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Question: How do you properly measure for dado's on a router table?

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Forum topic by Milo posted 07-03-2012 01:44 AM 2678 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Milo

862 posts in 2073 days


07-03-2012 01:44 AM

OK, another question this evening. How do you guys measure the distance from the router bit to the fence to properly cut your dados in the right distance from the edge of your boards?

Now, I’m sure the guys with the fancy router tables with the snazzy Jessem router table fence just say something like “dial it in”. Well, you guys stink. ;) And yeah, I’m hideously jealous.

BUT for those of us with the shop made fence that we have to place by hand and clamp in place, how do you guys do it and get reliable cuts?

Thank you for your answers,

Milo

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...


20 replies so far

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1765 posts in 2844 days


#1 posted 07-03-2012 01:51 AM

If you want the dado an inch from the edge, Stick a piece of one inch material in between the fence and bit.

Or you can mark the dado on the edge of your board. Line it up with the bit on the right side of the fence. Set that side of the fence with a clamp.Take the set up board to the left side of the bit. And swivel the fence to meet your mark.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View bruc101's profile

bruc101

589 posts in 2296 days


#2 posted 07-03-2012 02:14 AM

I agree with John and or you can make yourself a “story stick”.

-- Bruce http://plans.sawmillvalley.org http://www.sawmillgirls.com

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Grandpa

3212 posts in 1430 days


#3 posted 07-03-2012 02:31 AM

Then always run a test on a scrap befor putting the good stuff to the bit.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7951 posts in 2806 days


#4 posted 07-03-2012 03:32 AM

Here is a COOL router dado jig.
This little jig will do a great job of cutting dados in sides for shelves… etc.

Most dados are not easily cut using a router table fence… rabbets are another story, going the Long direction… where you line it up as if you were using a table saw… you have a fence… you have a bit…

Are these for your shelves? Dadoing sides for the shelves?

Sounds like you need a story stick which was made from the Plans…

To be sure each side lines up with the other, it may work out to put the sides together, side by side, and cut the dados for both sides at the same time (setup).

Are you talking about a possible Stopped dado so the groove is not shown from the front?

I’m shooting in the dark… I’m not sure what you want to do…

Hope this helps…

What are you really talking about?

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Milo's profile

Milo

862 posts in 2073 days


#5 posted 07-03-2012 11:26 AM

I was just thinking about stopped dados for mortises. I’m playing with several different ideas right now and was watching am old (1989!) New Yankee Workshop where he was using a simple router table.

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2847 posts in 1003 days


#6 posted 07-03-2012 11:52 AM

Some people may cringe at my method but I have really good luck with it and it serves three purposes – especially for stopped dados.
1. First I draw where I want the dado on the piece.
2. I then grab a forstner bit that is however large I want the dado to be.
3.I chuck it up and drill a hole at the start and end of the dado.
4.I then place the piece on the router table with the hole over the bit.
5.Square the work piece to the table using combo square or your favorite method.
6. Set your fence. Pull your piece off and make sure the fence is square.

The added bonuses:
1. You can get your bit depth really close if you were careful drilling. Only very minor adjustments will be needed
2. You will know EXACTLY when to stop the cut because you already have a hole drilled. I still make pencil lines and match them up, but I can tell by the sound of the bit when I am done.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

11488 posts in 1761 days


#7 posted 07-03-2012 12:38 PM

I like to use drill bits to measure the distance from the fence to the bit, just lay the shank end of it against the fence and slide it over til it just hits the router bit.

-- "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 Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

6058 posts in 2183 days


#8 posted 07-03-2012 12:52 PM

I like Joe’s and Chris’ methods. I use set up bars or the drill bit method, also.
I’ll try Joe’s next time.
I’m all for direct measurement, ala set up bars, drill bits, story sticks, etc. The less often I can get by with using a ruler or tape, the happier I am.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2847 posts in 1003 days


#9 posted 07-03-2012 01:15 PM

I have a hard time measuring to the exact edge of a round fluted bit. That is why I do the hole drilling method. It has worked out great for me so far. Also starting and stopping the cut in pre-drilled holes eliminated any tear out and burning I was getting.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1723 days


#10 posted 07-03-2012 01:29 PM

I use one of these handy little devices.

Also perfect for checking bit height

View Milo's profile

Milo

862 posts in 2073 days


#11 posted 07-04-2012 02:52 AM

Renners, that just suck. How dare you throw something so practical into the mix…

btw, where’dya get it? ;)

Seriously, that is cool. “Trend” measuring tool? Off to google… Ah, Rockler has it. Christmas list!

Joe, I like what you suggested. But here’s another stupid question. Since the router bit is a single point in the center of the table, does the fence really need to be “Square”? As long as it’s straight, shouldn’t your wood pass in a straight line past the center router bit? Right?

More mud for the looking glass…

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7951 posts in 2806 days


#12 posted 07-04-2012 03:20 AM

Milo,

I didn’t want to butt in and start something… LOL

You are 100% correct!

The main thing about a Router Table Fence is that it must be Straight!
... if it’s straight (180) ... you do NOT have to worry about your Fence being square…
I’ll ask you… How would you measure to find out if it WAS square?
You can’t… unless you do it with a Straight Edge to be sure the fence is a pure 180
! LOL

If you have a straight edge on a Workpiece and you adjust the fence to straight-bit distance to 1/2”, you will get a groove 1/2” from the edge of the workpiece all along the board. It makes NO DIFFERENCE where the fence is on the table… it can be anywhere… You’re merely adjusting the distance from the fence to the bit… That’s it.

I hope that answers your question… so you understand it… LOL

Thank you.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Milo's profile

Milo

862 posts in 2073 days


#13 posted 07-04-2012 03:42 PM

Joe, you NEVER butt in! ;)

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2847 posts in 1003 days


#14 posted 07-04-2012 04:23 PM

Joe is right. I just never have enough confidence that my work piece is straight, so I never set my fence based on that. I use it for spacing only

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11688 posts in 2442 days


#15 posted 07-04-2012 04:40 PM

lumberjoe , that is a unique method that you use , but I ‘m going to give it a shot next time I’m in need.
Thank you : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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