Dado Joints

This story shows you how to create a dado joint.


Dadoes are channels that run across the grain. They're often used in the sides of a bookcase to hold shelves.

Step 1

Use a carpenter's square and pencil to mark the dado locations and width on the wood. If the project uses plywood shelves, double-check their thickness. Don't assume 3/4-inch plywood will always be 3/4 inch thick. Dimensions vary with the manufacturer, and if the dadoes are not the exact width of the shelves' thickness, you'll have a bad fit.

Step 2

Cutting a dado with a portable circular saw requires setting the blade to the depth you want the dado, usually one-third the wood's thickness. (Be sure the blade is perpendicular to the saw's foot plate.) Next, with a straightedge as a guide, saw kerfs in the wood to shape the dado edges. Then saw narrowly spaced kerfs between the outside cuts.

Cutting Dado with Back Saw

Short dadoes can be cut with a back saw. Clamp a piece of wood with one true edge to the saw as a depth gauge. Then make several thinly spaced cuts to dado width.

Step 3

To clean waste out of the dado, move a chisel from side to side with the bevel pointing down. Then run the chisel (bevel side up) down the dado's length to flatten and smooth the bottom of the dado.

Comments (2)
trangphongsang wrote:

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8/6/2016 12:19:26 AM Report Abuse
golfbaker wrote:

Whebn using a Craftsman Table and a 6" Stacked Dado set my arbor for attaching all the baldes is too short to make a 3/4" Dado Cut. Any suggestions. Craftsman Table Saw # 137.218250. Craftsman is no help at all!

1/14/2014 04:13:46 PM Report Abuse
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