Let's say I'm cutting a dado using my router by hand against a fence clamped
to the workpiece. I have the fence to the left of the router, as I'm pushing
the router away from me (this tends to keep the router against the fence).
If I need to take a second cut to widen the dado, do I:
1. move the fence further to the left, and widen the dado to the left, or
2. move the fence to the right, and widen the dado to the right?
It seems to me that number 1 is correct to avoid a climb cut, but this seems
to contradict the pictures in "Woodworking With The Router" by Hylton &
Matlack (see page 230 - Fractionating Baseplate).
I made a large set of utility shelves last year in which I had to cut a
jillion 13/16" dados with a 3/4" bit. This required two passes. I did
exactly like you stated - move the fence to the left for the second pass and
push the router left to right.
I'd say your book is wrong!
Thanks for the answers, chaps. My dados were 42mm wide and I cut them with
an 8mm bit, so I started with a big spacer and whilst leaving the fence in
position inserted smaller and smaller spacers until I finished with no
spacer (directly against the fence). Worked OK,.
Woodhaven makes a nice dado jig that traps the router on both sides. You
use your board to set the thickness and then rout up one side of the jig and
back down the other side of the jig. It works very well and you never have
an "oops" moment where the router cuts a little divot that will be clearly
SFWIW, if I'm going to make a dado cut using a router, I always make two (2)
passes, clamping a fence on each side of the dado, using an undersize bit,
say 60%-75% of the total dado width..
That way, I never have a screw up when I forget and inadvertently allow the
router to go into "climb" mode.
If there are several dado cuts required, make a jig that functions as the
I use this technique to make ladders in the boat yard from 2x4 construction
S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
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