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Thread: Hand Cut Dados

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Hand Cut Dados

    I've been trying to expand my skill set to include hand cut dados. My recent addition of a paring chisel and a decent router plane inspired me. My current process:


    • Strike deep knife lines at desired dado borders. Knife bevel to inside of dado.
    • Peel back stock along knife line with paring chisel to create a guide wall for saw.
    • Using carcass saw, cut to desired depth along knife walls.
    • Remove bulk of waste with paring chisel.
    • Finish with router plane to assure flat bottom.
    • If required, clean the bottom corners to assure the inserted piece will sit flat.


    It's working pretty well, but I've had a tough time getting a crisp, snug fit. I'm either too tight or too loose. It's been OK for utilitarian service like shelves in the basement, but I'm not up to "furniture grade" yet. Any suggestions besides lots more practice? I'm wondering if purposely working a bit undersized and sneaking up on the fit with a side rabbet plane would yield the results I'm looking for.
    It's wood dust. Saw dust would suggest a problem.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Rob, keep an eye out for my next post on the Harlequin side table. It has a pictorial of this.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  3. #3
    Well, you said "dados" and twice I read it as "dovetails". Post deleted.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  4. #4
    I use three methods (maybe more), but none involve adjusting the dado.

    On method is to make the dado then adjust the thickness of the of the divider or shelf. Another method is to make the dado slightly smaller than the board, then planing cross grain, make a very shallow chamfer on the underside of the shelf to fit.

    The third method is to make the dado maybe 1/32 thinner than the shelf then use a moving fillister to make a small rabbet on the end of the shelf so it fits into the dado. I think these methods are all less clumsy than trying to alter the dado.

  5. #5
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    Rob, similar to Warren’s method, I tend to make the dado a wee bit small and rabbet the shelf to fit. I have in the past even approached it as a kind of mortise and tenon, making a shallow rabbet on both top and bottom of the shelf. I liked the fact that having the shoulder hid any issues with the dado.

  6. #6
    My approach is saw a bit off the scribe line and use a guide block with a chisel to create a crisp, 90 wall. This works very well especially critical with deeper dadoes.

    If the fit is still too snug, leave the dado alone and plane the shelf to fit.

    I have used a side rabbet plane to adjust dado walls, but you have to be extremely careful with those to maintain 90 and avoid tear out.

  7. #7
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    Thanks to all for the tips. I like Warren's third method as well as the similar one used by Phil. Too bad I just sold my Rabbet plane due to non use . As luck would have it, both Veritas and LN make a suitable replacements with cambered irons
    It's wood dust. Saw dust would suggest a problem.

  8. #8
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    Rob, I have just posted on the build thread. There may be some ideas for you.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Engel View Post
    My approach is saw a bit off the scribe line and use a guide block with a chisel to create a crisp, 90 wall. This works very well especially critical with deeper dadoes.

    If the fit is still too snug, leave the dado alone and plane the shelf to fit.

    I have used a side rabbet plane to adjust dado walls, but you have to be extremely careful with those to maintain 90 and avoid tear out.
    An issue I have with planing the panel to fit is when this is used for drawers and important squareness may be removed. I saw to a mark, but I use a straight edge to guide the saw.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  10. #10
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    All the above and side rabbet planes.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    Rob, I have just posted on the build thread. There may be some ideas for you.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Thanks Derek. Good ideas indeed. I like that saw.
    It's wood dust. Saw dust would suggest a problem.

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