Router for dados questions


I am trying to learn how to do proper dado cuts using a hand-held plunge router or a solid table-mounted router. I want to do dado cutouts both "stopped" and "unstopped (?)" *across*, i.e. NOT lengthwise, a pair of six-inch wide boards which will be the upright sides of a small cabinet for shelves to be inserted.
Is there a *commercial* jig made for cutting straight, perpendicular dados with the hand-held plunge? I have tried making my own but I have been largely underwhelmed by the results.
Is there perhaps a *better* method of doing this task on the table-mounted router using either the fence or some kind of jig that I haven't even thought of yet?
Gerry < who one day hopes to be a perfectionist >
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The new magazine 'Woodworking', from the publishers of Popular Woodworking, had an excellent, detailed and well-illustrated article in their latest issue on this very subject. I think Robert Lang was the author.
Leon, of the wReck, built a similar jig setup and shared plans, within the last year. Pat Warner has a similar setup available commercially, if you don't want to build your own. www.patwarner.com
Jigged, using a handheld plunge router, is my preference. I usually build the jig on an ad hoc basis, using clamps and squares. Or use biscuits. Or pocket screws. Or shelf supports.
Life's too short to let something this simple ruin your morning.
Patriarch
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Some great words to live by.
However, I submit that life is not too short - it is the longest thing you will ever do - can you name anything longer?
Just something to ponder while making noise and sawdust.
:)
Vic
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"G.E.R.R.Y." wrote:

<snip>
SFWIW, I use this technique to build construction ladders for my boat project.
Build a jig that captures the router base plate and contains a cleat to maintain the spacing between the dado cuts.
Clamp jig on piece and have at it with a plunge router.
If I want a 1-1/2" wide dado, then use a 3/4" dia bit and make multiple passes. Gives me better results.
Piece of cake.
In my case, I have to build a "left" and "right" hand version since the dado cuts are made at a 10 degree angle.
HTH
Lew
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I find it easier to capture the guide bushing. Lot of routers don't have circular bases, and centering the plate, even the circular ones is not as easy as the guide.
You should have caught the Router Workshop on ladders, great flippable jig.
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"People say life is short? No it ain't - life is *long*. Especially if you make the wrong decisions."
- Chris Rock (discussing relationships, but it could apply to tools, too)
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G.E.R.R.Y. says...

You might also consider using a table saw with a dado set. I haven't seen any commercial jigs for cutting dadoes with a router, but there may be some out there. I would think most people would just make their own, since they aren't difficult to make and you can make a jig specific to your project. The jig would consist of two strips of wood to guide the router and two pieces of wood to join the guide strips. You can make the guide wide enough to fit the whole router base in, or just wide enough for a guide bushing. Stops could be glued between the strips where necessary to make a stop dado.
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Woodhaven makes some:
http://www.woodhaven.com/detail.aspx?ID 88 http://www.woodhaven.com/detail.aspx?ID 54
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