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Did anyone else notice the small doors and windows on the sides? That adds to the complexity of the project.

I would not recommend through dados for @SMG's proposed bookcase. Instead, consider stopped dados. If he wants through dados, consider edge banding or a face frame to hide the joinery. See my example bookcase with through dados, below.

I prefer to cut dados on a table saw, but for certain dado cuts, the table saw is a poor tool choice and should not be used for dados. Here are examples:
  • Stopped dados - Table saws leave a long tapered curve that matches the shape of the blade. Sometimes it works, most of the time it doesn't. A table saw would not be suitable to make stopped dados for @SMG's bookshelf.
  • Crosscut dados on long boards, especially near the ends - It is difficult to move the full length of a long board perfectly straight in a crosscut over a table saw dado stack. Any small twist on the board during the cut could result in a nasty kickback. A router with a guide or a radial arm saw would be much better tool choices for crosscut dados across a long board.
When I want stopped dados, I use a router and a guide jig with a stop block. The jig is just two straight scrap boards with fences to keep them square. See this post:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/threads/recommended-joint.223255/post-2137953

We have a bookcase that was thrown together quickly about 40 years ago. It was made with through dados. It is very strong and sturdy, but it has a crude look because of the through dados. We hide it in our hall closet, where it is practical, but not seen by others.
Bookcase with Through Dados.JPG Bookcase Through Dados Top.JPG Bookcase Through Dados Side.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Tool Agnostic, thanks for the comments.

"Did anyone else notice the small doors and windows on the sides?" -
I don't plan to build those features.

"Instead, consider stopped dados."
So thats what its called :). Yes I think thats what I described in my previous post.

"It is difficult to move the full length of a long board perfectly straight in a crosscut over a table saw dado stack."
Wouldn't the long board be stable with a cross cut sled?

" Table saws leave a long tapered curve that matches the shape of the blade."
Yup agree. Think I'll follow your recommendation of using a router with a stop block. Coincidently I saw some videos yesterday about building this simple jig.
 

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Another way is to make through dados, a lot easier, then cover all the exposed edges with a very thin veneer ....... which you would want to do anyway IF the boards are plywood from the armoire? If solid wood glued up, then not necessary.

Now as to the design. The version you show is a child's playhouse looking piece, not fine furniture. It has a "playful" look.
Whether or not you put doors and windows in will definitely affect the look.
A "fine furniture" look would not have a "peaked roof" on it in my opinion.
The wood already has a beautiful stained look, not consistent with a child's playhouse, again my opinion.
It's kinda up to you and your "team" which way to go.
A bookcase in a child's room should be playful, in my opinion, so mine would be painted in a colorful manner, not stained.
 
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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Shoot summa and woodnthings - you make excellent points, agree that much of the 'playful' furniture is painted. I'm trying to gather a bit more info on exactly how this piece will be used by my neice and nephew. I guess that'll help with the design direction. I was going back and forth between two designs actually. Attaching the 2nd option here, I wouldn't use the black screws for assembly, and stop-dado all the shelves including the top shelf. I thought it was an interesting decision to leave out the back cover in the middle section. Not sure I like that.

428432
 

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Tool Agnostic, thanks for the comments.

1. "Did anyone else notice the small doors and windows on the sides?" -
I don't plan to build those features.

2. "Instead, consider stopped dados."
So thats what its called :). Yes I think thats what I described in my previous post.

3. "It is difficult to move the full length of a long board perfectly straight in a crosscut over a table saw dado stack."
Wouldn't the long board be stable with a cross cut sled?

4. " Table saws leave a long tapered curve that matches the shape of the blade."
Yup agree. Think I'll follow your recommendation of using a router with a stop block. Coincidently I saw some videos yesterday about building this simple jig.
(See numbers, inserted above.)

1. I agree with the others that the doors and windows in the first design are what make that design so cute and appealing on the bookshelf gift for a baby or toddler.

2. If you use a router to make stopped dados, the ends will be round. There are various solutions to that issue, such as squaring up the end with a chisel or rounding the nose of the shelf to match. Practice on scrap first.

