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How to do dadoes, rabbets & grooves by hand, without a specialty plane

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Forum topic by HarveyDunn posted 10-29-2013 01:17 PM 2620 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HarveyDunn

286 posts in 483 days


10-29-2013 01:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question chisel joining

Hi all,

Can I get a clean dadoes, rabbet or groove using hand-tools only, without using a specialty plane? I’m going to sharpen up a chisel today and start practicing on some scrap wood. I’m wondering how to control the depth. I was thinking of measuring the desired depth on my saw blade and/or chisel, drawing a line there with a Sharpie, then sawing/chopping until that line is level is with the face of the board. And then pare out the waste and sand.


24 replies so far

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A10GAC

190 posts in 1830 days


#1 posted 10-29-2013 01:24 PM

Yes you can. Check out the “Poor Man’s Router Plane” by Paul Sellers.

Here’s the Blog Post >> http://paulsellers.com/2012/06/pauls-poor-mans-router/

And the Video >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2aFwjAgk

Or the advanced version that uses a hex key >> http://paulsellers.com/2012/03/not-so-poor-mans-router-really-works/

-- Men have become the tools of their tools. - Henry David Thoreau

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JayT

2634 posts in 963 days


#2 posted 10-29-2013 01:24 PM

Check out this video from The English Woodworker blog for chopping out the majority. Then, to clean up the bottom, you could use Paul Seller's poor man's router

-- "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right." Abraham Lincoln

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mds2

261 posts in 696 days


#3 posted 10-29-2013 01:36 PM

+1 on what JayT posted. I did that on the last cabinet I built.

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HarveyDunn

286 posts in 483 days


#4 posted 10-29-2013 01:45 PM

Thanks guys, but:
1) building my own router plane is still using a specialty plane; and
2) I don’t have a grinding wheel, so grinding the hex key into shape would take all day, wouldn’t it?

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

1813 posts in 473 days


#5 posted 10-29-2013 01:54 PM

Are you trying to avoid power tools for the sake of seeing if it can be done or is there some other reason? I only ask, because if you don’t have a router, you can get a good used one usually for less than $50 and get what bit you need when you need it vs. buying a set. I know it may sound a little nosey, but in my profession, it’s important to understand why something needs to be a certain way to solve the problem presented.

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HarveyDunn

286 posts in 483 days


#6 posted 10-29-2013 01:58 PM

No problem, bigblockyeti. I’m setting up a workspace in a spare room inside the house, on a budget. So I am both pinching my pennies and trying to avoid creating noise and not fling swarf, and sawdust everywhere.

View Don W's profile

Don W

15566 posts in 1320 days


#7 posted 10-29-2013 02:06 PM

personally I would make the router plane from the chisel, but you could clamp some stops on your saw to make it similar to a stair makers saw.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View A10GAC's profile

A10GAC

190 posts in 1830 days


#8 posted 10-29-2013 02:33 PM

Getting an exact depth without a jig such as the poor man’s router plane takes practice, but can be done.

Shannon Roger’s shows one method using just a chisel here >> http://www.renaissancewoodworker.com/chiseling-a-rabbet/

And here>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ypbvcxb-8M if you skip to the middle (about 14:43 through 25:46 minutes) Paul Sellers demonstrates a similar technique while making a shooting board.

Paul & Shannon are great resources for hand tool skills, both present the knowledge very well, and don’t encourage the average woodworker to spend huge $$ on jigs & tools.

BTW, I’m a big fan of the Sharpie, but I prefer a 0.5mm mechanical pencil in the shop. In a pinch, I have beveled the lead in a carpenters pencil to a knife edge and used that to mark very fine lines. The edge doesn’t last for more than a few lines, but can be easily touched up on some sandpaper.

-- Men have become the tools of their tools. - Henry David Thoreau

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Loren

7826 posts in 2400 days


#9 posted 10-29-2013 04:04 PM

Cutting gauge can help. Easy to make one.

Dado cheeks used to be sawn with a dado saw, a long
back saw. I suppose you would clamp a guide to
the work and run the saw against it. Once the
sides are cut, getting the waste out with a chisel
is easy.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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bigblockyeti

1813 posts in 473 days


#10 posted 10-29-2013 04:11 PM

Yeah, the noise, especially inside, I can imagine would be unacceptable for most. Even if the router and bits were free!

View Tim's profile

Tim

1391 posts in 714 days


#11 posted 10-30-2013 01:37 AM

Paul Seller’s poor man’s router isn’t really a specialty plane, it’s a chisel stuck through a 2×4. But if you consider that a speciality plane and want to avoid that for some reason, then yes, you can mark the depth, cut the sides with a saw and chisel out the middle. You still need to do that first with a router plane or the poor mans router anyway because they are best only for the last 1/16” or so. Like Loren and other said, buy or make a marking gauge though, it will be much more accurate than marking with a sharpie.

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HarveyDunn

286 posts in 483 days


#12 posted 10-30-2013 02:04 AM

Sorry, I got confused, I thought Paul Seller’s poor man’s router was the homemade router plane made with a ground hex key. Thanks for the correction.

I mentioned the Sharpie as a means to mark the stop line on the chisel or the saw…not the wood.

View Mosquito's profile (online now)

Mosquito

5191 posts in 1044 days


#13 posted 10-30-2013 03:09 AM

I would use tape rather than a sharpie. I wouldn’t want to mark up my saws.

And trust me, I feel your pain on not wanting to make that big of a mess or noise… my shop is the spare bedroom in my apartment, for the past year and a half.

I would recommend getting a router plane, at some point, though. It makes life a lot easier.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN -- Stanley #45 Evangelist - www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

10374 posts in 1370 days


#14 posted 10-30-2013 03:33 AM

Router plane = less noise than hammer and chisel

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

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HarveyDunn

286 posts in 483 days


#15 posted 10-30-2013 04:31 AM

The noise comparison was not router plane vs. hammer and chisel but power router vs. hand tool. Also, I already own a hammer and a set of chisels. I’m drawing up a project that is going to require various kinds of grooves and rabbets varying from 1/8” to 3/4”. It would be awesome if I could make them all with what I already own rather than trolling for vintage planes on eBay for days/weeks looking the perfect combination of condition and price.

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