dado depth for shelving

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by drax0r posted 06-17-2010 08:23 AM 2458 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View drax0r's profile


18 posts in 2330 days

06-17-2010 08:23 AM

I’m in the process of laying out plans for a modular entertainment center, double bookshelf, and bridge shelving unit that will be made entirely out of 3/4” plywood except for face frames.

What is the rule of thumb for setting the dado depth for shelves? My inclination is to go half-way, but I have seen some much shallower dados in similar applications and wondered what design or engineering reasoning went in to determining these depths.

4 replies so far

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3193 days

#1 posted 06-17-2010 09:57 AM

The depth of a dado is half the thickness of the material it is going in.

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View drax0r's profile


18 posts in 2330 days

#2 posted 06-17-2010 05:53 PM

That was my assumption, but then I saw Norm build one that was like 1/3.

In retrospect, I’m wondering if it had something to do with the fact that he was using solid hardwood rather than pine plywood…

View Ger21's profile


1047 posts in 2550 days

#3 posted 06-18-2010 04:35 AM

If you’re only using glue, then go half way. If you can use screws to hold it together, it can be as shallow as 1/8” deep.

-- Gerry,

View drax0r's profile


18 posts in 2330 days

#4 posted 06-18-2010 05:03 AM

I was planning to use finishing nails and glue.

I’ll probably end up going half-way, but this thing is going to be pretty monstrous in size when its all put together, so at some point I have to think less about the capacity of the shelves and more about the structural integrity of the piece as a whole.

If I remove too much material for shelf dados I think it would be in danger of failure by racking in certain directions.

  • Face frames removed for clarity (but should add some structural strength when applied)

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics