the Router Workshop

Router Tips

Making Dado’s in Oversized Stock!

When building cabinets or shelving, you require a dado cut to hold the shelves. Often the size of this board can exceed the size of your router table. In this router tip we will show you a safe and easy method of cutting a dado in a long board. When using a table fence and cutting a dado the fence is always on the right hand side to ensure the rotation of the cutter pushes the stock into the fence.In this tip the position of the fence will be on the left side of the cutter but UNDERNEATH the stock against the table top so the rotation of the cutter pulls the fence against the edge of the table. Note: This technique will take some practice because larger pieces will give you extra leverage over the rotational pull of the router bit.

All episodes of the Router Workshop are available to watch online. This includes all 183 episodes which is over 75 hours of router & woodworking content. Click here to learn more...

Stock Size

We started out with a board that was the required length needed and double the width required. Tip: Double the required width allows us to cut the dados for both sides in one piece.

Location of the Dado

Measure and mark the location of both sides of the dado on your stock. This is the side that the dado will be cut on.

Use a brass measuring bar to set the height of the bit to half the thickness of the stock.

Finding the Fence Location

Position and lock the combination square to the distance from the edge of the table to the router bit.

Now place the square on your stock and mark the offset distance as seen in the photo.

Marking The Stock

Use a framing square as a guide, draw a line (be sure it is on the side to be cut) across your stock, this line will be square to the edge.

Clamping The Fence

Using your router table fence (or you can use a straight piece of lumber) clamp the fence into position using the drawn line as a guide. Note: be sure the fence is clamped on the same side as the dado to be cut.

Place the clamps in a position that will not obstruct alignment of the fence. See photo.

Cutting The Dado

Once your fence is clamped in place on your stock, double check to be make sure the router bit is lined up to cut exactly where you marked your stock in the beginning.

We used the new Vacu-Plate system from Oak Park. The front dust port removes the chips straight from the path of the router bit as we cut the dado.

Sizing The Pieces

Once you have completed cutting all the required dados as one piece, use your table saw to split into two sides. This technique ensures all dados are exactly positioned at the same height and the sides are right and left. See photo.