Beginner Dado question

I am new to this hobby and wanted to get some advice.
a.. I am building a workbench that calls for t-track in an 80" piece of maple. It runs the length of the board. The board is 6" wide.
a.. The dado would be " wide 3/8" deep.
What is the best way to cut this dado?
I have a router table and table saw. I am not sure that I am confident enough to run a 80" dado. It seems like the margin for error would be quite large.
I am considering purchasing a guide system (EZ Smart) with a router guide.
Is this a better option?
Thanks
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IMO the easiest and safest is a dado blade on the TS using feather boards to keep is tight to the fence and table. If your router has the HP it could do the 80" no problem and feather boards could be used on the router table as well.
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Scott, In my personal experience, I've gotten much better results with a router/router table.The dado (if you even have a stack of dado blades) is quick and once set up (kind of a pain), pretty easy to use. They can be kind of dangerous for the uninitiated.
If you're comfortable with the router, just do two passes (with a 1/2" bit) to cut both sides of the dado. Use a up-cut spiral bit to pull chips away from the cut, so it won't clog during the first pass. Otherwise, go real slow. Use lots of hold downs, guards and dust collection. If I were going to do this, I'd measure the dado and make the first pass to cut the dado wall closest to the fence *twirls finger trying to imagine bit rotation so as not to sound like a dork* and the farthest wall/pass, second. I hope this helps, -Jim Stuard
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Jim,
THanks for the advice.
Could you explain to me this statement
"Use a up-cut spiral bit to pull chips away from the cut, so it won't clog during the first pass."
I do not know what an upcut bit is. Thanks

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Opposite a down cut spiral. Honest,
Most router bits have straight sides. Spiral bits have a spiral on the side, sort of like a twist drill. this helps remove the chips from the slot instead of pushing them around. You can see them on most router b it web pages. I've only use a 1/8" so far from www.infinitytool.com
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Scott,
A cut like that and this being your first attempt - can be a daunting experience, no doubt about it. As for what is the best way to do it depends on what tools you have available to you and how comfortable you are with using each.
A couple of sites to go look at Pat Warner's site www.patwarner.com and John Lucas's site http://www.woodshopdemos.com/ and just look around.
I would use a dado setup in the tablesaw if I were cutting it but you may not have a dado set. You could use your tablesaw, raise the blade to the exact depth you need for the dado and then place the fence so the blade will end up cutting on the inside edge of the dado. Mindful of the width of the kerf - if you aren't you will end up with a dado wider than 3/4".
Move the fence over so the blade is on the inside of that edge and make the second cut. You now have to well defined edges. Now move the fence a small amount (width of blade 3/32 or 1/8") and make a pass, repeat until the dado is finished. Depending on the blade you have, the bottom of the dado may not be perfectly flat (it will have ridges) but that will be covered with the track anyway. ASCII art attempt below to show the board on the TS with the blade making the dado edge cuts.
Board on TS |----------------------------------| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |-------------| |------| |----------| | | | | Blade ^ Kerf
If you do use a router and a guide, take shallow cuts to avoid any burning. Practice on some scraps and then use a 8' 2x4 to simulate your nice piece of maple and practice making some cuts on it the full length. You'll know if you're clamped down right or not and find out what to correct before you whack up the good stuff....
The biggest point is - do it safely. If you're not comfortable doing it - find out why and change it. Practice the cut, don't rush it and keep your fingers out of harms way. If the practice cuts go badly, come back and tell us what results you're getting and what you are doing and somebody will probably be able to tell you exactly how to solve the problem. Lot's of talent hanging around here but expect to do a little explaining too.
Bob S.

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2 ways I would use - Router and edge guide or router table and do it in multiple passes, OR do it on a tablesaw with a stacked dado blade and multiple feather boards
John On Wed, 2 Feb 2005 20:40:38 -0500, "Scott Willett"

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On Wed, 02 Feb 2005 20:55:13 -0600, John responded:

Featherboards are your friends. They will keep the wood in the right position with either the table saw or router table methods. I would not use a hand held router for this because of the chances for a slip-up.
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Luigi
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Luigi Zanasi wrote:

I occasionally use them when ripping, but have never needed them dadoing or routing on a tablesaw.
Barry
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John wrote:

