Building a Book Case - Dado and Rabbet Cuts Building a Book Case - Dado and Rabbet Cuts

Making the Dado and Rabbet Cuts with a Router

To measure and cut the carcass/shell, mark and make the dado cuts in the side panels to support the top, bottom and fixed shelves. A router is the best tool to use on long pieces, as long pieces of plywood can be hard to handle on a table saw.

1. Mark the position of the dados on the two side panels of the carcass. Check the measurements twice. Use a straight edge and clamp the boards down to make an even, straight cut. Make the cuts on the inside leaving the best finish on the outside.

2. Clamp the straight edge to the sides in such a way that it is running exactly parallel to the sides. When the router bit cuts the wood, the cut will be exactly where you have laid out your dado cuts.

3. Insert a bit into the router that will make a 3/4" straight slot or a dado (use a different bit if you are not using 3/4" plywood as shelves). 4. Run the router along the straight edge and across both pieces of plywood. Be sure the router has reached full speed before entering the wood.


Making the Dado Cuts with a Table Saw and Dado Blades

1. Install the dado blades after unplugging the saw. Note: You may need to stack and shim your dado blades to get the specified thickness. Check the plans for the specified depth and thickness of all your dado and rabbet cuts. Make the cuts on the inside leaving the best finish on the outside.

2. Set the rip fence to the edge of the board so it will guide your board precisely.

3. Crosscut your dados with one edge flat against your Miter gauge, being careful not to split the veneer. You can use your rip fence with a stop block attached to it to give you multiple cuts made exactly at the same place on different boards. Always use this stop block and never use the miter gauge and rip fence at the same time, or the wood can bind creating a safety hazard.

Drilling Holes for Brackets and Dado Cuts

Adjustable shelves are easy to make and are a wonderful addition to your bookcase. Because the shelves may hold a large number of books, extra support is needed. There are many ways to support shelves; the plans for this project use plastic shelf brackets for added strength.

1. Drill holes in the right side of your bookcase and on the shelf dividers. The holes are two inches from the front and back edge and two inch intervals up and down. A doweling jig makes this process simple and can be made with two scrap pieces of wood. To make a doweling jig, drill six or seven holes using a ruler and pencil to make accurate marks. Drill the holes on the jig, and make your first hole on the right side of your bookcase, then insert a dowel to hold it in place and make the rest of the holes using the doweling jig as a mark. If the shelves will be supporting a heavy load you should add a third dowel in the center.

2. Repeat the same process on the left side of the bookcase. Be certain that the first guide hole is aligned exactly with the guide hole on the other side.


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