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Use router or TS for dadoes on long boards?

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Forum topic by Richard posted 1383 days ago 2889 views 0 times favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Richard

8 posts in 1385 days


1383 days ago

Rookie here at age 59, just seriously starting my hobby.

My first project is building a built-in bookshelf around a door from bedroom to finished bonus room over garage. Top and bottom shelf supports are to be routed with shelves glued/nailed to create the box on each side of door.

I’m having trouble controlling the 12” x 96” boards across my TS (using dado blades). The router is taking more skill than I thought to make the dados straight. I built a T-square for the router. Should I go the extra mile and build a more complex jig?

I’m also planning on routing 2 shallow dadoes down the length of each side for the adjustable shelf support standards.

Any suggestions would be welcome!

-- Richard, Georgia


38 replies so far

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1698 days


#1 posted 1383 days ago

For dado cuts I always prefer a TS. Are you using finger boards to help control the wood? You might want one on the side and one on top.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

10613 posts in 1630 days


#2 posted 1383 days ago

I think that for a board that long the router will be the best option … shallow passes with a jig setup is going to be the ticket in my opinion. Ill see if i can find a link to a jig for you.

Ohh and welcome to LJ’s NukeSubs, clear your calender for the day you will be soaking in a ton of info browsing this site.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View ajosephg's profile

ajosephg

1850 posts in 2185 days


#3 posted 1383 days ago

Years ago I stopped using a TS and started using a router with a jig to cut nearly all dadoes. I had the same problem as you mentioned in trying to move a long board across a TS.

BTW – I believe a groove down the side of a board is called a rabbet. For these I use a router table, although a TS works just as well.

-- Joe

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jusfine

2280 posts in 1550 days


#4 posted 1383 days ago

Unless I am making a blind dado or stopped rabbet, I use the tablesaw as well.

With a level outfeed table and featherboards and hold downs, you should have no problem.

They will be useful later if you have to buy holddowns or featherboards, in my opinion much more than a complex setup for the router.

I use the magnetic switch kind, or you can make your own…

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Richard's profile

Richard

8 posts in 1385 days


#5 posted 1383 days ago

First, thanks for the quick replies!

Rich/Randy-I’m not sure how I could use a fingerboard on my TS with a 12”x 96” long board cutting the dado along the 12” width (perpendicular to the 96” length”). It’s keeping the 12” snug and square against the fence that’s my problem. I can see the real value of the finger board in doing the shallow dadoes for the adjustable shelf supports that will run between the top and bottom shelf as I would be feeding the board lengthwise into the TS.

Chris- I’ll look forward to seeing the jig.

One other question…I guess I need to find a 23/32” straight bit for the router. My 3/4” bit seems to make a wider dado than the “3/4inch” plywood shelf seems to need…but of course it could be technique…

-- Richard, Georgia

View juniorjock's profile

juniorjock

1930 posts in 2389 days


#6 posted 1383 days ago

Welcome Nuke…. Here’s one of darkremer’s posts about the exact jig you need. I’m sure the plans are available if you look for them. The jig is adjustable so you can make different size rabbets, but you have to keep in mind that you set the jig up for one particular router bit. Good luck.
- JJ

View jusfine's profile

jusfine

2280 posts in 1550 days


#7 posted 1383 days ago

Nuke, I mis-read your request for info, my mistake.

When I quickly read your post, I saw it in my mind that you were making a dado or rabbit along the length of the board.

Not nearly as safe across the short distance, unless you have a sliding table…

Maybe the router is the best way to go for those.

Welcome to Lumberjocks! Hopefully you get more useful answers than I originally provided… off to work. :)

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View ajosephg's profile

ajosephg

1850 posts in 2185 days


#8 posted 1383 days ago

Regarding the router bit: I use a half inch bit and make two passes. When you review the jigs you’ll see that most are designed for two passes. The width of the “track” that the router base travels in is adjustable so that any width dadoe can be made with a single bit.

-- Joe

View DaddyZ's profile

DaddyZ

2380 posts in 1664 days


#9 posted 1383 days ago

Long Boards – Use the router, I Agree the longer boards will be to hard to handle on the tablesaw.

Welcome !!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View 747DRVR's profile

747DRVR

199 posts in 1981 days


#10 posted 1383 days ago

For pieces that long I would use a router.Also make the dados on a 24×96 piece and then rip it in half to get 12×96(minus the kerf).That way the dados will match up perfectly.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112008 posts in 2201 days


#11 posted 1383 days ago

If your making a dado I would use a router with a fence if your making a groove or rabbit I would use a table saw unless you have a good side router table. Another problem new wood workers have is not going in the correct direction with their router. With a hand held router you route from left to right, if you move right to left the router bit will want to push away from your fence and you will not be able to cut a straight cut.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View 747DRVR's profile

747DRVR

199 posts in 1981 days


#12 posted 1383 days ago

When I wrote the previous post I was assuming you are using plywood.If you are using solid wood 24” wide is probably out of the question

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1798 days


#13 posted 1383 days ago

They do make plywood-specific bits, to accommodate the slightly odd size, if you want to go that way.

If you want to flip through this thread, ... lots of people gave ME great advice about how to structure a decent dado jig, for router use.

I’m still not comfortable with the idea of slinging a BIG board over my table saw, but learned—the hard way—about the pitfalls of doing it with a hand-held router.

A good jig, and GOOD clamps FOR that jig … are everything.

Welcome, and GOOD LUCK !

-- -- Neil

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Dchip

267 posts in 1876 days


#14 posted 1383 days ago

View Richard's profile

Richard

8 posts in 1385 days


#15 posted 1383 days ago

Good replies all! I think I may have found not only a school, but a home here!

747DVR, I’ll do that next time! I had Home Depot rip the plywood 4’x8’s into 11 7/8” x 96” so I could get them into my Explorer…maybe a rookie mistake, but at $45 per sheet, I’m going to try to push ahead with these already cut.

-- Richard, Georgia

showing 1 through 15 of 38 replies

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