How To Make a Dado Joint

common style of dado joint

One of one of the most extensively used woodworking joints is the dado joint It is typically located in the construction of cabinets, kitchen cabinetry and also several other types of furniture where large panels are utilized.
One way or another most woodworkers will certainly encounter a circumstance where they’ll need to utilize this joint, so getting the mastery over it beforehand is a great idea. It’s not tough to make, but like any type of various other woodworking joint, it requires to be reduced accurately for an excellent fit.

Through dado joint

common style of dado joint
This common style of dado joint is called a through dado.
The groove prolongs across the entire width of the board.


One of the most frequently made use of sort of dado joint is the via dado. It’s made by cutting a groove with a dado blade or router little bit throughout the width of a board the same dimension as completion of the board that will certainly fit in it. The fit should be snug, without any voids.
The deepness of the dado groove should be no more than half the thickness of the supply, with regarding one third being the standard. Too deep and you might significantly weaken the material.
The via dado can be reduced with the table saw, on a router table, or with a hand held router and also a shop made jig. The finished appearance of this joint will certainly depend significantly on the fit and surface of the dado and also the squareness on the end of the board it will certainly obtain.
The dado groove should have tidy cut square shoulders and the bottom need to be flat. Any tearout and splintering of the material around the groove will certainly not be concealed when the joint is constructed.

Stopped dado joint.

stopped dado

The stopped dado is used for those times when you don’t wish to see the joint connection at the front of the finished project.

The stopped dado is used when a cleaner appearance is wanted on the front of a closet or shelf.
Instead of cutting the dado groove throughout to the end of the material, it is stopped short, typically by concerning the very same range as the thickness of the material.
A notch is after that cut off the end of the board that fits in the dado. This notch matches the length of the material left in front of the dado.

How To Establish Your Stacked Dado Blade Set

A stacked dado blade set is among those devices that every table saw owner should have in their device inventory. For me, there’s hardly a better method to reduce accuracy dados, grooves and also rabbets.
Unfortunately, stacked dado sets don’t constantly included clear directions on just how to set them up correctly. This can cause a great deal of confusion for a person that has actually never utilized one. And, if it’s set up inaccurately, might cause damages to the dado cutter– or worse, a mishap.

Freud SD208 8″ stacked dado set.

Freud SD208 8" stacked dado set.

In this short article, I’ll demonstrate how I established my dado blades to develop a perfect match of the dado groove and also the board that will certainly suit it. The steps will consist of setting up the pile, gauging and shimming, as well as making test cuts to verify the width and also depth.
Many dado saw blades include two outside blades, a set of chippers as well as an array of shims. The outdoors blades will form the shoulders of the dado cut, while the chippers task is to sculpt out the facility and produce a level bottom in the groove. The shims allow you to tweak the width of your dado set-up.
I’ll be utilizing the Freud 8″ SD208 pro dado set for this write-up, to show how I make my sets up. This is an outstanding stacked dado blade set for the cost as well as is available from and also other high quality sellers.
As opposed to the typical five chippers, this dado blade set utilizes 3 chippers as well as 3 1/16″ spacers, yet the set-up adheres to the very same procedures as other stacked dado sets.

Maintain whatever clean

It only takes a smidgen of wood dust or various other debris to toss your set-up out of kilter. It’s likewise one of the main factors for vibration which usually generates harsh cuts.
To ensure that the blades and chippers run true, the table saw’s arbor should be tidy and also devoid of any type of material that could get caught between the arbor washing machine and also blade face.
After cleaning with a rag, I such as to run my thumb around the washing machine to get a feel for how tidy it is. This is likewise an exceptional way to check for any kind of nicks on the washer too, just take care of any type of sharp sides.

Both sides of every blade, chipper, spacer as well as shim have to additionally be cleaned up before they can be mounted.
Cleaning with a tidy, lint free dustcloth as well as utilizing a little wd40 usually does the trick. The wd40 will certainly also aid keep unplated blades and chippers from rusting while stored, an added incentive.

