Cutting Dado Joints


A dado is a square groove that is cut across the grain of a work-piece. Dado joints are used mainly to joint horizontal panels or boards (usually shelves) to vertical panels or boards (usually cabinet sides). The interlocking fit, coupled with the enhanced gluing surface makes the dado joint exceptionally strong. You can make a dado joint using two different methods: router, straight bit & cutting guide or on a table saw using a dado set.

Options for Cutting Dadoes with a Router

dado made with a router


The Triton router, M. Power Edge Guide Kit and a Whiteside straight bit are all you need for a straight, smooth dado cuts.

-The award-winning Triton dual mode precision router is avaible in two sizes, MOF001 and TRA001. Easy to handle, runs quietly and is simple to adjust.

-Using the M. Power Edge Guide Kit you can make parallel Dadoes up to 7-1/2 from the board edge. Receive better depth range and control when making your dado cuts.

Whiteside ranks #1 year after year by Fine Woodworking Magazine for their American made precision router bits. Whiteside is a name trusted by hobbyist and professional woodworker around the world.

Straight Bit & Cutting Guide

A router guide like is needed to make a dado or plow with a straight router bit.

Router Edge Guide

For rough work, sliding attachments that fit onto the router base my be used as a guide. Select a bit with a diameter equal to the desired width of the dado. Make the cut in multiple passes of increasing depth, moving the router left to right.

Cutting Dadoes with a Dado Set

setting dado set up

Using a quality dado set made by Popular Tools or Oshlun will provide consistent quality cuts all the time.

-Popular Tools uses the best quality materials and precise manufacturing to produce high-quality saw blades. Their advanced carbide teeth last longer, stay sharper allowing for the longest life possible for their blades.

-Oshlun offers the best quality for the price in the industry. Fully hardened and surface ground, Oshlun provides quality blades without leaving you wallet empty.

Set the cutting width of your dado blade by adding chippers & spacers between two blades. Mount the set on your table saw arbor. When mounted in a table saw, dado-blade sets require a saw throat plate with and extra-wide opening.

Set the cutting height to the desired depth, then adjust the fence so the blade set will start cutting at the shoulder of the planned dado. Make a test cut first, feeding the stock through the blade slowly, with plenty of downward pressure. For your safety, use a push-block when you near the blade. Measure the dado on the scrap & adjust your set-up as needed.

Use Quality Tools

For the best cuts, longest life and consistency, always use quality tools. Even if your first instinct is to buy what-ever is the cheapest, you will save yourself a lot of time and money buying the best, first.



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