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Cutting Notches without Dado Blades?

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Forum topic by HandyFrank posted 07-05-2013 04:43 AM 2924 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HandyFrank

13 posts in 1453 days


07-05-2013 04:43 AM

Topic tags/keywords: dado circular saw notches pergola

I’m building a pergola and have to cut a bunch of notches into lumber. I don’t have a dado blade. Think I could do these with a circular saw by setting the depth and then making a bunch of slices, and then clean up with a chisel?

I’m either using 2X6 lumber, or 2X8 lumber and will be cutting about a 1/3 of the way through or so as pictured in my image.

Any other way? I don’t do enough work to invest in a dado set, and I’ve done it with a circular saw in the past. I just have to do a bunch this time so I wanted to see if anyone had any other ways to do it.


19 replies so far

View tomd's profile

tomd

1771 posts in 2460 days


#1 posted 07-05-2013 05:06 AM

I would clamp them all together use a straight edge and cut them all at once. I have done it when building decks.

-- Tom D

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HandyFrank

13 posts in 1453 days


#2 posted 07-05-2013 05:13 AM

Thanks Tom,
Good tip of clamping them together and do multiple at once. So how do you then knock the piece of wood out after you rip them with the straight edge? Are you saying to keep shifting the straight edge till all the wood is nearly gone and then clean up with a chisel?

I’m a newbie with nicer woodwork, I appreciate the tips and knowledge.

View ScrubPlane's profile

ScrubPlane

187 posts in 885 days


#3 posted 07-05-2013 05:16 AM

Yes, a sharp chisel could be used to clean-up the waste. Depending on what you have and how the end result is supposed to look, you can use a router and straight-edge to get the same effect.

View tomd's profile

tomd

1771 posts in 2460 days


#4 posted 07-05-2013 05:20 AM

Yes, multiple cuts, deck builders call it nibbling a cut.

-- Tom D

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

516 posts in 1221 days


#5 posted 07-05-2013 05:25 AM

If those notches are over 1/4” or so, a router with an edge guide would work

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View HandyFrank's profile

HandyFrank

13 posts in 1453 days


#6 posted 07-05-2013 05:26 AM

Thanks Guys. Clamping together and ripping down the straight edge sounds like a good idea.

Sounds like my options are clamp, rip, and clean up with chisel, or, rip with a router and a guide.

If I wanted to use a router instead would I need to clamp a guide down so the router can run along that, or would a router with a bearing at the end do the job? I’m a newbie when it comes to routers. Would I make a guide out of plywood for the router to follow?

Would it make sense to rip them clamped together with a circular saw and then use the router to clean them up instead of a chisel?

View RonInOhio's profile

RonInOhio

720 posts in 1554 days


#7 posted 07-05-2013 05:37 AM

A good sharp chisel should clean those notches out like butter. As long as you make enough nibble cuts.

I would just go with a circular saw and chisel. If you only do a few nibble cuts then you may as well just cut the
dados completely with a router and jig and forget using the circular saw.

View HandyFrank's profile

HandyFrank

13 posts in 1453 days


#8 posted 07-05-2013 05:44 AM

Good tips everyone, thank you!
You’ve all set me up with a few different options. I’m going to try the clamped straight edge circular saw with chisel first. If that doesn’t go as good as I hope i’ll try the router.

I am planning on making a nice decorative edge in each board that will overhang the pergola end. Would it make sense for me to cut one with a jig saw and sand to make exactly how I like. Then use a router bit with a bearing on the end and use that as a guide for the rest? I figure I would use a saw and cut off most of the wood that will come off and only leave the edge where the router would clean it up to match perfectly. Is that the right idea and best strategy for the ends?

View Charlie's profile

Charlie

1051 posts in 976 days


#9 posted 07-05-2013 12:24 PM

For the radius in that decorative end, depending on what size lumber you’re using, you can use a hole saw. Drill first through a piece of 3/4 inch plywood or something similar. Use that as a template. Clamp it to the end of your boards and it won’t matter if the hole is half off the board because the template will guide the hole saw. You can screw a couple stop blocks to the underside of the template so it positions the same on each board.

Be sure to make the template long enough so it’s out of the way of the drill and whatever clamp(s) you’ll use. Once you have the template made, you don’t need the drill bit in the center of the hole saw, so if it causes issues, just take it out. OK to leave it in if it’s not affecting anything.

This is a MUCH faster and cleaner way to get all those radius cuts. Then you can cut that notch below the radius with a hand saw in about 2 seconds.

Tip from someone who’s been there….. the part at the top of the radius that you leave sticking out…. looking at it from the side as you have pictured…. the tip of it… from top to bottom that dimension should not be LESS than the thickness of the board you’re cutting. If you make it too thin and delicate, you will have problems down the road with them “weathering” funny.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2867 posts in 1933 days


#10 posted 07-05-2013 09:06 PM

You can get an 8” dado blade set from Harbor Freight for $35. I have one and it is ok. There are also 20% and 25% off coupons floating around.

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

4896 posts in 546 days


#11 posted 07-05-2013 09:42 PM

Ive always done it with the circular saw. Make bunch of cuts about 1/8 apart and then knock out the pieces with a hammer. Clean up with a chisel. One of those things I learned from my dad, an old carpenter.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View Knothead62's profile

Knothead62

2364 posts in 1651 days


#12 posted 07-05-2013 10:34 PM

“You can get an 8” dado blade set from Harbor Freight for $35. I have one and it is ok. There are also 20% and 25% off coupons floating around.”
Thanks for the info, Mr. Ron. I’ll see if the local HF has one in stock. Ordering might be cheaper than driving 30 miles, though.

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firefighterontheside

4896 posts in 546 days


#13 posted 07-05-2013 10:46 PM

Even if you get a dado blade how are you going to put what I assume are long boards on the table saw and push them through the table saw.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View RonInOhio's profile

RonInOhio

720 posts in 1554 days


#14 posted 07-05-2013 11:12 PM

Nibble with circular saw and use chisel to clean out. Using the router to clean out is over-kill. A good sharp chisel will do the job. Like cutting through butter.

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2003 posts in 1921 days


#15 posted 07-05-2013 11:48 PM

Use a guide board and make several passes with the circular saw, break out the pieces and clean up with a chisel. The dado won’t fit on your circ. saw and cross cutting on the table saw spells trouble to me.

For the ends, I would make a pattern out of 1/2 inch mdf or plywood. Cut it out with a jig saw (leaving the line showing) and then sand to the line to give you the final shape.

Then…
Trace your pattern on to each board you intend to cut.
Rough cut the board with a jig saw – staying just off the line about 1/8 inch.
Attach your pattern to the board and use your router to make a smooth clean up pass.
Note: You might have to do a little research to determine what kind of router bit to buy. You will need one with the bearing and a cutter that is long enough to cut the thickness of your boards,

Here is a link which will give you an idea of what type of bit is required should you decide to go that route.

Hope this helps.
Mike

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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