Question: Dado Depth?

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Forum topic by Steve Kreins posted 01-03-2014 04:22 PM 1800 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Steve Kreins

358 posts in 1627 days

01-03-2014 04:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dado depth question joining pine tip

I just made a Dado Jig and it works great as a guide, however, it brings up a question. How do I determine a proper depth to cut a dado?
I’m building a shelving unit for my shop out of 1×10 pine for storing small power tools, sanders, router etc. The wood is 3/4 actual thickness. Is there a rule of thumb for depth of dado cut?
Does the material change the rule of thumb? i.e. plywood is going to be weakened if the cut is too deep.

I appreciate all of your help!

-- I thank God for everything, especially all of you!

7 replies so far

View RockyTopScott's profile


1186 posts in 3475 days

#1 posted 01-03-2014 04:26 PM

Look on YouTube for the DowntoEarthWoodworker. He does a test with different depth dados. It is interesting.

-- “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 Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4984 posts in 2489 days

#2 posted 01-03-2014 04:31 PM

I never go more than 1/2 the thickness of the wood being cut with the dado, and generally I’ll just use 1/4” depth to make things a little easier.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3573 days

#3 posted 01-03-2014 04:32 PM

I usually cut mine to 3/8” depth Charles Neil says 1/4” is just as strong.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2282 days

#4 posted 01-03-2014 04:48 PM

I usually cut mine somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 the thickness of the stock.

-- John, BC, Canada

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3659 days

#5 posted 01-03-2014 04:58 PM

You’d not want to go over 50%, but as A1Jim points out, Charles Neil says 1/4” is fine.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Steve Kreins's profile

Steve Kreins

358 posts in 1627 days

#6 posted 01-03-2014 05:02 PM

Thanks for the quick response and tips.

-- I thank God for everything, especially all of you!

View Kelly's profile


2025 posts in 2940 days

#7 posted 01-05-2014 07:30 PM

When you think about it, where is the wood going to go with even a 1/8” dado? Usually, we are talking about downward pressure, so even a 1/8” dado is going to hold up a lot of weight.

All that said, I, like others, generally, find 3/8” to be more than ample, but stay with it for much of what I’m doing in 3/4” stock. If I’m doing rabbits for, say, a drawer, I go for 50%.

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