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drawer bottom dado

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Forum topic by pauldye posted 06-23-2014 03:16 PM 1415 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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pauldye

64 posts in 1545 days


06-23-2014 03:16 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw tip question

I am building a set of six drawers for a cabinet. I have 1/4” maple plywood bottoms and my tablesaw blade is 1/8”. The plywood is really about 7/32” thick.

I am looking for advice on how to cut the 6 drawers 4 sides repeatedly (6×4 => 24 cuts). This is the approach I started with:

> set the rip fence 3/16” from the blade.

> cut the groove for one drawer (4 cuts).

> tape 5 playing cards to the rip fence as a shim, at the spot where the blade is. I used 2 sets of 5 card shims to allow for a balances fence to push against.

> cut the grooves again for the drawer pieces and test the thickness.

I thought this to be a good, repeatable approach. What I did not care for was the playing card shims needed to taped and removed, and that the tape caused some issues sliding the piece.

Thanks for any tips. Much appreciated.

Paul


16 replies so far

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14547 posts in 2144 days


#1 posted 06-23-2014 03:31 PM

When I used to use a tablesaw for this:

Old 6” dado set, just the outside cutters. Dado set was so worn, there was almost no set to them Nowadays, I have a 1/4” wide Plough Plane for this sort of thing.

Some rig up a router table and use a “plywood” sized straight cutter to plough out the grooves.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

1939 posts in 1449 days


#2 posted 06-23-2014 09:59 PM

When I am building a bunch of drawers, I use my table saw to cut the dado grooves. I mark all the pieces so that it is easy to tell which way they are to go through the saw. (For me marking them is critical, as I have ruined some drawer sides by running them through the saw the wrong way.

I make a single pass about 1/4” from the bottom of the drawer side and then move the fence over a little and cut again. I do this several times until I have a groove a little wider than the drawer bottom material.

I use a scrap piece and run it through each time so that I do not risk making a wrong cut on a bunch of pieces.

Also, I will also make drawer side stock where I make 32-48” long pieces of drawer sides and cut the bottom groove in them. I will then finish the drawer sides before making them into drawers. It saves me some time as it can be tedious trying to finish the inside of drawers. I finish the drawers for two reasons. One is to make them look nicer and the second is to prevent any issues with warpage due to humidity changes. Even for drawers in my shop, they get two coats of finish.

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2851 posts in 2692 days


#3 posted 06-23-2014 10:15 PM


When I am building a bunch of drawers, I use my table saw to cut the dado grooves. I mark all the pieces so that it is easy to tell which way they are to go through the saw. (For me marking them is critical, as I have ruined some drawer sides by running them through the saw the wrong way. I make a single pass about 1/4” from the bottom of the drawer side and then move the fence over a little and cut again. I do this several times until I have a groove a little wider than the drawer bottom material.

I use a scrap piece and run it through each time so that I do not risk making a wrong cut on a bunch of pieces.

- Redoak49

+1 What he said. I will be building 14 drawers in the next week or two. That is exactly what I will be doing. I use sidewalk chalk to mark the drawer stock so I know where the dado goes. The chalk wipes off easy.
Mike

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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lateralus819

2236 posts in 1350 days


#4 posted 06-23-2014 10:31 PM

I set the fence about 1/4” away. Run all sides through. Take a test piece, cut it like the drawers. Move the fence over, make a pass. Once the ply fits snug. Lock the fence down and run the real sides through.

View pauldye's profile

pauldye

64 posts in 1545 days


#5 posted 06-23-2014 10:37 PM

bandit: I have a 6” dado set. Let me check if the 2 outside cutters together are not too wide for the groove.

I was trying to get a method where I would not need to move the fence. Reason for this is I want to do one drawer set (4 cuts), then do the other drawers later. The playing card shims seemed to work, but the tape was getting in the way.

My time in the shop gets interrupted by my 6 yr old. I may not get back to working for the rest of the day.

Thanks for the great advice!

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2851 posts in 2692 days


#6 posted 06-23-2014 11:49 PM


bandit: I have a 6” dado set. Let me check if the 2 outside cutters together are not too wide for the groove.

I was trying to get a method where I would not need to move the fence. Reason for this is I want to do one drawer set (4 cuts), then do the other drawers later. The playing card shims seemed to work, but the tape was getting in the way.

My time in the shop gets interrupted by my 6 yr old. I may not get back to working for the rest of the day.

Thanks for the great advice!

- pauldye


Paul, make a setup block, which is simply a test piece with the cut you want to duplicate later. Then when you come back, all you have to do is set your fence and blade height, cut, reset fence to the final width setting (according to the setup block) and make your cuts again.

You can thank me later. :-)
Mike

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View NoThanks's profile

NoThanks

798 posts in 990 days


#7 posted 06-23-2014 11:51 PM

Paul, it’s about repeat ability. If you can set the fence up to do it once, you can do it again.
If you only want to cut 1 drawer that’s fine. No reason not to be able to cut the others later.
Don’t be lazy!

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile

joeyinsouthaustin

1294 posts in 1533 days


#8 posted 06-24-2014 12:45 AM

Good advice here. Another solution, but an expensive on is get a micro dado. I got one from Forrest. Just sent it back for sharpening… 5 years after purchasing it, and running it in my commercial shop. This thread just reminds me of how awesome that blade is. I believe frued now makes one. It is 3/16 in one mating, and flip the blades around for a true 1/4”. Here is my original review. FWIW before this I used the two pass method.

-- Who is John Galt?

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14547 posts in 2144 days


#9 posted 06-24-2014 12:59 AM

Only used ONE pass on the Tablesaw with the dado. Set the fence so a 1/4” was between the fence and the dado set. Set the depth to the half way point in the sides. Then run them all through. Kept them all stacked right where I could grab them. And placed back right after the cut. Since they were being dovetailed , too, had the mark the outside face. And leave them paired up. Five drawer chest of drawers? Ten sides, ten trips over the dado set.

Slot may have been a hair wider than the Luann Plywood i used, but, once the drawers are filled, can’t tell. Weight of the contents negates any “rattles”

Since that same Chest of drawers needed to be done in two days time, anything extra in set ups took too dang long. Two 12 hour days, start to a finish being on. Must have worked out, sold over 130 of them….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View realcowtown_eric's profile

realcowtown_eric

565 posts in 1398 days


#10 posted 06-24-2014 04:54 AM

For the less than 1/4” dados, I just bought 3 cheapo 7 1/4 blades that I can stack as needed. Add the little plastic shims, and you can cut for the undersized ply….

That’s all they get used for.

Eric

-- Real_cowtown_eric

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

21991 posts in 1799 days


#11 posted 06-24-2014 06:07 AM

I use a dado set. I tend to have “drawer days” where that is all I work on.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View pauldye's profile

pauldye

64 posts in 1545 days


#12 posted 06-28-2014 07:22 PM

I appreciate the different options suggested in this post. I can see that each of you uses a different method.

I settled on using a metal ruler as a shim, with clamps at the end of the rip fence. Apparently, the ruler plus the blade width is just about the right dado size. I just needed to clamp above the width of the drawer front.

Here are some pictures.

Paul

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2851 posts in 2692 days


#13 posted 06-28-2014 10:42 PM

That looks like a good solution.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

3926 posts in 2704 days


#14 posted 06-29-2014 04:38 PM

I like to cut the dado oversize by about 1/32” (.031). Makes it easier to assemble.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1770 days


#15 posted 06-29-2014 04:47 PM



I like to cut the dado oversize by about 1/32” (.031). Makes it easier to assemble.

- MrRon


+1

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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