Procedure your product

For the purpose of this short article, I’ll establish the dado blade stack size to fit a piece of 3/4″ mdf right into a groove cut in an additional piece of the same material. The first point we need to do is determine the exact thickness of the piece that will certainly suit the groove.
As you can see from this image, 3/4″ mdf is not always 3/4″.
To get a precise analysis of the product size, I recommend utilizing a collection of calipers– either dial or digital calipers will certainly work fine. The calipers will likewise be made use of in the future to determine the width of the dado blade stack.
The photo on the left reveals the actual thickness of this mdf product which is marketed as 3/4″. As you can see, it’s exactly 25 thousandths over the nominal density.
This is pretty common nowadays with all the imported sheet products available at local structure supply shops, so make sure you determine to get a specific reading.
With this measurement in hand, we’ll set up the dado stack as close as we can to this number.

Stacking the blades

Stacking the blades

Always follow great safety and security procedure when changing blades on the table saw, or for that issue, any sort of equipment that has the capacity of removing body components we ‘d all like to keep. Ensure you pull the plug from the wall surface.
The two outside blades that include the majority of stacked dado sets have beveled teeth rotating with flat topped teeth. The diagonal teeth will certainly develop the shoulder of the dado, cutting cleanly throughout the grain of the timber, or in this situation, the mdf. The level covered teeth will certainly square out the lower corners of the dado.

This close-up shows the correct positioning of the beveled teeth on both outside blades.
It’s important that the bevels are diminishing towards the within the pile like in the image on the right. If they’re placed on backwards, the corners of the dado will not be reduced.
To get near a 3/4″ pile size, I’ll require both 1/8″ external blades, three 1/8″ chippers as well as two 1/16″ spacers. I’ll additionally include a. 020″ shim since the mdf is.025″ larger than 3/4″. This should obtain us relatively close to the target.
We’ll start by setting up the left external blade against the arbor washer. The.020″ shim will certainly take place next, complied with by one of the chippers. The chipper’s teeth ought to rest between 2 teeth of the outside blade as well as not be touching them. The teeth are broad sufficient that they overlap one another, so be sure there’s no call in between any of the blades.
The chippers need to be startled to avoid teeth calling one another.Stacking the blades

Include a 1/16″ spacer and then an additional chipper, followed by one more spacer and also chipper. Surprise the chippers to ensure that they are an equal range apart. This will aid balance the pile and also protect against any type of vibration from too much weight on one side.

Now the right external blade can go on. I attempt to line up the diagonal teeth side by side so that it’s simpler to obtain a precise measurement with the calipers after it’s entirely.
Tighten up the nut finger tight now as well as turn the blade by hand to validate that there’s no contact between the teeth. When everything looks great, tighten the dado stack securely with your arbor wrenches.
It’s not constantly feasible to make use of the outside blade washer with the nut when stacking dado blades this vast. If there’s not enough space to transform the nut on completion of it’s threads, leave the washer off. It is not neccessary to have an outdoors washing machine on a dado blade set-up, yet you should make certain the nut gets on totally.
Procedure across the pointers of the outdoors blades to get the width of the stack.
Currently take the calipers and gauge throughout the dado head at 2 of the diagonal teeth that you aligned earlier. I like to gauge on top factors of the teeth to get one of the most accurate measurement.
This dimension will show how much the dado blades need to be shimmed to equate to the size of the work surface we measured previously. According to this dimension, I still require to include.017″ to the pile.
The shims that included the dado set consist of.004″,.008″,.012″ as well as.020″ densities. I’ll utilize a. 012″ and a. 004″, which should be close enough for a tight fit.
I have located that if I set my dado stack a couple of thousandths listed below what I require, I get a best fit. This is no doubt because of the fact that my fencing is established somewhat larger from the blade at the back than the front. The effect is to reduce a somewhat larger dado than what is determined at the blade. When you recognize this amount, it’s very easy sufficient to consider when making your set-ups.
The fencing is established this way to avoid squeezing the timber between the rear of the blade and also the fencing when ripping smaller sized supply. The back of the blade can lift the stock as well as throw it back at you. This is what is called kickback.
I removed the outside dado blade and also a chipper and also set up one shim on each side of the chipper, then retightened the stack. A quick measurement revealed I was at.773″, close enough for an examination cut.


