Building a large cabinet, multiple dado's.

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Forum topic by lateralus819 posted 11-01-2015 05:26 PM 1129 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2241 posts in 1858 days

11-01-2015 05:26 PM

I’m working on a cabinet that will require a substantial amount of dados. I’m going to use the table saw with a dado stack. Is there any dos and don’ts I should know about prior to avoid a mishap?

Would 1/4” be sufficient for the rabbets to mate to their respective pieces?

Going to use a sled with a key to reference all the dados since they’re all the same.

12 replies so far

View Hammerthumb's profile


2836 posts in 1944 days

#1 posted 11-02-2015 11:01 PM

Lat – have you thought of doing this with a router and fence? Clamp the left and right sides of the cabinet together and do them at the same time. Perfect register. Layout all of the dados prior to starting. When adjusting the fence, bring the bit down to the layout line and check before running it.

All of these were done at the same time. Left, right, and back. I swapped the left and right sides due to the stopped dados, but ran all 3 pieces in one pass per dustframe dado.

Hope this helps.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View lateralus819's profile


2241 posts in 1858 days

#2 posted 11-03-2015 12:07 AM

Hammerthumb- Thanks for the suggestion. I did think about using a router but wasn’t confident I could get all the openings the same size. There will be 30 openings in the cabinet.

The router was my first thought but then I saw Dado sleds where you can add a key to reference all the succeding cuts from. I just bought the Dewalt dado stack and just finished my sled.

Hopefully no mishaps. It’s not “fine” furniture, but it is a commission so I have to do my best.

Normally I might not do a piece like this, just not into cabinetry much, even though it isn’t as finicky as furniture.

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2241 posts in 1858 days

#3 posted 11-03-2015 12:10 AM

41” wide 34” tall. 11 1/4” deep. Pretty big unit. CD storage.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5624 posts in 2782 days

#4 posted 11-03-2015 12:18 AM

With smaller cabinets running dados on the tablesaw works great. For taller cases and bookshelves that gets a bit sketchy. A router and edge guide, or radial arm saw with dado set would be better in that instance.

A 1/4” to 3/8” deep dado is perfect for 3/4” stock.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View waho6o9's profile


8168 posts in 2546 days

#5 posted 11-03-2015 01:49 AM

Run the dados on the 4×8 sheet first and then rip to size.

If the grain direction doesn’t matter run the dados length wise and your done.

I like 3/8” inch dado in 3/4” stock as well.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3160 posts in 3200 days

#6 posted 11-03-2015 02:25 AM

I use an exact width dado sled. Works great if you are going to use plywood, which is not 3/4 inch. I use a 1/2 inch pattern bit. The bearing follows the inside of ther jig creating a perfect dado. Use you workpiece to set the dado width. There are several videos on Yo9u Tube.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View kdc68's profile


2649 posts in 2246 days

#7 posted 11-03-2015 02:26 AM

+1 for waho6o9’s technique….photo below is of 4 storage bin cabinets I made using this technique….

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View bondogaposis's profile


4688 posts in 2320 days

#8 posted 11-03-2015 03:13 AM

I also find it easier to route dados on large cabinets over using the table saw. Put opposing sides back to back for perfect alignment.

Would 1/4” be sufficient for the rabbets to mate to their respective pieces?

Yes, absolutely 1/4” dado depth is what I use almost always on 3/4” plywood cabinets.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Daruc's profile


460 posts in 1102 days

#9 posted 11-03-2015 04:09 AM

I use my Her-Saf panel router :)
Your more than welcome to use it.
I’m on the west coast though!

1/4” is plenty of depth.
I would use the dado blade in the table saw if I didn’t have the panel router. Those sizes aren’t to big, should be easy enough to handle.

-- -

View jobewan's profile


33 posts in 946 days

#10 posted 11-14-2015 08:28 PM

You likely know this, but…

Just remember that plywood isn’t the width it is advertised to be. Its slightly smaller. Don’t make your dadoes 3/4” wide or the shelves will be swimming in the slots. Iirc, a 3/4” piece of ply is actually 23/32” Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it absolutely is.

As I said, you likely already know this, but it never hurts to hear. Have fun with that cab – looks fantastic!


-- Measure Twice, Cut Once - throw it in the woodpile, start over...

View lateralus819's profile


2241 posts in 1858 days

#11 posted 11-14-2015 09:18 PM

Thanks. I bought a Dewalt dado set and it was bang on 23/32.

I did find the ply had some variations within and some dividers were “swimming” Leading to some issues.

I talked to my client and there will be a rebuild with better ply.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4051 posts in 2278 days

#12 posted 11-14-2015 11:59 PM

Without knowing more about you specific cabinet it hard to give advice. You cabinets many not need any dadoes at all.

95% of the cabinets I build have no dadoes. When I do use dadoes I much prefer the table saw and dado blade as opposed to a the router way. The only tip I’d have is sure the plywood is flat against the table so your dadoes are of consistence depth.

These large cabinets I just recently finished have no dadoes at all.

How about that, all my photos are in the right orientation!!!!

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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