First Handcut Dado

Today I spent some time enjoying my woodworking hobby. I received a long awaited mini-router plane from Lie-Nielsen late last night via UPS delivery. It would seem we’re about the last stop on their rounds each time something arrives. I was ready for bed at 9:30 p.m. so I just set the plane aside until later this morning.

There are many many ways to cut a dado, a sort of channel cut across the grain of a board. You usually see them in shelf units where the shelves seem slotted into the sidewalls. Those are dado joints. If the slot runs with the grain it’s called a groove.

One of the other ways to cut dado joints is with a router guided along a straight edge, like a fence. Still another method is using a table saw and an adjustable dado blade. Finally there’s just the use of a small saw and chisel.

I used my new hand router plane which is more or less a right angled chisel that you can adjust for depth. It’s a very basic tool but extremely accurate. This was the very first time I’d ever used one. I’ve watched dozens of YouTube videos to get the general idea on its use but there’s nothing like hands-on experience to learn the ropes. Developing the skills to do the job quickly takes repetition and experience.  I’ll get there soon enough as I’m a quick learner.

My first attempt turned out well, taking little cuts before going deeper until I met my final depth marking, a knife blade cut. The joint was so exact I had to tap it into place for a very snug fit. Now I need to do 7 more just like that one to get my new shelf unit completed. Practice, practice, practice. They say it makes perfect work! 🙂

My First Attempt – Success!



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