how to slot on a TS safely

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Forum topic by Karda posted 09-24-2020 06:17 AM 566 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2534 posts in 1437 days

09-24-2020 06:17 AM

Hi, I want to make a closed end slot all the way through a piece 1.5” wide the slot will be about 12 ” long. i want to do this on my table saw is it safe thanks

22 replies so far

View AlaskaGuy's profile (online now)


6113 posts in 3193 days

#1 posted 09-24-2020 06:49 AM

What is the size and the kind of wood do you want the slot in. Wood had 3 dimensions?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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2534 posts in 1437 days

#2 posted 09-24-2020 07:16 AM

my piece will be 1.5 widex.75 thick am making a shaker door but i will be putting four together to make a display case with 3 Lexan panels. i want to make through slots in the top rails so I can lower the Lexan in before i put on the top. pictured is a diagram of the concept thanks

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John Smith

2729 posts in 1046 days

#3 posted 09-24-2020 11:38 AM

do you have a way to make thin lumber – like thickness planer or router sled ?
if so, you could very safely glue up thin panels with the slot you need.

I’m just wondering why a rabbet in the back of the frame is not an option.


-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View drsurfrat's profile


157 posts in 70 days

#4 posted 09-24-2020 11:40 AM

If I understand right, the geometry won’t let you use a table saw, even with a 10” blade, you will have leftover fill where the arc of the table saw blade won’t reach.

What about just laminating three 1/4” pieces to make the slot? Lexan would slide in much more smoothly.

-- Mike (near Boston) ... Laziness is the mother of invention, necessity is the mother of exhaustion - me

View HokieKen's profile


15158 posts in 2022 days

#5 posted 09-24-2020 12:35 PM

Router is the way to go on this one IMO.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Brawler's profile


176 posts in 714 days

#6 posted 09-24-2020 12:38 PM

Do you mean a slot like you would make for a zero clearance insert, but maybe wider?

-- Daniel, Pontiac, MI

View Robert's profile


4052 posts in 2364 days

#7 posted 09-24-2020 01:32 PM

Router or tables saw, either way 2 sides will be a stop cut & you’ll have to square the corners.

Or make your life easy and install a cleat. No one will know the difference & you eliminate the chance of screwing up your project.

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

View Madmark2's profile


1717 posts in 1472 days

#8 posted 09-24-2020 04:54 PM

Its called a dado, or in this case a stopped dado. A thru dado is easy and safe on the TS. A stopped dado is not. Stopped dados are properly cut with a mortising machine (impractical for long cuts) or with a router table, not a table saw.

Cut it full length on the saw and put a tenon on the ends of the top & bottom rails.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View PurpLev's profile


8598 posts in 4532 days

#9 posted 09-24-2020 05:47 PM

If you are putting on a top that will cover the frame, you don’t necessarily need a stopped dado, and can just do a regular dado which can be done on the TS with a dado blade, or multiple passes with a flat tooth blade.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View pottz's profile


11717 posts in 1868 days

#10 posted 09-24-2020 06:29 PM

Router is the way to go on this one IMO.

- HokieKen

+1 do you have a router table ?

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View bondogaposis's profile


5872 posts in 3235 days

#11 posted 09-24-2020 07:55 PM

i want to make through slots in the top rails so I can lower the Lexan in before i put on the top. pictured is a diagram of the concept thanks

It would be far better to rabbit the back after each panel is assembled on the the router table, then put in glass stops to hold the Lexan. A slot through the top is crazy talk. It would not be remotely safe on the table saw.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View LeeRoyMan's profile


1422 posts in 611 days

#12 posted 09-24-2020 08:16 PM

Pictures are worth a 1000 words.

The top rail stays attached to the lexan panel.

View Karda's profile


2534 posts in 1437 days

#13 posted 09-24-2020 08:39 PM

first off I don’t have a router and don’t know how to use one. i think the easiest for me would be to rip the piece then close of the end with an insert, my question is this is a mortise & tenon joint how do i do that. here is a video that somebody suggested as the way to build the sides

View Loren's profile


10718 posts in 4531 days

#14 posted 09-24-2020 09:06 PM

^^^ is there a reason you can’t accept inserting the lexan panel in while gluing up the frame?

I don’t see a slot through the wide part of a 2” wide x 3/4” thick rail being a sensible cut.

Could you accept the frame being open at the top, then drop in the lexan and pocket screw the rails in place? With a stub tenon for alignment your frame faces should be relatively flush and you’ll avoid making a mess with glue.

View Axis39's profile


357 posts in 481 days

#15 posted 09-24-2020 11:14 PM

Yes, you can simply run the boards through the table saw to make a groove, or dado the length of the board, then cut a small block to fill the dado. Or, you could cut a block for the ends like LeeRoyMan has illustrated. That is probably the most elegant solution for a through dado.

I do this all the time.

I do stopped dadoes on the table saw a lot too. But, I’ve got a lot fo experience and been doing this for a few decades now. It can be bit unnerving if you aren’t comfortable using a table saw. It also requires some work to clean up the ends. As others have mentioned earlier, I prefer to do this on the router table.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

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