Jig Journal: Router Dado Jig


Take the tool to the work for quick and accurate dados.
By Robert W. Lang
Pages: 82-83

From the June 2008 issue #169
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The quest for accuracy in woodworking is often like trying to find your way out of a maze. Make the wrong choice early on, and you’ll find yourself going in circles and not getting any closer to your goal. Often the entrance to a path looks promising but soon becomes an uphill journey.

Making dados seems like a simple task, and it is. The difficulty is that there are so many different ways to go about it that it isn’t always clear which choice makes the most sense. On the surface it would seem that setting up an accurate stationary machine, such as a table saw or router table, would be the best way to go. This is true if the pieces are small enough to be manageable all the way across the machine’s table.

When the work gets too large, however, it makes more sense to move the machine over the work than to move the work over the machine. This simple jig and a router will make dados that are square, straight, a predictable width and depth and, most important, exactly where you want them to be.

The two parts of the jig will likely come from your scrap bin. A piece of plywood with a straight edge guides the base of the router. Its thickness and width allow you to clamp it to your work without interfering with the handles of your router. The second piece registers the jig at a right angle (or any other angle if you’re so inclined) and locates the exact position of the router bit. I make this about 1/8″ thinner than the workpiece, 1 1/2″-2″ wide and about 12″ long.


From the June 2008 issue #169
Buy this issue now