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Cutting Dados in thin/small wood, near edges?

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Forum topic by Killavolt posted 12-15-2018 04:39 PM 908 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Killavolt

21 posts in 1297 days


12-15-2018 04:39 PM

Hello everyone,
I’m currently working on building this shelf to hold my hobby paints. I original made one out of MDF and without a dado blade…. I did ok.

So I decided I’d use some better material and went with poplar pieces for the uprights 93/8”x2”), and oak pieces for the shelves (1/4”x2”)

As you can see I’ve decided to go nuts and make an absolutely insane amount of dado cuts to secure the shelves to the uprights. I did buy a Freud pro dado set for this.
I have a 12” compound mitre saw, and a 10” table saw to do this job….nothing fancy.

So here’s my question. What would be the best/safest way to cut the dados that are near the bottom of the pieces of poplar (1/4” between the end of the piece and the dado) since these are such small pieces of wood?

I want to make nice straight cuts, and my tablesaw (Ridgid) is fairly new with only a little bit of use on it…..but I’m not sure the guide is actually accurate because if I line it up to cut a 1” strip it won’t be exactly 1” according to the tape on the saw table.

I really want to make sure all of these dado cuts line up so the shelf is perfectly square and true. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


15 replies so far

View JohnDon's profile

JohnDon

89 posts in 1650 days


#1 posted 12-15-2018 05:36 PM

First, a disclaimer: I’m no woodworking expert, so my advice is worth what you paid for it.

I’ve never trusted the tape on the fence rail for absolute measurements, considering that different blades have different kerfs and offsets- esp. dado blades! I always find measuring from the blade with a good rule or tape measure more reassuring. I use the tape to make relative changes- moving the fence a fraction of an inch, etc.

First, make sure your miter gauge is square to your blade. Then, for dadoes near the ends of the uprights, I’d clamp a small stop block to your rip fence well ahead of the blade, and but the upright against that before advancing the gauge to make your cut. Say your block is 3/4” thick, and you want the dado 1-1/8” from the edge, secure your fence 1-7/8” away from the blade. The reason for the block is to avoid possible binding and kickback from making a crosscut with your piece contacting the fence.

For dadoes in the middle of the upright, screw a long straight board to your miter gauge and clamp a stop block to it at a distance from the blade to give the desired cut. Cut both uprights before moving to the next cut.

Apologies if this is too elementary.

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MrRon

5661 posts in 3724 days


#2 posted 12-15-2018 05:42 PM

I always make sample cuts on scrap and measure to insure the width and depth are correct before making the cuts on the good wood.

View Killavolt's profile

Killavolt

21 posts in 1297 days


#3 posted 12-15-2018 06:11 PM

I know my dado width is spot on, and I know an easy way to get the depth right.

I guess my main concern is making sure that I get consistent results on the cuts, and making sure they’re straight in terms of ripping the wood it leaves very little (1.5”) wood touching the fence so it could easily wobble.

So that’s where a guide block would help.

I definitely always check on scrap wood before cutting into the workpiece.

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JohnDon

89 posts in 1650 days


#4 posted 12-15-2018 06:38 PM



I guess my main concern is making sure that I get consistent results on the cuts, and making sure they re straight in terms of ripping the wood it leaves very little (1.5”) wood touching the fence so it could easily wobble.

- Killavolt

It sounds as though you’re using your rip fence to guide your dado cuts. That’s very dangerous, not to mention very inaccurate- “could easily wobble”, as you said. Use your miter gauge to guide your cuts, and your pieces should never touch the rip fence and the blade at the same time.

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bondogaposis

5520 posts in 2832 days


#5 posted 12-15-2018 06:47 PM

Forget the scale on the table saw, measure directly from the blade to the fence with an accurate rule.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Killavolt

21 posts in 1297 days


#6 posted 12-15-2018 06:55 PM


I guess my main concern is making sure that I get consistent results on the cuts, and making sure they re straight in terms of ripping the wood it leaves very little (1.5”) wood touching the fence so it could easily wobble.

- Killavolt

It sounds as though you re using your rip fence to guide your dado cuts. That s very dangerous, not to mention very inaccurate- “could easily wobble”, as you said. Use your miter gauge to guide your cuts, and your pieces should never touch the rip fence and the blade at the same time.

- JohnDon

Jesus I’m slow sometimes lol. I totally forgot about that thing. you could not be any more correct my good man. and thanks for reminding me of that.

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gwilki

318 posts in 1955 days


#7 posted 12-16-2018 03:16 AM

Are your uprights already ripped to the final 2” width? If they are, you can quit reading. :-)

If not, cut your dadoes in your uprights while they are still wide, then rip them to the final 2” width. That way, you know for sure that your dadoes will be exactly at the same dimension in all the uprights.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

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Killavolt

21 posts in 1297 days


#8 posted 12-16-2018 02:58 PM

they’re already cut yeah, I bought the precut “hobby boards” or whatever they’re called from home depot. pre cut pieces of nice wood for whatever purpose.

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1380 days


#9 posted 12-16-2018 04:44 PM

You could make a jig and use your router.

View Killavolt's profile

Killavolt

21 posts in 1297 days


#10 posted 12-16-2018 06:58 PM

I’m making the cuts today, and so far it’s turning out very well.

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Killavolt

21 posts in 1297 days


#11 posted 12-16-2018 07:02 PM

I have to say, I’m absolutely in love with this dado blade. I don’t know why, with all of the shit I’ve purchased, I haven’t yet justified one of these.

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a1Jim

117712 posts in 4058 days


#12 posted 12-16-2018 07:08 PM

“J “has a very good Idea but you might also consider making a sled for your table saw an use stops to help make things consistent. “Js” approach I think might be better for longer pieces. I see you have started but these Ideas might come in handy for next time.

View Robert's profile

Robert

3516 posts in 1962 days


#13 posted 12-17-2018 02:06 PM

Leave the sides wide, cut the dados, then rip to width. Easier and faster to run a wide board through than several using a miter gauge.

Set to the measurement, cut opposite sides, cut next shelf. That way even if your measurement is a bit off, the shelves will all line up perfect.

I cut the bottom dados by using a sacrificial fence and a miter gauge.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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splintergroup

2827 posts in 1703 days


#14 posted 12-17-2018 04:01 PM

Long piece crosscut dados on a TS are more difficult to control (I’ll use a router), but with care the accuracy can be just as good. The only issue tends to be keeping the stock flat so the dado is consistent in depth. The suggestions to dado then rip is the best way to keep things perfectly consistent, but with a wide enough shelf span you’ll never notice small errors.

For the end dados, the narrow strip can break off on occasion. In this case, cut the dado extra wide all the way to the end, then glue on a 1/4” wide strip to complete the dado.

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2439 days


#15 posted 12-17-2018 04:08 PM


I guess my main concern is making sure that I get consistent results on the cuts, and making sure they re straight in terms of ripping the wood it leaves very little (1.5”) wood touching the fence so it could easily wobble.

- Killavolt

It sounds as though you re using your rip fence to guide your dado cuts. That s very dangerous, not to mention very inaccurate- “could easily wobble”, as you said. Use your miter gauge to guide your cuts, and your pieces should never touch the rip fence and the blade at the same time.

- JohnDon

Yep – definitely need a sled or simple jig for these cuts. Your accuracy and safety will increase.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

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