Question: Dado Depth?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Steve Kreins posted 01-03-2014 04:22 PM 2561 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Steve Kreins's profile

Steve Kreins

358 posts in 2135 days

01-03-2014 04:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dado depth question joining pine tip

I just made a Dado Jig and it works great as a guide, however, it brings up a question. How do I determine a proper depth to cut a dado?
I’m building a shelving unit for my shop out of 1×10 pine for storing small power tools, sanders, router etc. The wood is 3/4 actual thickness. Is there a rule of thumb for depth of dado cut?
Does the material change the rule of thumb? i.e. plywood is going to be weakened if the cut is too deep.

I appreciate all of your help!

-- I thank God for everything, especially all of you!

11 replies so far

View RockyTopScott's profile


1186 posts in 3983 days

#1 posted 01-03-2014 04:26 PM

Look on YouTube for the DowntoEarthWoodworker. He does a test with different depth dados. It is interesting.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5733 posts in 2998 days

#2 posted 01-03-2014 04:31 PM

I never go more than 1/2 the thickness of the wood being cut with the dado, and generally I’ll just use 1/4” depth to make things a little easier.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View a1Jim's profile


117721 posts in 4082 days

#3 posted 01-03-2014 04:32 PM

I usually cut mine to 3/8” depth Charles Neil says 1/4” is just as strong.

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2791 days

#4 posted 01-03-2014 04:48 PM

I usually cut mine somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 the thickness of the stock.

-- John, BC, Canada

View TheDane's profile


5689 posts in 4168 days

#5 posted 01-03-2014 04:58 PM

You’d not want to go over 50%, but as A1Jim points out, Charles Neil says 1/4” is fine.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Steve Kreins's profile

Steve Kreins

358 posts in 2135 days

#6 posted 01-03-2014 05:02 PM

Thanks for the quick response and tips.

-- I thank God for everything, especially all of you!

View Kelly's profile


2428 posts in 3449 days

#7 posted 01-05-2014 07:30 PM

When you think about it, where is the wood going to go with even a 1/8” dado? Usually, we are talking about downward pressure, so even a 1/8” dado is going to hold up a lot of weight.

All that said, I, like others, generally, find 3/8” to be more than ample, but stay with it for much of what I’m doing in 3/4” stock. If I’m doing rabbits for, say, a drawer, I go for 50%.

View PPerry's profile


17 posts in 365 days

#8 posted 08-13-2019 01:33 AM

I realize this is an old post but upon reading it I wanted to share the YouTube link that goes with the post above. I found the video interesting as well.

View LeeRoyMan's profile


275 posts in 232 days

#9 posted 08-13-2019 01:47 AM

I’ve always been a 1/4” deep kinda guy (when using 3/4 material.)
Now a days, with plywood running undersized, I like to go by how much meat I leave. So using undersized 3/4 material, I leave 1/2” of material. This makes sizing your shelves easier.
Example- (30” cabinet.) 29” shelf + 1/2 material on each side = 30”

View BurlyBob's profile


6497 posts in 2770 days

#10 posted 08-13-2019 02:50 AM

I agree 1/4”. Anything more really doesn’t gain you anything.

View farmfromkansas's profile


125 posts in 119 days

#11 posted 08-13-2019 12:55 PM

I’m building a chest of draws for a great neice, and went with 3/8” deep, as I do not want the thing coming apart. The lumber is 13/16 thick and plan to use screws on the top and bottom frames to attach to the sides. When I build cabinets, use 1/4” grooves, as the plan is to keep the bottom from sagging. Seems to really increase the strength of boxes to use grooves and glue.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics