Making A Rabbet in 1/2' Baltic Birch Plywood Best Practice

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Forum topic by Shopguy posted 11-23-2013 03:25 AM 982 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 1520 days

11-23-2013 03:25 AM

I am building a sanding downdraft box from 1/2” Baltic birch plywood and need to make 1/4”W x 1/2”H rabbets in the box sides to accept the bottom panel.

I have both a stackable and wobble dado blade for the table saw and a router table with both upspiral and regular straight bits of various sizes.

As I was planning the cut, I asked myself should I stand the side on edge and make rabbet or put the side on the face and make the rabbet.

What is the best practice to make this rabbet that would minimize tear out? Should the router bit or saw blade be parallel or perpendicular to the plywood plys when making the cut?



6 replies so far

View RockyTopScott's profile


1184 posts in 2897 days

#1 posted 11-23-2013 03:35 AM

On the face. Use some tape and a score line to minimize tear out

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View ajosephg's profile


1878 posts in 2980 days

#2 posted 11-23-2013 03:42 AM

+1 on Rocky

If you use a sharp up cut router bit you shouldn’t have any tear out, at least I never do. Direction makes no difference, but if you’re nervous go parallel with the face grain.

-- Joe

View MT_Stringer's profile


2819 posts in 2650 days

#3 posted 11-23-2013 03:47 AM

Face down.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View jumbojack's profile


1663 posts in 2043 days

#4 posted 11-23-2013 03:50 AM

Dig a DEEP hole like 5’ or better. Throw a sack of fence post concrete in then the wobble dado blade followed by another sack of concrete. Soak with a hose and fill in with remaining dirt.
That said I never have a problem running rabbets with a sharp dado stack.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Shopguy's profile


12 posts in 1520 days

#5 posted 11-25-2013 03:56 AM

Thanks to all that provided great ideas. I set up a 5/8” diameter straight carbide router bit in my router table that has an Incra/Jessem Router Lift II, set the fence for a 1/2” width cut and 1/4” bit height and routed a clean rabbet in the Baltic birch plywood. Used a backer board to eliminate tear out. Joints are perfect.

View DangerDoug's profile


62 posts in 1065 days

#6 posted 11-25-2013 10:38 AM

I found a use for a wobble dado they other day, they do cut 1/4” or less. Stack dadoes won’t do that; not mine anyway.

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