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Dadoes & Stock Flatness

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  • Dadoes & Stock Flatness

    How do you folks control the flatness of your stock when cutting dadoes? I consider the following:

    1) - if the stock is not flat enough such that a router base makes a difference, then there is a major problem (but there is always clamping to a flat surface.) Since the Router references from the dado face, accurate depth is fairly easy (in theory)

    2) - When using a radial arm, stock can be clamped to the table to ensure flatness. Given that one really knows the actual thickness of the stock, one gets a good dado to a relatively precise depth. However, the reference for depth is the face opposite to the cut and is therefore potentially less accurate.

    3) - Depth of cut is both easy to set and measure when using a tablesaw. However, I really can't see a way to control stock flatness (clamp what to what?)

    So, how do you all do it?

  • #2
    (4) Use flat stock.

    Curt, you're looking to kill yourself beating your head against a wall doing flatwork with non-flat stock. It ain't worth the trouble, I've read I don't know how many times the comment that goes something like "my furniture making never really took off, until I figured how to make the stock really flat".

    BTW, I'm a Programmer too, and your 2 + 2 = 5 joke on the other thread had me on the floor.



    • #3

      Glad you enjoyed the joke. OK, given that I've got to work with sheet stock, flatness is an issue. Also, given that I have a TS, Router, and RAS - how would you do repetitive dadoes in sheet stock? Or would you not?

      Remember, I'm building retail cash register counters. Gross appearance is important, but this is very obviously not an arts & crafts project. I've got appx. 5 weeks to build 9 of these units in my garage - and that includes finishing. Situation is made worse by the need to build another appx 63 lineal feet of either cabinets and/or book shelves: 48" wide by 71 1/2" high by 24" deep. Gonna use 3/4" slatwall for the back face.

      Later, Curt


      • #4
        Sheet stock is where flatness should least be the issue. But, I'll assume that you are stuck with inadequate quality goods. In the future, warped sheet stock either means the product is poor quality, or it hasn't been properly stored. In either case, you should pass on it.

        OK, now you got what you got. The best tool for dadoes and grooves in non-flat stock, in my opinion, is the hand-held router. The reason is that it has a small base, so it can more easily follow an inside curve.

        Where possible, make your dado on the convex face. This is so when you insert your mating piece, the edges have the gap. It is much easier to clamp the edges than the middle, and much, much easier to tell when you've closed the gap.