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 ¾" 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
I am considering purchasing a guide system (EZ Smart) with a router guide.
Is this a better option?
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
Too much is not enough!
rvojtash NOT THIS at comcast (dot) net
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,
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
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
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
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.
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
On Wed, 2 Feb 2005 20:40:38 -0500, "Scott Willett"
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.
Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email
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.
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.
First of all thanks you for all your comments. I appreciate your time in
I have a delta unisaw with a stacked dado set (cheap 100.00, starter Freud
My router is a 3 ¼ 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.
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.
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
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:
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
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.
On Wed, 2 Feb 2005 20:40:38 -0500, "Scott Willett"
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.
Better option than a system that was design with over 200 years
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.
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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