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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 269 days ago 1728 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HarveyDunn

286 posts in 330 days


269 days ago

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

View A10GAC's profile

A10GAC

189 posts in 1677 days


#1 posted 269 days ago

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

View JayT's profile

JayT

2089 posts in 810 days


#2 posted 269 days ago

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

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

View mds2's profile

mds2

230 posts in 543 days


#3 posted 269 days ago

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

View HarveyDunn's profile

HarveyDunn

286 posts in 330 days


#4 posted 269 days ago

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

1374 posts in 319 days


#5 posted 269 days ago

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.

View HarveyDunn's profile

HarveyDunn

286 posts in 330 days


#6 posted 269 days ago

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

14635 posts in 1166 days


#7 posted 269 days ago

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

189 posts in 1677 days


#8 posted 269 days ago

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

View Loren's profile

Loren

7234 posts in 2247 days


#9 posted 269 days ago

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

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

1374 posts in 319 days


#10 posted 269 days ago

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

1173 posts in 560 days


#11 posted 269 days ago

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.

View HarveyDunn's profile

HarveyDunn

286 posts in 330 days


#12 posted 269 days ago

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

Mosquito

4506 posts in 891 days


#13 posted 269 days ago

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

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9588 posts in 1217 days


#14 posted 269 days ago

Router plane = less noise than hammer and chisel

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

View HarveyDunn's profile

HarveyDunn

286 posts in 330 days


#15 posted 269 days ago

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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