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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m building a pergola and have to cut a bunch of notches into lumber. I don’t have a dado blade. Think I could do these with a circular saw by setting the depth and then making a bunch of slices, and then clean up with a chisel?

I’m either using 2X6 lumber, or 2X8 lumber and will be cutting about a 1/3 of the way through or so as pictured in my image.

Any other way? I don’t do enough work to invest in a dado set, and I’ve done it with a circular saw in the past. I just have to do a bunch this time so I wanted to see if anyone had any other ways to do it.
 

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Just call me Andrew
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Do you have a tablesaw? You could do a series of cuts on that, would be much more accurate than a circ saw.

What about a router and a straight bit?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Do you have a tablesaw? You could do a series of cuts on that, would be much more accurate than a circ saw.

What about a router and a straight bit?
Yes I do have a table saw, just that the boards are going to be pretty long and my table saw is pretty plain. Think it would make sense to have a helper just guide the boards with me? I don't have a slide jig or anything like that.

Didn't think of a router for this job. I I have one, but haven't ever really used one. Would I build some sort of guide out of wood to help control the size? I bought a set of a ton of bits so one of them I'd think would do it.

Forgive me, I'm a newbie when it comes to fine wood working.

Any tips appreciated.
 

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I think the circular saw and chisel will work fine for a pergola its not exactly fine woodwork. I'm prettsy sure I actually seen it done that way on one of those DIY home shows.
 

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There is no reason you can't do that with a circular saw. You could use a speed square to guide your saw to make the inside and outside cut. Then freehand make multiple cuts to work out the center. It shouldn't take too much chisel work to clean it up then. The job would just be less labor intensive if you were better equipped.
 

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where's my table saw?
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Yep, with one addition .....

That is the way I do it. Circular saw, speed square and sharp chisel.
Clamp them all together and saw the dados all at once. :thumbsup: they will be more accurate with a greater surface for the saw base to ride on. They will all be either correct or off by the same amount. :laughing: Make a MASTER pattern, check the fit, then transfer the cut lines to all the others using the speed square or a framing square. Mark the waste with a Sharpie to avoid mistakes.

A table saw would NOT be a good tool for this, the boards being too long to manage. When the work is large, bulky, heavy, or long, bring the tool to the job, use a circular saw. When the work is a manageable size, bring the work to the tool.:yes:
 

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Old School
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Routing Dadoes

This type of notching I find the fastest and easiest way when done with a router. I find doing it with a circular saw gets tiring when holding the saw with one hand. After the cuts are made there is still work to be done in cleaning out the groove.

Using a router plows out a very clean path, and depending on your router and how fit you are, you can use one hand if necessary. You can make a quick jig like this.






.
 

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Do you have a tablesaw? You could do a series of cuts on that, would be much more accurate than a circ saw.

What about a router and a straight bit?
I like the router and straight bit idea. A very simple jig will hold the router straight and allow a 90 degree cut. I assume that you are making the cut to fit the 2x.

With the router you get a straight, clean cut. You do not have to handle the large timbers.

George
 

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I agree 100% with Woodnthings. Bring the saw (circular) to the wood. I'll add that with most construction lumber a single blow with a hammer will knock out the majority of waste after cutting the two slot sides. Clean out the rest with a tap or two on a wide chisel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks again everyone for the great tips shared, they were all helpful. I made a simple template out of cardboard and traced it on, and then went to town dividing the boards into batches and testing out different tools and techniques. Ended up using a few different methods you all shared and ultimately used the jig saw and chisel for final pieces.

The style I chose for the ends was this one, it looks fantastic and I'm glad I took the extra few seconds per board to add the extra small notch at the bottom, adds a ton of character over the regular radius curve. I ended up leaving a little more meat at the top since the one I attached is a bit thin and someone recommended leaving more so it weathered with less chance of breaking.

Thanks for the knowledge everyone, you all helped me make simple work out of the task.
 

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