have to change the measurements, thus never making the previous mistake again (I hope ;)).

There’s a little tear out on the last piece but that can be put inside the hive and be out of sight. Having so many pieces stacked together prevents tear out on the vast majority.

It’s all made from material I had laying around. The sled runners (I know there’s a proper name, I don’t know what it is) are red oak, the rest is 3/4 ply. The plates are 1/8” aluminum. I drilled the marked plate on my milling machine so the measurements are dead accurate. Placing the pin (on the front box) in the holes with the red marks will make the side pieces and the blue marks will make the end pieces.

I plan on ordering a couple of suitable jig clamps to mount on the front and side to hold the wood in place, but a bar clamp and wedge will have to do for now.

-- Michael R. Harvey - Brewster, NY - - -

14 comments so far

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 4311 days

#1 posted 09-20-2008 03:23 PM

Forgive me, it might be that I just woke up, but how does this sled work to make dadoes? Looks like you are cutting end grain, and I thought a dado was a wide cut cross grain….

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View RusticElements's profile


167 posts in 4283 days

#2 posted 09-20-2008 03:52 PM

Well this certainly shows my vast expertise doesn’t it?!? I guess I’m not cutting dados, I’m using a dado blade to cut finger joints.

Thanks for the correction. I’ll get this wood working lingo down yet ;).

-- Michael R. Harvey - Brewster, NY - - -

View Dominic Vanacora's profile

Dominic Vanacora

508 posts in 4427 days

#3 posted 09-20-2008 04:20 PM

Well your ingenuity is showing. You had a problem and you sloved it. A rose is still a rose no matter what you call it.

-- Dominic, Trinity, Florida...Lets be safe out there.

View Christopher's profile


576 posts in 4478 days

#4 posted 09-20-2008 04:42 PM

Dude, this is a great idea!

View Gary's profile


1431 posts in 4882 days

#5 posted 09-20-2008 04:44 PM


I’m still confused; I don’t see how that jig helps you make box (finger) joints.
When making said joint, there’s got to be a way to move the board an exact fixed distance sideways
repeatedly to make the sequential cuts. Google “Lynn’s Box Joint Jig” and you’ll see what I mean.
The one place I could see the jig you’re showing as being useful is for the inner cover as seen in this PDF file:

Hope that’s useful,

-- Gary, Florida

View woodspyder's profile


80 posts in 4187 days

#6 posted 09-20-2008 05:14 PM

It looks to me like you lift the whole box containing the pieces being cut and move it over, using the aluminum as your guide is that correct.
Either way great idea!

-- Measure three times, cut twice.

View Gary's profile


1431 posts in 4882 days

#7 posted 09-20-2008 05:23 PM

I get it now; the first picture is loaded with boards but not loaded as it’s used. That’s partly
what was confusing me.
Good idea Michael—Mass production at its finest.

-- Gary, Florida

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4443 days

#8 posted 09-20-2008 09:59 PM

Still no comprehende.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Grumpy's profile


25841 posts in 4409 days

#9 posted 09-20-2008 11:35 PM

Nothing like a top jig Michael.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View RusticElements's profile


167 posts in 4283 days

#10 posted 09-21-2008 12:18 AM

Ok, to help explain how this contraption works…
My camera stopped recording after 2:45 but it shows enough to get the general idea.

-- Michael R. Harvey - Brewster, NY - - -

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4857 days

#11 posted 09-21-2008 12:46 AM

Pretty neat. Good thinking!

After seeing the video, it cleared things up for me.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 4311 days

#12 posted 09-21-2008 02:05 AM

Ahh! I get it! It’s a mass production box joint jig!

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Bureaucrat's profile


18341 posts in 4210 days

#13 posted 09-21-2008 04:24 AM

Thanks for the video. That really cleared it up for me. Neat idea!

-- Gary D.

View shopsmithpoppi's profile


37 posts in 3108 days

#14 posted 09-20-2011 11:03 PM

I did not understand the purpose of your sled until I seen the video. But what a cool and neat idea. Great job.

If I may add my suggestion for your clamping issues.

What you could do is but in a screw clap on the front and the right side of your box. With a “T” bar or a plate of some kind attached to the screw making it a screw clamp like a vise. this should solve your problem of clamping for your pieces. Just my humble suggestion.

-- Think it, See it, Design it. Build it, Enjoy it!

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