Hand-cut Dadoes - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 Old 09-19-2008, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Hand-cut Dadoes

Hi,

I'm trying to build a little three shelf spice rack for my wife out of some scrap 1x4 pine that I have in the garage. Real simple design: two uprights, three shelves and some 1/4" birch ply for the back.

Since I'm new to this, I thought I would try to cut some dadoes for the shelves to sit in. The problem is, they look horrible. I'm using a back saw and chisels to cut the joints. I'm having trouble getting the dadoes the right size. They are either sloppy or too tight and my saw cuts are not perpendicular to the board.

Any advice on making dadoes (outside of buying a table saw or router) would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 16 Old 09-19-2008, 02:10 PM
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Try clamping a piece of (square) scrap beside your cut line. Use this as a fence to keep your saw perpendicular to the work piece.

Be VERY careful when using a (VERY SHARP) chisel on the ends of the dado - work from the outside in, not from the inside out - and you'll reduce the chance of "blow out". Don't try to hog the whole depth of the dado out with your chisel - work down in little bites.

When you get to the bottom of the dado, turn your chisel over - so that the back of it is up (bevel down position), this lets you take material off without gouging it.

Take your time. Cutting perpendicular and chisel technique will come naturally with time and practise.

I think it's great that you're making something for your wife - it's a good way to get "points", and permission to acquire more tools.
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post #3 of 16 Old 09-19-2008, 08:31 PM
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Has anyone ever heard of a DADO hand plane? One that has two pre-scoring disks? If not...what a great idea. I`ve seen plenty of Rabbiting planes. This one in my head would have to have a way to lower the scoring blades after each pass...right? Anyone? What do you all think? Rick

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post #4 of 16 Old 09-19-2008, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pianoman View Post
Has anyone ever heard of a DADO hand plane? One that has two pre-scoring disks? If not...what a great idea. I`ve seen plenty of Rabbiting planes. This one in my head would have to have a way to lower the scoring blades after each pass...right? Anyone? What do you all think? Rick
Yes - it's called a plough (or plow) plane. Given the OP's desire not to have to buy a router, I figured good hand tools were out of the question as well.
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post #5 of 16 Old 09-19-2008, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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Yes - it's called a plough (or plow) plane. Given the OP's desire not to have to buy a router, I figured good hand tools were out of the question as well.
Yeah, trying to start out on the cheap with tools I already have.

I tried your advice about using a square board clamped as a saw guide. It worked, but I'm still having trouble getting the right width for my shelves. I decided to go ahead and cut my uprights today, and mark the dadoes. Oops! I didn't consider the thickness of the shelves when I cut the uprights. To get the right spacing, I had to put the top and bottom shelf with only 1/8" from the end of the uprights. I guess I could have cut rabbets, but I ended up just making butt joints with glue and brad nails. Plenty strong for herbs and spices.

It's not perfect. It's not even finished, but my wife loves it!
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post #6 of 16 Old 09-20-2008, 04:43 AM
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Good on ya', Flash.

If you never make any mistakes, you'll never learn anything.

An axiom from an old Sergeant Major I served with - "The mark of a professional is not that he never makes mistakes, but that he knows how to recover from them."

I'm sure your wife loves the spice rack - things made by hand specifically for someone are always welcome (even, perhaps especially, when there are minor mistakes in them).

Best of luck to you.
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post #7 of 16 Old 09-20-2008, 05:58 AM
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That's a difficult procedure to do by hand. They also can be done (and very accurately I might add) by knife cutting against a straightedge for the outside lines, and cleaning out the waste with a chisel. This type of procedure is what I use my crank neck chisels for.
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post #8 of 16 Old 09-20-2008, 10:43 AM
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Nice set of chissels Cabinetman...I ran across a 1/2" Fulton I found in an old shed...cleaned it up and put a good edge on it...now I use it more than my Frueds. Looking for more!!

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post #9 of 16 Old 09-20-2008, 11:01 AM
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Cabinetman is right on.

That's one of the beauties of woodworking - there's no one "right" way to do anything. Find the technique that feels right for you, using the tools you have, and engage your head (the most important tool in your arsenal), and things will either go well, or you'll learn something new.
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-20-2008, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your encouragement and advice. Nice community here.

I played around practicing dadoes in my test piece last night, and finally got one that was worth gluing up. Not perfect, but I wanted to see how it would look with glue.

I have a few new Marples chisels that I'm using. I don't have the proper sharpening set up, but I spent a little time working on the back and honing it with what I have. What a difference that makes over the factory edge! With the sharper chisel I was able to pare the sides of the dado to fit my test piece pretty well.

I'm already planning version 2.0 in my head, but my wife has already made this spice rack her own. She was telling me over breakfast how she is finally able to organize her bottles the way she wants.

She is very supportive of my new hobby, and already is talking about my next commission. She admitted to me that she has been talking to her father about sending me some of his father's woodworking tools. How great would that be? I'm hopeful but not holding my breath. My father-in-law likes me, but I don't know if he likes me that much.
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post #11 of 16 Old 09-21-2008, 11:19 AM
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Flash,
Try this link http://www.woodcraft.com/depts.aspx?DeptID=2116 . You may also want to google other suppliers of hand tools. There are people who enjoy working with hand tools rather than power tools. Some of these people have been able to build their skill to where they do really nice projects and never use power tools at all.

Good luck

Eugene
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post #12 of 16 Old 10-10-2008, 12:30 PM
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'tools for working wood' is a premium suppplier of hand tools-or ebay if you want to go used and less expensive jl good luck
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post #13 of 16 Old 10-10-2008, 12:49 PM
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I never could cut a straight line or a perpendicular line with an American hand saw. It was not until I learned about and purchased a Japanese pull saw that I could make a decent cut with a hand saw.

George
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post #14 of 16 Old 10-10-2008, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flash512 View Post
She is very supportive of my new hobby, and already is talking about my next commission.
My wife is also very supportive and you should see my list of "commissions"


Keep with it. With every project you'll find you keep getting better.

Power tools make things go faster, not necessarily better. Not a bad idea to learn how to do things by hand before dishing out the coin to buy the plug in stuff. You'll get a better eye for the details and intricacies of joinery, which is the holy grail in this profession/hobby.
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post #15 of 16 Old 10-23-2008, 03:29 AM
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My way. Mark where the dadoes are going to be. Then
put the shelve on edge aligned with the marks and
cut a line with a razor knife. On both sides of the shelf.
Now make repeated cuts along these lines, the knife
should follow the line with just a bit of effort.

Now mark the depth of the cuts and make a razor
knife cut there.

Now take the saw and make several cuts inside the
lines..DO NOT CUT OUT SIDE THE LINES.

Now, clean it all up with a sharp chisel and your
razor knife.

Check the fit! You may need to sand down the
edge of the shelf a little to get a good fit.

You need a good saw, and a sharp chisel.
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post #16 of 16 Old 10-23-2008, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flash512 View Post
She admitted to me that she has been talking to her father about sending me some of his father's woodworking tools. How great would that be? I'm hopeful but not holding my breath. My father-in-law likes me, but I don't know if he likes me that much.
That one made me laugh out loud!

John
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