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Dado joint depth for bookshelves

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  • Dado joint depth for bookshelves

    I am building a bookshelf out of 3/4" maple plywood, about 6ft high, about 1ft deep, and about 2ft wide. For the top and bottom shelf I routed some dados into the side pieces of the bookcase about 5/16" deep, so almost half the thickness of the material. Did I make the dados too deep?

    I am concerned that maybe I reduced the structural integrity of the sides of the bookcase.

    If I did make them too deep, what should have been the proper depth for the dados.

    Regards,

  • #2
    Re: Dado joint depth for bookshelves

    My general rule of thumb is to cut the dado so that its depth is about half the thickness of the board being dadoed which in your case would be approximately 3/8" deep.
    Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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    • #3
      Re: Dado joint depth for bookshelves

      BadgerDave is right on, I also go 3/8" (common depth) with 3/4" stock/plywood. You shouldn't lose any structural integrity, because your filling it back in. Even if your joints are super lose ( I do not recommend), 3/8" is "somewhat" strong on side walls, as long as you don't tip it on the side and lift up. Do try to keep your joints fairly tight though, it is stronger and more eye pleasing.
      Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

      http://www.contractorspub.com

      A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

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      • #4
        Re: Dado joint depth for bookshelves

        I had a 3/4" plywood bit, so I made sure I used that. Thanks for the reply guys.

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        • #5
          Re: Dado joint depth for bookshelves

          I usually dado only 1/4 on 3/4 ply. I have found that it is plenty of strength for the joint and I don't have to worry about the integrity of uprights or the shelves. Although with the dado this shallow, make test cuts to get a really tight fit. I have all of my combinations of chippers and shims already mapped out. Took me about 3 .5 hours of changing the blades and shims to get all of my setups. Time well spent in my opinion.

          DRDEADCHEF

          W.A.L.S.T.I.B.

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          • #6
            Re: Dado joint depth for bookshelves

            The two shelves that I cut to slide in the dados are a bit cupped. They were from a bad plywood sheet that I realized after the fact. I am hoping a small wooden mallet will drive them. If not ... I guess I'm in for a ride.

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            • #7
              Re: Dado joint depth for bookshelves

              Originally posted by dieselgg View Post
              The two shelves that I cut to slide in the dados are a bit cupped. They were from a bad plywood sheet that I realized after the fact. I am hoping a small wooden mallet will drive them. If not ... I guess I'm in for a ride.
              At only 1" depth you should have no trouble using a parallel clamp to flatten the board if it's too cupped to *tap* into place - no pounding!! If you only have shallow throated clamps you can place a flat piece of wood (called a 'caul') on the top and bottom and a clamp front and back on the wood and squeeze it flat a little at a time, alternating front to back tightening.
              Later,
              Chiz

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              • #8
                Re: Dado joint depth for bookshelves

                On my last book case, I went with a 1/4" dado on 3/4" plywood. I also routed a rabbit on some hard wood and used it to face the shelf and give it more strength for the weight of the books. So far no problems.
                If at first you don't succeed, try reading the owners manual.

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                • #9
                  Re: Dado joint depth for bookshelves

                  There is a very good article on the aspects of building bookshelves in the April 2007 (#190) issue of Fine Woodworking magazine.

                  http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworki....aspx?id=28170

                  http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworki....aspx?id=28101
                  Last edited by fkaufman; 03-18-2007, 08:05 AM.
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