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11 Tips for Dadoes & Rabbets Conway SC

Some people get pretty worked up about using the right word for the right joint. Perhaps they have a point since imprecise use of terms can lead to confusion. So, to be precise, here are the proper definitions. Read on to learn more.

The Home Depot
(843)916-2229
951 Oak Forest Lane
Myrtle Beach, SC
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Terry's Do it Best Hardware
(843) 365-9300
5275 Hwy 501 West
Conway, SC
 
LOWE'S OF CONWAY, SC
843 234-6033
2301 HIGHWAY 501 EAST CONWAY, SC, 29526
Conway, SC
 
Lowe's
(843) 650-1400
8672 Highway 17 Bypass
Myrtle Beach, SC
Hours
M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 8 am - 8 pm

Lowe's
(843) 626-1700
1160 Seaboard Street
Myrtle Beach, SC
Hours
M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 8 am - 8 pm

The Home Depot
(843)357-3777
12262 Hwy 17 Bypass
Murrells Inlet, SC
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Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Kmart 7555 / Cross Merch
(843) 248-2411
1610 Church St
Conway, SC
Store Hours
Miscellaneous
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Miscellaneous
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Monday To Friday Working Hours is :8-22 and for Sat:8-22
Sun:8-21
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Monday To Friday Working Hours is :8-22 and for Sat:8-22
Sun:8-21

Lowe's
(843) 234-6033
2301 Highway 501 East
Conway, SC
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M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 8 am - 8 pm

MID-ATLANTIC FASTENERS/Myrtle Beach
(843) 293-8795
3195B Highway 17 Bypass Myrtle Beach, SC, 29577
Myrtle Beach, SC
 
LOWE'S OF S MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.
843 650-1400
8672 HIGHWAY 17 BYPASS SURFSIDE, SC, 29575
Surfside, SC
 

11 Tips for Dadoes & Rabbets

11 Tips for Dadoes & Rabbets

Perfect Dadoes Without the Guesswork

By George Vondriska

Dadoes and rabbets are two of the most widely used joints in cabinetmaking. Cabinets, drawers and jewelry boxes all lend themselves to this simple but strong joinery.  I’ve been woodworking, demonstrating and teaching  woodworking  for a long time. Over the years, I have accumulated some great tips for making and using dadoes and rabbets. 

PROPER TERMS

Some people get pretty worked up about using the right word for the right joint. Perhaps they have a point since imprecise use of terms can lead to confusion. So, to be precise, here are the proper definitions:

A dado is a U-shaped, square-bottomed channel cut across the grain (see photo, top right).  

A groove looks just like a dado, but runs with the grain. A lot of people call a groove a dado I think that’s OK - but imprecise. 

A rabbet is an L-shaped channel cut across or with the grain. A rabbet is always cut on the stock’s edge. 

Make a Gauge Block

Setting up a stackable dado head to fit your plywood can be fussy and time consuming but, you’ll significantly reduce the guesswork by making a dado gauge block.  To make the block, cut a  23/32-in. wide dado in a board big enough to allow for six more dados with space between. Add a single .005-in. shim to the 23/32-in. set up and plow a second dado next to the 23/32-in. one. Continue adding shims and making dados in .005-in. increments until you get to a 3/4-in. dado. Mark the dadoes as you go. To use, slip your plywood into the test dadoes until you find the perfect fit. Then, read the number of shims needed. 

Best Dado Depth

For years, I made all my dadoes 3/8-in. deep in 3/4-in. plywood. If I made dadoes on opposite sides of a divider, however, I had to change their depth and recalculate shelf lengths just for that joint. 

I’ve since learned it’s a lot easier and just as strong to set the depth of cut for every dado to 1/4 in. This makes calculating shelf lengths a whole lot easier, and I never have to make special calculations for a double dado. 

Lock The Height

Always lock the blade-height handwheel before cutting. Vibration can make the handle turn, changing the depth of cut. This change is often hard to observe until assembly time. A big oops, if you just cut dadoes for a  kitchen full of cabinets.  

Cut Rabbets with a Sacrificial Fence

A sacrificial fence protects your stock fence from damage. I make my fence from melamine because its slippery. I cut a 3/8-in. x 3/4-in. groove to accept a commercial featherboard. A scallop cut in the face of the sacrificial fence allows me to bury part of the blade.  

A Featherboard Guarantees Accuracy

A featherboard provides consistent downward  pressure on the material right over the blade. This will compensate for a slight warp in pl...

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