how to cut clean notches - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 11-12-2016, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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how to cut clean notches

Hello wood guys and gals. Cutting notches with a quality dado blade seems straight forward enough. The shoulders cut cleanly but the dado blade leaves small grooves on the bottom of the notch. How does one get a clean bottom (no puns intended) in the notch?

Last edited by time4rain; 11-12-2016 at 01:35 AM.
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post #2 of 8 Old 11-12-2016, 03:51 AM
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A router would be my first choice, followed by a router plane.

Wait, scratch that, my first choice would be leave it. I also only cut dados for joinery, so they aren't visible. Your situation may be different

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post #3 of 8 Old 11-12-2016, 04:41 AM
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Are you referring to a "horned dado" meaning it has two deeper groves down each edge of the bottom of the dado?
This is not a bad thing unless the dado is visible on the finished product. It acts as a release for excess glue and also gives extra clearance for the corners of the board inserted in the dado.
This is more prevalent in some models of dado sets than others, some are actually designed to give a flat bottom.
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post #4 of 8 Old 11-12-2016, 08:11 AM
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This is, as others have eluded to, a characteristic of the Dado blade you are using.

In a normal situation, this is not an issue at all, as the Dado is hidden from view and the groovy bottom (for lack of a better term) does not affect the strength of the joint in any way. It can be an issue if the joint is exposed.

The simplest way to eliminate this problem is to simply purchase a higher quality Dado blade, such as those made by Freud, or Forrest, but they can be a budget breaker for sure.

In those situations where the joint will be visible in the finished product, there are a couple of methods you can use to achieve that flat bottom Dado.

The first method is to cut the Dado with a router and a straight bit. Use a bit with a smaller diameter than the final width of the Dado, and make two passes to achieve the width desired.

A second method would be to use the Dado blade to cut the dado, but cut it a little shallow by say a 32nd or 16th of an inch. Using a router with a straight bit, or a rabbet plane (such as Stanley #92), bring the joint to final depth. This has the advantage of having the dado match the width of others in the project, but will give you the look desired. This also has the advantage of not having to locate the edges of the joint with the router, as they are determined by the dado blade.

A third method would be to go old school on it, and grab a router plane and do it by hand. With a sharp bit, this isn't as difficult as it seems, and doesn't really take that much time at all. In fact, some people would probably say that this method can be faster than those mentioned above, and is much more satisfying.

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post #5 of 8 Old 11-12-2016, 08:14 AM
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Exactly what is the problem with the notches that you cut? A picture (or sketch) would help.

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post #6 of 8 Old 11-12-2016, 09:01 AM
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I've had dado blades which each chipper cut at a different depth. Only the saw sharpener can fix that problem. In most cases it doesn't really matter. The few occasions I've made a dado that showed it's too difficult to sand the bottom of a dado anyway so I just covered it with a strip of veneer.
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post #7 of 8 Old 11-12-2016, 11:19 PM
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I cut most of dados with a router bit for their accuracy but sometimes on the ts and if I clean out the bottoms I will use a sharp chisel or a metal file. I have a file on my workbench and it comes in quite useful especially when I want to skim my tenons down just a bit for the the perfect fit into my mortises.

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post #8 of 8 Old 11-13-2016, 01:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BernieL View Post
I cut most of dados with a router bit for their accuracy but sometimes on the ts and if I clean out the bottoms I will use a sharp chisel or a metal file. I have a file on my workbench and it comes in quite useful especially when I want to skim my tenons down just a bit for the the perfect fit into my mortises.
2 Excellent tools that probably shouldve been mentioned before. Everybody should own a sharp 3/4 chisel and a 10 bastard cut file

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