Cutting Dados Like a Professional

In the world of carpentry, the importance of making dados is undeniable, that is why one of the most often-asked questions about dados is how to efficiently cut them. The two popular tools utilized for making them are a table saw and router. Although both are capable of getting the job done, these two still have their respective limitations. That is why when it comes to making one, what tool to use depends deeply on the situation at hand.

Choosing the Right Equipment and Safety Measures

If the space of your shop is limited, the best way to cut long dados is with the use of a router. The fact that you can clamp the pieces in place and simply move the router along the length proves to be a lot safer and much easier. If a high-quality guide system or clamp on fence is used, the results can be more accurate. Do not forget to use push sticks, push blocks or other safety tools necessary to keep a secure distance between the cutter and your hands. A lot of carpenters deem cutting dados as a low-risk job, but just because your cutter or bit is hidden under the stock, it does not mean that you should compromise your safety. Wood fracturing and kickbacks can and will happen while you are cutting dados. If proper techniques and procedures are not conducted when a fracture or kickback occurs, then there will be injuries endured.

Wood Issues

The most problematic aspect when it comes to modern carpentry is the odd material thickness that you have to do with. The goofy thickness aspect is usually associated with plywood, but must be taken into account when you are working with other hard woods as well.

Purchase a five-quarter stock now and it will eventually turn into four quarters or 1” thick. Since your five-quarter stock is now four quarters, the material known formerly as a four-quarter stock needs to be replaced too, and now becomes three quarters or simply put, ¾” thick.

If in case this philosophy of thickness is applied consistently with all wood sizes, purchasing a ¼” thick material will eventually mean that you have to give your lumberyard a 1/8 thick wood for you to break it even. To avoid such madness, wood sizes that are formerly ¾” and below are typically between 1/32” and 3/32” below their former size and to make the issue more confusing, some of these veneer plywood available is manufactured under the standard sizes of ¾, ¼ and ½” thick. That is why it is essential to measure the woods that you are going to use properly!

Making Test Cuts

Now that you know that the thickness of woods to be used does vary, it is ideal to create test cuts to come up with the right fit that you want. Doing this allows you to make certain corrections even before you get down to the more expensive wood of choice. This will definitely save you time and more importantly – money!

Remember that you can master the art of cutting perfect-fitting dados. All you need to do is to learn the basics and to practice.