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11 Tips for Dadoes & Rabbets Palmer AK

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
(907)357-8181
1255 Palmer Wasilla Hwy
Wasilla, AK
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 7:00am-8:00pm

Weld Air Alaska
(907) 373-2000
301 Centaur Wasilla, AK, 99654
Wasilla, AK
 
Wasilla - B
(907) 352-6800
1000 S Seward Meridian Rd
Wasilla, AK
Store Hours
Sears Stores
Store Type
Sears Stores
Hours
Mon:10-21
Tue:10-21
Wed:10-21
Thu:10-21
Fri:10-21
Sat:9-21
Sun:11-18
Store Features
Mon:10-21
Tue:10-21
Wed:10-21
Thu:10-21
Fri:10-21
Sat:9-21
Sun:11-18

Spenard Builders Supply- Big Lake
907-892-6001
10927 Big Lake Road Big Lake, AK, 99652
Big Lake, AK
 
Home Depot
(907) 644-9012
1715 Abbott RD
Anchorage, AK
 
Lowe's
(907) 352-3100
2561 East Sun Mountain Avenue
Wasilla, AK
Hours
M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 8 am - 8 pm

Alaska Industrial Hardware- Wasilla
907-376-5274
751 West Parks Hwy Wasilla, AK, 99654
Wasilla, AK
 
Spenard Builders Supply- Wasilla
907-373-2806
2501 E Bogard Road Wasilla, AK, 99654
Wasilla, AK
 
The Home Depot
(907)357-8181
1255 Palmer Wasilla Hwy
Wasilla, AK
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 7:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(907)276-2006
400 Rodeo Place
Anchorage, AK
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 7:00am-8:00pm

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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