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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
First of all, let me thank anyone and everyone in advance who is able and willing to help me out with this. I am new to the forum, very very new. I figured this would be the best place to find the most experienced professional woodworkers who would have the best ideas on how to complete this cut procedure I have before me.

The picture above shows what I am making. I happen to sell these online on another site but I won't divulge that info. That just seems like it would be in bad taste.

Anyway the unit shown above is comprised of only (5) basic unique pieces. The sides, angled fronts, straight fronts, bottoms, and back pieces.

As you can see from the pictures, the angled front pieces, straight front pieces, and bottom pieces of the individual bins have the sides rabbeted out to fit snugly onto the side pieces. That rabbet cut is what I need help with.

The current cutting procedure goes like this. Rip boards down to width with table saw, cut to length using stop block and mitre saw. Then with a featherboard mounted vertically (holding pieces down tight to the table) onto a wood sacrificial fence on my table saw and a stacking dado blade set to the proper width, I rabbet out the sides. I do this by setting up as many pieces as possible in front of the blade and then turning on the saw and push them through, continually adding more pieces to push the ones going over the blade through without getting fingers too close to the blade. Once all the pieces are in, I grab some that have already been cut and use them to push through the last few pieces. Hopefully that makes sense

The main issue I am dealing with is maintaining safety while still achieving a square and true rabbet. The pieces themselves are only 6" L x 1 5/8" W and are almost impossible to keep square to the fence while pushing through due to the fact that the short side is the one contacting the fence. The only reason I'm able to even come close is by using the stacking method detailed above this theoretically giving a larger surface area to maintain square, but even then they like to rack and twist which as you know is not ideal when cutting with a 1/2" or wider dado set (hence the featherboard).

So why not just cut them one by one?

That would take too long. I tend to cut around 200-300 1 5/8" x 6" pcs at a time for efficiency so the solution must be highly time efficient.

Ok so that is the initial problem and you're probably thinking of a few easy to implement jigs or other ideas that could solve it fairly quickly and cheaply. However you are probably assuming I am dealing with standard size, dimensional lumber that is flat, and straight, which unfortunately I am not.

So why not make it straight flat and to the correct size?

I can't. The whole design of these things is built around hiding as much of the newly cut edges as possible so as to preserve that grey rustic look. Hence the reason for the rabbets, to halfway hide that cut edge. So I can't plane down, square up or even do more than lightly sand the pieces because it would take away that rustic appeal.

What that really means is every piece of wood I handle is different. So after being ripped down and cut to length I have a bunch of pieces that are perfectly 6" Long and exactly 1 5/8" Wide but vary between 1/4" all the way up to 3/4" thick.

That much variance causes problems even for my simple single featherboard set up. If you set a featherboard with a 5/8" thick piece the next piece might be 3/8" so thats not going to do you much good. And the other way ends up getting pieces jammed underneath it and turning off the saw and resetting the featherboard is a pain.

So I am asking, nay begging, for a solution. Ideally the solution would be extremely safe, fast and efficient for cutting large amounts of wood, and able to be performed on a table saw and/or router table. Expense is not a dealbreaker. Not that I have tons of money, I just know if there is a great solution out there that may cost thousands of dollars, I will just have to keep doing what I'm doing and save up.

Thank you for your help. I have been banging my head against the wall trying to figure this one out for months and just can't seem to do it so thank you in advance

where's my table saw?
31,266 Posts
use the miter gauge

I always use a miter gauge when making rabbets and a sacrifical fence with a stop block. You start out with the ends first then slide the piece over incrementally on the miter gauge. I also use an extended fence on my miter gauge for more stability. There is no safety issue with this setup because the ends are removed first and you are not trapping the cutter/blades.

Senior Sawdust Sweeper
1,595 Posts
I would screw a sacrificial board to you miter gauge and use that to push the pieces through allowing the end of the sacrificial board to be dadoed as well. A soft surfaced push block on top of the wood to keep the pieces in contact will help keep the cuts consistent. My miter has an adjustable stop as well so I have no need of a fence for doing that kind of cut. An extended stop that allows a number of pieces to be racked up could be useful in your situation. It should be safer and faster than fumbling pieces from one end to the other. Another option would be to build a sled with an integral stop tacked in place and use a long padded push block on top of the pieces for control.

Old School
24,017 Posts

It would be to your benefit to edit your post and resize your images to 850 px wide or less. The way it is requires scrolling left and right just to read the text.

I wouldn'ty gang cut as you are doing. Using a stack dado causes drag, which can be hazardous. When I rabbet drawer sides, I do one at a time with just a single blade. I stand the side up against the fence, and have a follower piece to help position it. I cut the steps, and then lay flat and take out the depth. IMO, it's very fast, and much safer.

If you have a RAS, you could set up a stop, and make a pass with a dado stack set.

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