Push blocks, with one always in contact with the wood, work very well when cutting dados on a table saw. Using the blocks, keep slight pressure against the fence and down towards the table, all will be well. 3/8" isn't all that deep, the saw will resist similar to a jointer when face jointing. In fact, I've cut dados and rabbets standing to the side of the saw, with my chest parallel with the fence, using the push blocks. All motions and pressures end up being very similar to face jointing using this method.
Practice on some scrap to develop a good feed rate and check the actual cut width and depth. This isn't that scary of a cut, scrap will demonstrate that to you.
Have fun, Barry
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How much money do you have? If the price of a dado blade is in today's tool budget, that is what I would do. You have the tablesaw fence for the guide and it can be done in one pass.
Keep in mind to use a dado blade, the splitter and guard have to be removed. You will not see the blade cutting so it is easy to accidentally put your hand over the back of the board as you push it through. That's what they make push blocks and sticks for, so use them.
On my saw it is simply a case of stacking on the right combination of blades and off you go. Takes a few minutes to set up, but the cut goes rather quickly. be sore to test a scrap to be sure you have the setup correct.
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First of all thanks you for all your comments. I appreciate your time in responding.
I have a delta unisaw with a stacked dado set (cheap 100.00, starter Freud set).
My router is a 3 horse.
I am going to put a 2x4, run it through my jointer and get a flat side and do both, table saw and router. Multiple passes, slow, with feather boards.
I may come back with a few questions.
I really never knew this would be an issue. To date, I have only messed with plywood and pine stock. If I screwed it up, I just started over. I was shocked when I received the price on that maple. I realized then I would have to change my approach.
Thanks again for all your input.
Scott Willett
Woodstock, GA

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I'd do it with the router. Two passes - one at 3/16 and the second at 3/8. There's really not a large margin for error this way. As you approach the end of your route make sure you have a scrap of stock pushing the workpiece through so that you avoid tearout.

Don't purchase what you can easily build. There's lots of stuff out there that is just designed to take your money and does not offer you anything more than what a shop built device will do. It's better to save your money for what you really do need.
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Mike, Have you seen the EZ yet?
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Both the saw and the router table will work.
What matters, is that you feel comfortable actually doing the operation.
The saw is quicker and can do the dado with one single pass.
I can't "see" the size of the dado in your message but t-track can be pretty wide and the dado set on the saw can be "dialed in" to the exact width needed while the router bit might be a little large or a little small.
I vote for the saw.(using care and a small practice run)
Scott Willett wrote:

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I think it all depends on whether or not you have an outfeed table that will securely support the board as you run it through the table saw.
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Hi Scott,
The most important rule to follow in this hobby is "do a test cut in a scrap piece of wood" to confirm your setup before cutting a good and usually expensive piece of wood.
You can do this with the guide fence that usually comes with the router, or you can use a straight edge or even another board that has a straight edge.
I would use a 1/2" bit. Plow out the center of your dado. Make passes 1/8" deep. Three passes with depth changes will get you to 3/8" deep.
Then reset your fence for the outer edges.
The alternate is to make a router jig. "Which you will be able to use again and again for all sorts of grooves". Heres a link, better to see it, than my trying to explain it. This gentleman also has several other homemade guides that you should take a look at if only to give you some other ideas.
Pat
http://www.thehobbywoodworker.ca/helpfulhints/edge-guide.html
On Wed, 2 Feb 2005 20:40:38 -0500, "Scott Willett"

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Scott Willett wrote:

As a beginner, who may not have a dado set, or feel comfortable with the router and an 80" workpiece, why not just use your TS. Set your blade to 3/8" depth and using a feather board to hold the work (or not if you are confident and careful) make the first cut. Now move the fence 1/8" and make another. repeat, repeat, repeat ... check if you are close to 3/4. Fine tune the last cut so that the track fits snugly. Clean out the dado with a chisel.
You could have had the cut made much faster than posting! And no new tools to buy (sorry) ;)
You are now an official wood butcher.
Rob
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Better option than a system that was design with over 200 years woodworking expierience?
http://eurekazone.com/products/ezsmartrouter.html
The SRK can do 1.line boring. 2 dadoes, (straight and tapered.) 3.fluting (with out the need to reposition the guide rail) 4.Edge routing. 5.make circles. 6 First ever traverse and even miter movement. 7.Dublicating letters and ...whatever. What we have here? A " MANUAL" CNC. The only thing that is missing is the computer. Use your brains instead and make anything that you can imagine. And keep all the fun. Even if you buy all the best tools and you spend 100 years in woodworking, You still can't wiin the eurekazone challenge. http://eurekazone.com/challenge.html Yes. I'm one of the designers and the inventor of this THING. And the EZ- challenge was my idea. Now I know why we have 85.000 woodworking accidents yearly and WASTE 5 Billions in hospital bills.
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