3. A crosscut sled would help, but the entire long board must move evenly and smoothly across its full length. The longer the board, the more likely one end may catch on something and cause problems or a kickback. I started woodworking with a radial arm saw where it is no problem. When I got a table saw a few years ago, I tried doing the same thing, and found the issues. After ruining two long boards and noting the kickback potential, I switched to a router for those cuts and won't try them again on a table saw. To be clear, I make crosscut dados on the table saw often enough; it is a judgement call of the threshold for how long a board is too long to be safe.

4. And ...
  • (Repeating from above) If you use a router to make stopped dados, the ends will be round. There are various solutions to that issue.
  • If you do a dado in one pass on the router, one side may be rough because it is a "climb cut." Some people use a narrower router bit and do one side of the dado in one direction, and the other side in the opposite direction. It means setting the guide twice, accurately, for each dado. It also means that a stopped dado end will have a "double round" look and require one plunge.
  • Some stopped dados (such as ones that are stopped on both ends) will require a plunge. Many straight bits are not plunge bits. Know the difference before you try a plunge with the wrong bit.
 

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Shoot summa and woodnthings - you make excellent points, agree that much of the 'playful' furniture is painted. I'm trying to gather a bit more info on exactly how this piece will be used by my neice and nephew. I guess that'll help with the design direction. I was going back and forth between two designs actually. Attaching the 2nd option here, I wouldn't use the black screws for assembly, and stop-dado all the shelves including the top shelf. I thought it was an interesting decision to leave out the back cover in the middle section. Not sure I like that.

View attachment 428432
This design lends it self to "either or" applications. Either a child's room or a teen's room or whatever....If you make the roofs detachable, they can be used in any environment, especially as the children get older and want a more refined piece of furniture. That would definitely be my choice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
The longer the board, the more likely one end may catch on something and cause problems or a kickback.
I will definitely be attempting stop dados. The sides will be around 48" tall - guess thats not terribly long? The saw I recently bought actually came with a left and right Dubby sled, so I can possibly use both to stabilize the piece. If that doesn't work on a practice piece, I'll have to look into using a router. My guess is stop dados made with a table saw will require more clean up than ones made with a router. I picked up the Makita 18v LXT compact router, and made a simple dado jig yesterday. But found the straight bit didn't reach deep enough to make a dado when you add the jig thickness. How deep can the larger corded models reach?
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
If you make the roofs detachable, they can be used in any environment, especially as the children get older and want a more refined piece of furniture.
I like the detachable idea - Not sure how to do that cleanly without using glue. Maybe with dowel pins?
 

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I like the detachable idea - Not sure how to do that cleanly without using glue. Maybe with dowel pins?
I'd use rare earth magnets, recessed into both the top and the "bottom" of the roof which you'll need to make.
Otherwise a few small trips of sticky tape.
Other than that Velcro strips.
Maybe just some metal pins, but not wood dowels, that fit into holes drilled into the top of the case.
 

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I will definitely be attempting stop dados. The sides will be around 48" tall - guess thats not terribly long? The saw I recently bought actually came with a left and right Dubby sled, so I can possibly use both to stabilize the piece. If that doesn't work on a practice piece, I'll have to look into using a router. My guess is stop dados made with a table saw will require more clean up than ones made with a router. I picked up the Makita 18v LXT compact router, and made a simple dado jig yesterday. But found the straight bit didn't reach deep enough to make a dado when you add the jig thickness. How deep can the larger corded models reach?