Tips for utilizing shims

Shims allow you to tweak the width of the dado cutter so you can get as close as feasible to the dimension you require, generally within a few thousandths. They can also present a couple of issues.
A couple of drops of light oil will assist the shim stay with the side of the blade.
Since they are so slim, they often tend to fall under the threads of the saw’s arbor and also stop the stack from shutting effectively when tightened.
To prevent this, I add a couple of drops of light device oil or wd40 to one side of the shim and afterwards center it on the blade. The surface area tension keeps the shim from falling into the threads of the arbor.
Although there is a fair bit of overlap between the teeth of the chippers and also blades, stacking a lot of shims in one area can push the teeth far sufficient apart to leave a location of your workpiece uncut. When making use of a lot of shims, it’s best to distribute them equally in between the dado blades.
Establish the elevation and also make an examination cut
Like the majority of various other sets up in woodworking, it is essential to make an examination cut in a scrap piece of the same material prior to you start carving up your good work surfaces.
Using the calipers to establish the preliminary height of the dado stack.
After I mounted my zero clearance table saw insert that I utilize for 3/4″ dados, I set the height of the dado cutter simply somewhat under 1/4″. I simply determined with my calipers from the dado insert to the top of a tooth at leading dead center making use of the step dimension on the caliper.
I simply want to get in the ball park, I’ll sneak up closer to the precise height after my initial examination cut. In some cases it takes two or three adjustments, relying on how exact you intend to be.
Once the dado blade is secured down, it’s time to take a test cut in a scrap piece of mdf to see where we go to. See to it you make use of push pads or a featherboard and also press stay with run the supply with the blade.
Running an item of scrap mdf through the dado blade to check for fit.
Utilizing simply your hands is foolish and also totally unsafe with that many razor sharp teeth spinning at 5000 rpm half an inch beneath. The further your hands are far from the blade, the much better.
To check the width of the dado, test the fit on your workpiece. You ought to be able to press it on with a bit of resistance. Having to pound it on is as well limited and also will certainly leave no space for glue.
Also loose is no excellent either, you shed a lot of the stamina of the dado joint when there’s no strong get in touch with in between the shoulders of the dado and also the part that suits it. If the fit isn’t excellent, include or remove shims to change the width as well as make an additional test cut. The deepness can be gauged with the calipers and also adjusted accordingly.
Check the fit by evaluating it on your workpiece. It should be a tight fit.
The size on the cut I made above ended up perfect and also I just had to change the height of the dado blade up a small amount to get my 1/4″ depth on the dado.

The more you deal with your dado blade set as well as obtain utilized to it, the less complicated these set-ups become. Like I stated earlier, if I establish my stack width a couple of thousandths except my mark it will certainly generally give me an ideal fit.
You just are familiar with these things by experience. The even more you utilize your dado cutter, as well as the even more familiar you get with your table saw, the faster as well as more specific your job comes to be.

Again, the dado groove can be reduced with the table saw or router. If making use of a table saw though, the blade radius will certainly leave a fair amount of product that need to be cleaned out with a chisel.
With the router, only the edges of the dado will certainly require to be cleaned up with the chisel.

Rabbet as well as dado joint

With the rabbet as well as dado, a dado is cut in one board narrower than the board it will certainly obtain. A rabbet is then reduced in the 2nd board leaving a tenon the very same dimension as the dado in the first board.
More powerful and a lot more inflexible than the basic dado, the rabbet and also dado is usually made use of in cabinets and also cabinet building.
The dado width can be one fifty percent to 3 quarters the thickness of the board that will fit in it, depending rather on the lots (when it comes to a shelf) that it will certainly undergo.
This joint is more stiff than a basic dado as a result of the added shoulder and also gluing area that the rabbet offers. Tall bookcases and closets will gain from making use of the rabbet and also dado for shelves.
As with the stopped dado, the rabbet and dado can be cut short of the end if a cleaner look is desired.

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