There are two ways to make a router jig. Both rely on a sliding fit.
One uses a guide bushing slight larger OD than your straight bit with a channel for the bushing to slide in.
The other uses a much wider channel for the entire router base to slide in.
The channels must have parallel edges, and be a "slip fit" or you will get warbles in your dado, slight deviations that will be visible.
The dado will most likely need to be made in 2 or 3 passes before it's deep enough, A 3/4" wide bit takes a sizeable amount of material out as it makes the pass, so you'll need to make more than one pass.
Plywood is no longer exactly 3/4" thick, rather 23/32" just so you know... and there are special router bits for that size dados.
Another type of jig, like the woodwhisper's version, make the dado an exact fit using two lengthwise passes and a smaller bit:

Stumpy has a pretty cool jig:
 

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good day
as others have go with a router.
you were looking for a router on another page. i have the DW618b3 about $260. look for it also i have seen it used, and open box for $195.
i have done both the router with a jig, by they work great as shown in the above video.
the table saw works well also but take more time and practice to do so. there is a lot of videos on the using a dados blade. on another post you you already have a dado blade.

both will work. i recommend the router.
also if you get a router, get one that you put in a table. also see this link use a delta saw table
good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Hi All, here is an update on my bookcase project. As a reminder I've included the image again - this is what I'm attempting. A lot has happened and I've already learned a ton. I started cutting the sides and my 'new' Delta contractor's saw did a great job keeping everything square. After cutting the shelves I quickly realized there was significant warp along the edge for the dado slot. There was no way these would fit the dados. I had heard of planers, and in brief I ended up with a 1 yr. old Dewalt DW735x for $400. A businessman bought it to remodel his office reception area and never used it again, almost new condition.

This machine is life changing - I jumped on Youtube and learned to make a sled and shim/hot glue the pieces to get one flat side - flip over and plane the other side - now I have near perfect shelves - In this process I reduced my 0.9" thick shelves down to 5/8", but I think thats plenty thick enough. Did the same for the 48" tall sides - Reduced those from 0.9" to 3/4". The slow speed gives such a nice smooth finish - I would've spent hours trying to sand the old wood. This money was well spent - I can't imagine doing another project without the planer.

Dust control - quite a bit of time spent to get all the fittings and adaptors for the planer, router, delta saw, orbital sander - I have a very temporary but effective dust control for everything.

Dado Jig - Made couple of unsuccessful jigs so far - all because I didn't have the patience to watch and follow some suggested videos ( ha ha). In my last one the vacuum hose was interfering with the jig because wood is too thick. For this project I now plan to make a simple 'T' guide jig. I have a 5/8" straight cut router bit that should work fine. Eventually I'd like to make an adjustable jig as in Stumpy Nubs video.

Question - All the cut edges are sharp. What kind of edge treatment should I do? I got a beginner edge router bit set that has a 1/8" radius bit, but even that seems too much. I just want to knock off the sharp edge but in a consistent way - rather not use a hand sander.

Screen Shot 2021-07-14 at 8.30.37 AM.png
 

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Yep, one project can teach you a lot.

I just want to knock off the sharp edge but in a consistent way - rather not use a hand sander.
Do you mean a hand held power sander? I'd go with a hand powered sander, a piece of scrap wood say 3/4 x 3 x 6 inches, a piece of sand paper, 120+ grit, 6x5, your hand holds the paper in place on the long sides. Hold at a 45 degree angle to the edge you want to soften, only takes few strokes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Bob - Yes I meant a hand held powered sander. I was hoping to use a router bit if possible - I'm sure I'll get a better result. Like a tiny chamfer or radius.
 

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I am enjoying @SMG's updates and posts.

Congrats on getting a DW735x planer. I got a used one a while ago. It was a game changer for me, too.

There are so many options for softening sharp edges. Sometimes it is as simple as a sanding block and moving your wrist to round the edge as you go along. Practice helps.

I have a 1/16 inch roundover bit and use it fairly often. It can yield consistent results with practice. When I first started using it, it wasn't as easy as you would expect to get consistent results. It is very finicky to set the perfect bit depth, and any tips or bumps when cutting can affect the perfection of the edge. Now that I am used to it, I like it.

You can also use a chamfer bit in a router. Setting the bit depth to achieve the desired results can be finicky, too.

Some woodworkers use a hand plane for chamfers and even roundovers. That takes practice, too. Sharpening and setting up a hand plane is another skill to learn. A block plane (a small hand plane) can be a very handy tool in the shop. The smaller ones fit comfortably in your apron pocket where you can pull it out and use it.
 
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